By Jake Donovan
The uphill battle Golden Boy Promotions has faced in promoting its September 15 headliner between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Josesito Lopez is that’s impossible to mention the card with referencing the other major show in Vegas that same evening.
Approximately two miles away from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas – where Golden Boy’s show takes place – on the very same evening will be the middleweight championship between divisional kingpin Sergio Martinez and unbeaten beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Golden Boy Promotions held a news conference in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon, a few hours after the Chavez Jr.-Martinez press tour officially concluded in Mexico City. Both promotions have made indirect references to the other, even if only to take shots at how the opposing events are being market.
Top Rank and co-promoter Zanfer Box have made a point to mention that its card had a headliner all along. It was referenced throughout the four-city tour of the absurdity to claim property rights over another company when you still have ‘TBA’ listed in one of the slots for the main event.
Where Golden Boy hopes to hit its biggest rival in the sport today is directly in its wallets. Top Rank’s show – which is still settling on the televised portion of the undercard - will air live on HBO PPV, with the suggested retail price figuring to be $49.95 or higher.
Meanwhile, Golden Boy Promotions has three of the four televised slots filled. While a fourth fight is being sought, confirmation has been made that its card will in fact be a televised quadruple which will air live on Showtime. In addition, select bouts will be chosen for the lead-in show on sister network Showtime Extreme, as has become custom for most the Showtime-televised cards this year.
“This card will be like a pay-per-view but the good news is that you won’t have to pay for it,” Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer proudly announced to a rabid crowd on hand for Tuesday afternoon’s press conference in downtown Los Angeles. “It will be like a free-per-view.”
Tickets go on sale Friday and will feature prices as low as $25. Golden Boy Promotions has went out of its way to ensure that the fight fan gets the most for their money. In addition to the slew of TV-worthy bouts, entertainment is being secured for fight week, including in-town concerts in conjunction with the event, to take place the Friday before and Sunday after fight night.
The biggest dispute over securing the date was the cultural significance it holds to the Mexican fan base. Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16, with boxing always going out of its way to stage a big card on the weekend. Both companies felt a sense of entitlement to the date, being the two biggest promoters in the business.
Golden Boy has contended all along its having secured the date well in advance, while Top Rank claims to have no interest in what’s going on down the block from its own event that evening.
It’s clear that Golden Boy is unable to promote its own event without avoiding ways to draw attention to its longtime rival. But that hasn’t stopped the company or those involved from insisting that in the MGM Grand and on Showtime exists the most rewarding form of entertainment for your dollar.
“We won’t gauge you on prices,” stated Stephen Espinoza, a former attorney for Golden Boy who took over programming reigns for Showtime Sports late last year. “This is free on Showtime, it will be a night to remember. Don’t miss it.”
Alvarez (40-0-1, 29KO) makes the fifth defense of the alphabet 154 lb. belt he acquired last year. An unbeaten 23-year old star from Mexico, Alvarez’ last ring appearance was a near-shutout of badly-faded former three-division champion Shane Mosley.
Lopez (30-4, 18KO) catapulted his way to the top of the list of opponents for Alvarez after bumping off Victor Ortiz, who was announced to land the date with Alvarez prior to the June 23 debacle. Ortiz was in the lead in their Showtime-televised bout but suffered a broken and was unable to any longer fight through the pain.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox