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28 JULY 2014

 

Moving Forward by Steve Kim




Now that the dust has settled from this past weekend, when Floyd Mayweather easily dispatched Robert Guerrero over 12 rounds, the question is just when and who does “Money” face next? After signing his groundbreaking, six-fight, 30-month deal with Showtime, he made it very clear that he absolutely intended to fulfill this contract.

 

At the post-fight press conference on Saturday night, the victorious Mayweather mentioned some discomfort in his right hand.

 

But on Monday afternoon, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told Maxboxing, “I’ve been told that the hand is OK. It was bruised. So as Floyd stated in the post-fight press conference, he fully intends to fight on September the 14th.”

 

As you probably know by now, Top Rank has put in a request with the Nevada State Athletic Commission to stage a show on that same day at the Thomas and Mack Center between Juan Manuel Marquez and Tim Bradley. But that’s on the assumption that Mayweather doesn’t actually perform at the MGM Grand that same evening.

 

So where does this leave unified junior middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who is coming off a big victory over Austin Trout on April 20th at the Alamodome in San Antonio?

 

“Well, hopefully in a fight with Floyd,” said Schaefer, chuckling. “So I’ll be meeting this week with Floyd’s adviser [Al Haymon] and we will start having conversations. I know that Floyd is the kind of fighter who doesn’t turn down anyone. He’s always fought anyone and everyone and I know that with ‘Canelo,’ that’s the fight he really wants. So we’ll just have to see if we put it together. But I’ll be working on that. That’s my number one priority.”

 

Being that September 14th is Mexican Independence Day weekend, you’d figure it would make sense that Mayweather face a Mexican boxer. Currently, there is no more popular fighter from that country than ‘Canelo,’ who drew nearly 40,000 in his last fight and does huge TV ratings in Mexico.

 

Just looking at the chess pieces on the board, it’s pretty obvious that those in the Mayweather Sweepstakes will come from the pool of talent affiliated with Golden Boy and/or Haymon. It’s clear that during the duration of this deal, it will be Golden Boy’s job to develop and cultivate opponents for Mayweather.


One name thrown around last week was Amir Khan, who struggled mightily against Julio Diaz on April 27th in the U.K.

 

“Amir’s going to be doing one of two things once he’s back, which will be in late November, early December. We’re actually holding December 7th for Amir,” said Schaefer, who explained that with Khan’s upcoming wedding and observance of Ramadan, he will be out of commission for a stretch. “The idea would be that he would be either fighting the winner of Danny Garcia [vs.] the winner of [Lucas] Matthysse and [Lamont] Peterson, who are going to be fighting in a couple of weeks. We’d like to match the winner of Matthysse and Peterson against Danny Garcia on September the 7th, which would be a week before our pay-per-view.

 

“It would be a very strong lead-in for the pay-per-view and then the winner of that September 7th card, the idea was to have them fight against Amir Khan on December 7th. Now, that’s one direction. The other direction could be is if Devon Alexander is successful in his mandatory [IBF welterweight] title defense against Lee Purdy, which is going to take place on May 18th. There could be a possibility that we could do a fight between Amir and Devon for his welterweight title and basically get Amir up to 147 and see how he does there. Or give Devon a big win at ’47 and so that’s another scenario.

 

“It was never the scenario that Floyd would fight Amir next.”

 

But Schaefer didn’t rule out that a Mayweather-Khan match-up could happen in 2014.

 

“I think it’s a possibility. You obviously have Floyd who’s made it very clear that he would like to fight in the U.K. He loves the U.K., the U.K. fan-base he has there, which is substantial. But there are some things that would have to be worked out,” said Schaefer, alluding to the taxes that Mayweather would be subject to for performing in jolly ol’ England. Schaefer mentioned that track superstar Usain Bolt negotiated a special arrangement that allowed him to run in Britain.

 

Down the line, perhaps whoever comes out of the Golden Boy 140-pound tournament would be an attractive opponent for Mayweather. And Schaefer said that the fact Matthysse signed with Haymon (who just happens to rep Garcia and Mayweather among many others) would be no impediment to the hard-hitting Argentinean facing Garcia, should he come out victorious on May 18th in Atlantic City.

 

Schaefer says, “Matthysse wants the fight. Danny wants the fight. If Peterson should win, there’s no obstacle to that either. So I really don’t foresee any issues of the winner of that fight, fighting Danny Garcia September the 7th.”

PPV

 

There’s a lot of speculation that the “May Day” event did under one million buys. On Tuesday, esteemed colleagues, Dan Rafael and Kevin Iole, openly speculated on that possibility on Twitter. And yeah, I’ve heard the same things (hey, we all basically have the same sources and talk to the same group of people) but no official numbers have been released by anyone associated with the event.

 

The number being thrown around the most is 900,000 buys. And if that’s accurate, let’s do the math; at those amount of buys at $70 each (assuming everyone got the high-definition telecast), that’s $63 million dollars of revenue of which about 55 percent goes to the cable and satellite operators for their participation in the event. So that’s right around $31 million left for the promotion. Also you include what the closed-circuit did and the international rights fees. According to the NSAC, Mayweather’s purse was $32.5 million. Add in the costs of the undercard, marketing and other expenses related to the event, well, you see there might be a significant deficit here (the site fee or ticket money from the MGM Grand most likely goes to the promotion, not the network).

 

Industry sources say Showtime needed between 1.1 or 1.2 to break even on this venture.

 

It’s widely known that in this deal with Showtime, Mayweather has his money guaranteed throughout the length of this pact, meaning whether his fights garner a thousand pay-per-view sales or two million, he’s protected financially. Some might say the results from the past weekend will serve as an impetus for Mayweather to face better opposition that would theoretically sell better to the public. Well, the reality is no matter what happens, Mayweather has a very lucrative safety net regardless of how his future fights perform on pay-per-view.

 

The question is, does Showtime have the right to (dis)approve future opponents or is there merely a list of already pre-approved opponents available (many of whom have already been mentioned in this column)? The way this deal is structured may have actually de-incentivized Mayweather from actually facing real challenges and everyone knows how important retiring undefeated is to him.

 

There are several factors that might have hurt this promotion. First, it was announced relatively late as there were a lot of moving parts (such as Mayweather moving away from HBO to Showtime). With that, there wasn’t the customary press tour that accompanies this caliber of events. And again, with Floyd having a financial guarantee, from what I was told, he didn’t do much to extend himself to the press like he had before in the past. More than a few of the established boxing scribes who were used to getting a certain type of access to Mayweather groused that they were shut down this time around for whatever reason.

Also, the preview shows and documentaries played to much smaller audiences on Showtime than they have in the past on HBO for whatever reason (HBO’s subscriber base is still larger than Showtime’s).

 

Perhaps the biggest factor in all this was that Guerrero simply wasn’t an ideal B-side. While a solid fighter, unlike a Miguel Cotto or Ricky Hatton, he simply didn’t have his own constituency to draw upon. This should be put into perspective; a very small percentage of pay-per-view events ever crack the half-million mark and this point should be overlooked. This promotion still did a significant amount of buys and it can be argued that no other boxer could have put up these numbers with a dance partner like “The Ghost.” But again, there is that $32.5 million nut.

 

Even a past pay-per-view titan like Oscar De la Hoya didn’t routinely put up a million pay-per-view buys and his tallies were affected by who he faced. Don’t believe me? Look up the fluctuation in numbers when he faced the likes of Yori Boy Campas and the likes of Fernando Vargas and Felix Trinidad. The opponent absolutely matters.

 

Mayweather isn’t immune to this.

 

The fight most clamored for now is Mayweather against “Canelo” but that comes with its own set of problems. Alvarez is a rock-solid junior middleweight. It’s not clear if Mayweather is willing to move up to 154 pounds anymore. Also, there are the economics. Unlike a Guerrero, who received $3 million this past weekend, you can bet the redhead from Mexico commands at least three times that much.

 

While some will state Mayweather needs that fight for his legacy, it can be argued that it’s really Showtime who needs it for its bottom line.

 



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