By Jake Donovan
The final four months of the 2013 boxing season look more and more promising with each addition. Within a span of less than a month, three of the biggest fights that can realistically be made will take place – two of which will take place on the same show.
Three weeks prior to the long awaited (though not necessarily anticipated) Oct. 5 heavyweight clash between Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin, 2013 will see its biggest event – by far – take center stage in the boxing capital of the world. Tickets have already been sold out for the September 14 showdown between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Their PPV headliner at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas has already established a box-office record, with the live gate total estimated in the neighborhood of $19.5 million.
Expectations of the $65 pay-per-view card (plus $10 more for HD) were to threaten the record set by Mayweather’s 12-round points win over Oscar de la Hoya in May ’07, registering more than 2.5 million units sold to the tune of $140 million.
With the addition of the 140 lb. world championship between Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia and Lucas Matthysse as the evening’s co-feature, many believe a new record will be set in mid-September.
Regardless of how the final numbers play out, there’s no question that this one-two punch of must-see fights taking place on the same September 14 show have established a new benchmark. Future pay-per-views now have a new act to follow with the latest Gold(en Boy) standard set.
“There’s no question, this becomes the new gold standard,” Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer declared during a media conference call to announce the addition of Garcia-Matthysse to what is already the year’s most anticipated show. “If you have promoters who have a commitment, you have make a huge step forward to make new fans. We’ve shown that.
“Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions have shown a commitment. This takes it a huge step forward.”
The main four combatants in the Sept. 14 show all had their last fights within a month of each other. Alvarez – who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Thursday – began the run with a career best win, a 12-round unanimous decision over Austin Trout this past April. One week later, Garcia (26-0, 16KO) survived a major gut check from former two-division Zab Judah to take a well-deserved decision.
The month of May saw the return of Mayweather (44-0, 26 “by way of”), who was nearly perfect in a landslide win over Robert Guerrero. Two weeks later, Matthysse’s 3rd round destruction of Lamont Peterson was awe-inspiring enough to have Schaefer tab him as the sport’s latest leading action star.
With the aforementioned quartet of wins, public demand was instantaneous for Mayweather-Alvarez and Garcia-Matthysse to be made. Speculation ran rampant that a fight with the unbeaten Alvarez would come more towards the back end of Mayweather’s lucrative six-fight deal with Showtime, if ever at all. Similar skepticism suggested that Garcia would find a way to go around a Matthysse fight.
Critics were not only proven wrong on both accounts, but get both fights on the same show in what is already a runaway lead candidate for 2013’s Event of the Year.
"We didn't need to do this. Tickets are sold out. This is without question a thank-you to the fight fans and an attempt to bring new fans to the sport,” Schaefer said in making the fight.
The promoter has every right to pat himself on the back in delivering such a show, yet was genuinely humbled that he was able to pull off the deal. Such humility, however, didn’t prevent him from reminding the other side of the Cold War (Top Rank) of what he has been able to accomplish on his own, and without feeling the need to resort to gimmicks to sell an event.
“Loaded pay-per-view cards are the hallmark of Golden Boy and Mayweather Promotions pay-per-views,” Schaefer proudly declares, but not without a parting shot. “The Butterbean days are over.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox