By Jake Donovan
From the moment the announcement came that Floyd Mayweather would face Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, the forthcoming September 14 event has seemingly taken on a life of its own. From the record-breaking live gate to the hundreds of thousands of fans who came out in full force during the 10-city, two-country press tour, it was clear that the boxing public has fully embraced the biggest possible fight that could realistically be made today.
“We feel ‘The One’ will break all records,” insists Golden Boy President Oscar de la Hoya, who – as a fighter – still holds the all-time record for the highest-selling boxing pay-per-view event. His May ’07 split decision loss to Mayweather generated more than 2.4 million buys, and also at the time set the record for the largest live gate in boxing history.
The latter record has since been shattered, with Mayweather-Alvarez grossing more than $19 million in ticket sales for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The matchup of unbeaten stars is now poised to make a run at the all-time pay-per-view mark.
“Everything we’ve received back so far indicates that ‘The One’ will be the one,” de la Hoya states.
As for why the fight has become such a phenomenon? That’s where promoter and fighter have differing opinions.
“It’s a fight that the fans wanted to see,” Alvarez bluntly states. “It’s a fight that they’ve asked for. It’s euphoric. They’re excited about the fight; they know it’s not going to be an easy fight for either of us.”
Alvarez (42-0-1, 30KO) is coming off of a unanimous decision win over Austin Trout in their 154 lb. title unification bout this past April. The event drew upwards of 40,000 fans at the Alamodome in San Antonio, underlining Alvarez’ massive popularity in Mexico and among Hispanic fight fans in the United States.
It also marked a rare occasion in which he and Mayweather (44-0, 26KO) weren’t paired on the same card, an absence that was felt in the pound-for-pound king’s landslide win over Robert Guerrero. The fight fared well at the box office when compared to all other events, but paled in comparison to lofty expectations set forth by the industry and—even if they won’t admit it—Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime, both of whom have a considerable vested interest in Mayweather’s career.
There are no such problems in drawing attention to this event, one where Mayweather fights twice in the span of four months, his quickest turnaround in more than a decade. Alvarez doesn’t believe that, or any other sidebar, to be a factor in why the upcoming show has captured the imagination of millions of boxing fans.
“It doesn’t matter that Floyd is fighting twice this year. He could have fought (next May) like he always does and it would still be as big. I think it’s because of the fight itself,” Alvarez believes.
His promoter believes there to be at least one sidebar factor that generates additional interest.
“People have hope; they strongly believe that Mayweather will get beat,” de la Hoya insists, in no short way pushing his own prediction that Alvarez will win by knockout. “That’s why it’s catching on. You have Canelo, who is fighting like a seasoned veteran (note: Alvarez has been a pro fighter for eight years, despite only being 23 years old). He’s in the best shape of his career and people have hope that he will be the one to finally beat Mayweather.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America.
Twitter: @JakeNDaBoxTags: Floyd Mayweather Jr. , Saul Alvarez , Mayweather-Canelo , Mayweather vs Canelo