Fighters, Fans, and Pay-Per-View
By Michael Herron: Finally, the autumn has arrived and the two most highly anticipated fights of the year are at hand, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto. Fight fans have long discussed and debated the outcome of these fights but it is the “making of” these contests that has shook up the boxing world. Typically, boxing promotions revolve around fighters and their promoters arguing why their fighter and/or company is the best, why you should tune in, buy tickets, order the pay-per-view, etc…True boxing fans, casual and diehards, generally care less about sales and marketing and more about in the ring action but ironically when it comes to these two fights, boxing fans seemingly are less concerned about the actual fight as they are with final pay-per-view sales..
Article posted on 31.08.2009
In regards to these two fights, websites and boxing forums from around the world have received endless streams of articles, interviews, chats, and blogs full of facts and opinions. By lending an ear to the fans and researching their opinions it is clear that a battle line has been drawn between those who support the pay-per-view drawing power of Pacquiao vs. that of Mayweather. Based on the comments of many who support Pacquiao it is clear that they want the September 19th Mayweather-Marquez event to fail financially. They have put in a lot of work towards convincing anyone on the fence to not buy this fight. They say Marquez is too small, he is handpicked, he has never fought at welterweight, etc…while at the same time they ignore that Mayweather has been retired for two years, will certainly have rust, was called out by Marquez and agreed to a catch weight below 147. Most importantly, those against this contest conveniently ignore that Marquez is universally regarded as the #2 pound-for-pound fighter in the world; simply put, this is no tune-up.
The Mayweather-Marquez event has several positive components going for it; what is fascinating however is how those who are against this fight take its positives and attempt to turn them into negatives. For instance, many fans have long complained about purchasing pay-per-views that do not have an attractive undercard. This event however does not have that problem; it will showcase not only pound-for-pound stars Mayweather and Marquez but will also feature the rematch of WBA featherweight champion Chris John vs. Rocky Juarez and the always exciting Michael Katsidis vs. Vicente Escobedo. According to the anti-fans, Golden Boy Promotions (GBP) only stacked the card with great fights because they are afraid Mayweather can’t draw. Well if this is the case then I hope no fighter ever becomes a draw again because according to this logic we only get a great card because the headliner can’t draw.
Also, GBP announced that the Mayweather-Marquez fight will be shown in movie theaters across the country. While this is without a doubt one of the best things that has happened to boxing recently, the anti-fans again have attempted to turn this into a negative stating, “They only showing it in theaters cause their afraid no one will buy the pay-per-view.” So again, according to this logic, fear of Mayweather’s inability to draw has brought big fights back to theaters; therefore it appears to this writer that we should thank the so-called non drawing power of Mayweather rather than criticize it.
In contrast, though every true boxing fan should be excited about Pacquiao vs. Cotto, Top Rank’s proposed undercard featuring Yuri Forman vs. Daniel Santos does not come close to matching the GBP offering. Also, the only innovation currently associated with this bout is the creation of a WBC Diamond Belt, which is precisely what the boxing world does not need, another belt. With that said however, there is not nearly as many fans if any at all, criticizing or hoping for Pacquiao-Cotto to fail financially. Perhaps this means that fans are happy with this fight alone regardless of the undercard or maybe this only proves that Mayweather has some of the most dedicated anti-fans in the sport, or as their called in the boxing world, haters.
Though any discussion of boxing is good, why fight fans are dedicating so much energy in debating pay-per-view sales makes one wonder if they believe their getting a cut of the profits. My ultimate goal for both of these fights is simply to add another great fight to my collection, and perhaps even engage in a healthy debate or two regarding who is the best pound-for-pound. The fact of the matter is if fans want to see the biggest fight that can be made “Mayweather vs. Pacquiao” then it may be wise to support their current assignments.
Ultimately, these fights are a win-win for the sport of boxing and the fans, why anyone who claims they are true boxing fans would hope for any of these events to fail is ridiculous. Only Dana White of the UFC, who will be going up against Mayweather-Marquez on September 19th, should be wishing with fingers crossed that no one will take interest in this bout. If his wish indeed comes true then it will not be the fans of UFC he should thank but boxing fans themselves who have willingly shunned their own sport. Keep it up and we will soon be watching boxing’s funeral, if you can’t be there live, I am sure you can catch it on pay-per-view.
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