This past Wednesday, thousands of would-be college football players signed their letters-of-intent and faxed them over to the universities of their choice (yes, they still use fax machines; I'm guessing mainly for this purpose). Blue-chip prospects all across the country made their future coaches’ days and broke the hearts of many other collegiate fan bases with their decisions. But at least they have made their intentions clear, unlike Floyd Mayweather, who was expected to have already made an announcement on who he was going to face on May 4th.
Last Tuesday night, he tweeted out of nowhere that it was IBF welterweight champion Devon Alexander, not Robert Guerrero (assumed to be his next foe), who was the frontrunner to land this assignment.
Regardless, people in the boxing business (and just as importantly, the fans) are awaiting an official announcement including Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who has had a working relationship with Mayweather since 2007.
“Well, I'm just waiting for Floyd; that's all I can say,” Schaefer said on Friday afternoon. “At this point, there's nothing more for me to do. I hope it's going to happen soon because there are certain deadlines - not so much with the pay-per-view - but from a marketing point of view. One of the reasons why we have been the biggest pay-per-view promoter is because we have these amazing programs with our sponsors to fully activate - and I'm not just talking about a few states; I'm talking nationwide - for example, Corona, 20,000 stores compared to Tecate, which is in a couple thousand because they're sold in only three or four states.
“So these people have to produce materials to activate, otherwise, it doesn't mean that they're not going to be involved in the fight but they're not going to be able to activate the way we would want and do what we know they are capable of.”
Usually, major pay-per-view events are announced at least 90 days before their scheduled dates. What is certain is Golden Boy has reserved the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the date of May 4th. As for who Mayweather will be facing, Schaefer was non-committal, adding, “But I have finished my stuff, so I'm just waiting on Floyd.”
And part of his “stuff” involves Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
“As I have said all along, ‘Canelo’ is going to be fighting on that date and he's very anxious and, frankly, if this is going to take much longer, I'm just going to announce the ‘Canelo’ fight,” said Schaefer, who seemed surprised by Mayweather's tweet earlier in the week and sounds anxious to get the ball rolling on this promotion.
But there's also this not-so-small issue: which network will distribute this event?
“That's one of the hold-ups,” admitted Schaefer, “because obviously both networks have expressed a strong interest. I haven't heard much. Al Haymon is dealing with HBO, so I really don't know more. But at the end, again, it's going to be up to Floyd to decide where he wants the fight to be.”
Golden Boy has been beset by more than their fair share of pull-outs in 2013. From Danny Garcia’s rib to Devon Alexander’s bicep to Johnathon Banks’ thumb, fights that were scheduled to be on premium cable networks have been postponed, causing a shuffling of the Golden Boy schedule. And nowadays, where the itineraries are set months in advance, postponing a fight can create some pretty severe ramifications.
“It is frustrating because you're basically losing dates. Yeah, you can move them back but those fights I was planning to do at the end of April or so, then those are going to move back,” explained Schaefer. “It’s sorta like a chain reaction and once a date is gone, it's gone. Again, it just pushes everything back, then you get into those situations where suddenly those guys who were planning to fight in April and May are now going to have to move to May and June because those guys who were supposed to fight in February are now suddenly fighting in April.”
Garcia's fight with Zab Judah (along with the bout between Peter Quillin and Fernando Guerrero) was shifted from February 9th to April 27th, which was to have been Paulie Malignaggi's slot at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Now, Malignaggi's next outing is up in the air. In this instance, everything aligned, an available date on the network (Showtime) and a vacancy with the venue but many other times, getting all these pieces to fit together can be cumbersome.
Bottom line, you get injured in this sport and there are no back-ups coming off the bench. When a marquee performer gets dinged up, oftentimes, the show does not go on.
Schaefer says, “Obviously, nobody wants to get injured, so you can't blame those fighters but do urge fighters to really protect themselves in the sparring sessions, the same way they do into a fight. Again, the fall-outs are huge; the implications are huge and forget about the extra work. That I'm not so worried about; it really is more [about] finding the dates. Some of these guys, if they get injured in today's day and age, it's not like these TV dates are just flying around. They might have to wait six months.”
(When asked if a new co-main would accompany the February 23rd card - which was to have originally featured Alexander's defense of his belt versus Kell Brook - to go alongside Cornelius Bundrage vs. Ishe Smith in Detroit, Schaefer says it looks like it will be a one-fight telecast. “I think it's going to be changed to a ‘ShoBox’ special edition.”)
It was announced by Top Rank on Friday that WBO junior lightweight titlist Rocky Martinez would defend his crown against Diego Magdaleno on April 6th in Macau. This card is centered on two-time Chinese gold medalist Zou Shiming, who is making his professional debut. But with Martinez vs. Magdaleno, along with Brian Viloria's defense of his flyweight titles versus the game Juan Francisco Estrada, you've got a pair of pretty good fights. Honestly, I don't care too much about Shiming but like many other boxing fans, I want to see the other two bouts.
Top Rank is now actively looking at getting a television platform in America for this card.
A week later, it looks like Nonito Donaire will indeed be facing Guillermo Rigondeaux (most likely in New York City) on HBO. Rigondeaux had wavered on putting his name on the dotted line (http://www.maxboxing.com/news/promo-lead/will-the-train-leave-rigondeaux-behind) but the word is this fight is basically a done deal. It's an intriguing match-up between two skilled counterpunchers; you wonder who's going to take the lead in this fight. Either way, it beats a Donaire rematch with Vic Darchinyan, about three years past its sell-by date.
Schaefer put to rest any rumors that Alexander-Brook would be added to the April 27th card at the Barclays Center, stating it would be too costly...Leo Santa Cruz, who currently holds the IBF bantamweight belt, said via text that he is moving up to 122 pounds...No word on Amir Khan regarding April 20th but I get the sense that who they want to face and what Showtime is willing to accept and pay for it aren't in sync...Vyacheslav Gusev will face the talented Gary Russell Jr. on Showtime, March 2nd at the Apollo Theater in Harlem...Carl Frampton got a stern test from Kiko Martinez and passed with flying colors. Every young contender needs an experience like that coming up...By the way, is Scott Quigg scheduled anytime soon for a fight?...LeBron James is playing at an all-time great level that hasn't been seen since the days of Michael Jeffrey Jordan...Rick Barry can't believe how good this Miami Hurricane basketball team is. This is a “Final Four”-caliber squad in Coral Gables…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.
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