By Mitch Abramson
While fans look ahead to the rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito on Dec. 3. One observer who is probably just as eager for that fight is HBO’s PPV guru, Mark Taffet, who took a hit of sorts after the much maligned PPV bout between Chad Dawson and Bernard Hopkins on Oct. 15, which ended with Hopkins laying flat on his back, unable to continue with a separated shoulder after barely two rounds of boxing.
Those who paid $54.95 to see two boxers circle each other before a meaningful punch was thrown were none too pleased over paying such a price. With Cotto and Margarito on the horizon, along with Manny Pacquiao’s PPV bout with Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12, Taffet is almost assured of two good bounce-back nights after the Hopkins-Dawson debacle. And he is very happy because of it.
“We move on the next great fight and the next great matchup,” Taffet told BoxingScene last Saturday, speaking at a press conference for the Dec. 3 undercard. “What we know is that when you make the matchup that the fans want to see, they’re always there to support you and on Nov. 12 and Dec. 3 we’re very confident that the fans will recognize those great matchups and will be there to support the fights.”
As for what happened on Oct. 15, Taffet was diplomatic. After two decades in the business, little surprises him at this point. He declined to comment specifically on what took place between Hopkins and Dawson, whether he was disappointed and of the fallout, if any, that resulted. He chose to look ahead instead at better days to come on HBO PPV.
“I’ve been involved with HBO PPV for 20 years and we’ve presented over 170 fights,” Taffet said. “So there’s an awful lot that we’ve seen in the ring and around the fights and we’re looking forward to a great fight on Nov. 12 between Pacquiao and Marquez- the conclusion of one of the great trilogies of our era. And then on Dec. 3 we look to Cotto and Margarito as a great rematch between two fighters who bring passion with a capital ‘P’ into the ring every time they step in. So, we look forward to matchups like this continuing, and we give kudos to the promoters for putting it together."
He believes the boxing fan is a devoted fan, quick to look ahead to the next big matchup the sport has to offer.
“Boxing fans are very savvy and very sophisticated,” Taffet said. “They look at each fight individually. And they evaluate it based on its own merits and every boxing fan knows that when you look at Cotto and Margarito, it doesn’t matter what came before it. It doesn’t matter what comes after it. On that night you want to watch, you want to tune in. And we expect it to be a very fulfilling night for boxing fans.”
Perhaps looking to put viewers at ease, Taffet basically assured fans that Cotto and Margarito will wage a fight worth purchasing.
“Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito had a phenomenal fight their first time around,” Taffet said. “And we were fortunate enough to be a part of it. To take that fight and have it in this city at Madison Square Garden- you couldn’t match a fight with an arena to its fans better than that. It figures to be an incredibly exciting night for what will be a sold out arena at the Garden. And we know it’s going to be a great success on PPV because simply: you know going in that a great fight is going to take place.”
Mitch Abramson covers boxing for the New York Daily News and BoxingScene.com.