By Robert Morales
For those wondering about the decision to put the March 8 junior middleweight fight between Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Alfredo "Perro" Angulo at MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Showtime pay-per-view rather than on the network's regular broadcast, that rests on the shoulders of Alvarez.
As far back as Sept. 15, 2012, when Alvarez fought Josesito Lopez at MGM Grand, Alvarez wanted to headline a pay-per-view card as the top dog. But his promoter, Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, talked Alvarez into nixing that idea when rival promoter Bob Arum staged the middleweight title fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez down the street at Thomas & Mack Center on the same night on HBO pay-per-view.
"I was able to convince 'Canelo' that is not the way to start your pay-per-view career," Schaefer said Wednesday.
Alvarez then fought and defeated fellow champion Austin Trout in San Antonio on regular Showtime, and then Alvarez defended his championship against Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Showtime pay-per-view. Alvarez lost, but the fight set a record for pay-per-view revenue.
"The goal was to really have him sort of like dip his feet in the pay-per-view business sometime last year," Schaefer said. "It did obviously happen with the Mayweather fight and the Mayweather fight became the highest-grossing boxing event of all time. You can imagine that, yes, it's Floyd Mayweather and, yes, he has the biggest pay-per-view numbers.
"But 'Canelo' had a lot to do with that as well, that it did become the biggest pay-per-view event revenue-wise of all time. So now he sees that. He sees how the public is embracing him, he sees how the ratings in Mexico are."
Schaefer reiterated what he has said before.
"'Canelo' Alvarez, without any question, is the No. 1 star from Mexico," he said. "He's seen the Erik Moraleses, the Marco Antonio Barrera's, the Juan Manuel Marquez's and so on, have all fought on pay-per-view. He feels this is his time.
His ratings - and I'm not just singling out the Mayweather fight - even before, his ratings in Mexico on Televisa have been surpassing the ratings the national soccer team gets."
Schaefer said it's up to him as a promoter to have the back of his budding superstar, rather than hold him back.
"He wants to make a living, he wants to have a family to provide for and so who am I to stand in his way and say, 'Sorry, you shouldn't be on pay-per-view,' "Schaefer said. "My job as a promoter is to support our fighters. As I've told you many times, our slogan is the fighter doesn't work for us, we as an entity work for the fighter. That is extremely important in this particular case.
"If a fighter says, 'Hey, I want to do a pay-per-view,' I'll do a pay-per-view and support him in any way or shape we can. We'll put our pay-per-view machine behind it, which is clearly second to none because we are holding both records - biggest pay-per-view numbers (Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya) and the highest-grossing one, and that's no accident."
Schaefer pointed out that both Mayweather and De La Hoya built their way up on pay-per-view and certainly did not start with million-plus buys.
"They started somewhere and that's what this is for 'Canelo,'" Schaefer said.
Schaefer also said once it's determined a fight will be on pay-per-view, it's up to him to make sure every avenue is taken to secure its success. The undercard, with two world-title fights and one interim world-title fight, should do that, Schaefer said.
"There is no question these are all entertaining fights, the kind of fights people want to see," he said.
Waiting on Mayweather
Schaefer was queried as to when we might hear who Mayweather's next opponent might be, and he responded with some interesting information about how Mayweather goes about preparing for a given fight. We're not talking about physical preparation for a particular foe.
"Floyd is the kind of fighter who fights anyone," Schaefer said. "He is obviously ultimately deciding who he's going to fight. But at the same time, he is frankly more interested in the marketing and creating the entire atmosphere and positioning of his fight week and fight night to basically make this, as it has been the past few years, without any question the event to be at. Like the Super Bowl of boxing.
"He just likes to create these big nights where you have cards which are top-to-bottom loaded, and he gets very much invovled in that."
That still doesn't let us know who Mayweather's next victim - er, opponent - will be when he steps in the ring again. Schaefer figures Mayweather will let us all know the same way.
"At one point, Floyd, as we know from the past as well, will announce through Twitter who he is fighting," Schaefer said. "Once that first tweet is out, that's when the games will begin."
Amir Khan is one of those being considered.
Ortiz back in the saddle
Victor Ortiz has been through quite a bit in his career. He was ripped by fans and reporters for apparently quitting in his sixth-round TKO loss to Marcos Maidana in a brutal fight in June 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. In September 2011, Ortiz was knocked out by Mayweather in the fourth round at MGM Grand after Ortiz purposely head-butted Mayweather, couldn't stop apologizing and then was taken out by a 1-2 after doing so one too many times.
And in his most recent fight - in June 2012 - Ortiz was stopped after nine rounds by Josesito Lopez at Staples Center. Ortiz was winning the fight, but had his jaw badly broken in the ninth.
We asked Schaefer if, in his mind, he believes Ortiz has the psychological wherewithal to get back to being a world champion. Oh, yes, prior to that Mayweather debacle, Ortiz gave a fine performance in defeating Andre Berto, taking his welterweight title in April 2011 in Mashantucket, Conn.
"Well, we're going to find out a lot about that next week," Schaefer said, referring to Ortiz's fight against former champion Luis Collazo on Jan. 30 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Fox Sports 1). "That's going to be very, very interesting to see because one thing we all know about Victor Ortiz is that there is always something happening, something exciting.
"And you just don't know, and I think that's what makes Victor Ortiz like must-see TV. There is this happening, that happening. And when people say, 'Well, the guy has no heart,' you see what happened in the Berto fight where Victor got dropped and came up and he showed the heart of a champion. So you just don't know. I think it's the unknown that makes Victor so exciting."
Schaefer suggested that Ortiz's time out of the ring - during which he was on "Dancing with the Stars" and acted in the movie "The Expendables 3" - allowed Ortiz to refresh his mind.
"I think he's coming back with a newfound love for the sport and a newfound hunger," Schaefer said. "It's sort of like he's starting the next chapter."
Ortiz, who will be 27 on Jan. 31, is 29-4-2 with 22 knockouts.
Abel Sanchez on Mike Perez
One thing about trainer Abel Sanchez, he's not one to make a lot of excuses for his fighters. He didn't do that Wednesday when he was asked about the performance of heavyweight Mike Perez in his majority draw with Carlos Takam on Saturday in Montreal, either. He did have some ideas as to why Perez struggled to earn the draw, however.
Sanchez said that most of the questions Perez fielded ahead of the fight centered on Magomed Abdusalamov, with whom Perez tangled on Nov. 2 at Madison Square Garden.
Abdusalamov sustained a serious brain injury and though he survived, he will never fight again.
For example, Sanchez said ESPN did an interview with Perez during a Los Angeles news conference.
"The big question was regarding that," Sanchez said, referring to Abdusalamov's injury. "The whole interview was focused on the Mago fight."
Sanchez said Perez actually started to tear up during that interview, and that he had to take a short break before resuming.
"All those things that kept it fresh in his mind," Sanchez said. "Being that preoccupied, he wasn't focused on the task at hand, which was Carlos Takam."
This was only Sanchez's second fight training Perez, of Cuba. He admitted he doesn't know him that well, but Sanchez noted that for their first fight together - the one against Abdusalamov - Perez was aching to get in the ring.
"When we were warming up, he was animated, pounding the gloves," Sanchez said.
He wasn't doing that for Saturday's fight against Takam.
"He just seemed to be dead in the dressing room," Sanchez said. "And at the weigh-in, he seemed so far out."
Sanchez, who said he thought the fight with Takam was close, said Perez being cut in the third round by a head-butt didn't help.
What's up with Stiverne-Arreola?
The period for promoters Don King and Dan Goossen to make a deal for Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola to fight for the vacant heavyweight championship ended Jan. 17. At that point, a purse bid was supposed to take place.
We had a very short conversation with Goossen - Arreola's promoter - on Wednesday in this regard.
"Don and I have been working together to get this thing happening," said Goossen, who then said he had to go, would call back, but did not.
Stiverne and Arreola already fought once, with Stiverne winning a unanimous decision over Arreola in April at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif. The title for which they would be fighting was left vacant when Vitali Klitschko decided to run for president in his native Ukraine.
Robert Morales covers boxing for The Los Angeles Daily News and BoxingScene.com