By Rick Reeno
The last time a pay-per-view event was tagged "Danger Zone" - Oscar De La Hoya was returning from a near two-year layoff and fought Ricardo Mayorga on Cinco De Mayo weekend in 2006 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
On December 14th, also at the MGM Grand, WBA welterweight champion Adrien Broner (27-0, 22KOs) will headline a Showtime pay-per-view event, making the first defense of his title against top challenger Marcos Maidana (34-3, 31KOs). The loaded card, being staged by Golden Boy Promotions, is also being tagged as "Danger Zone."
"The last time we used the name "Danger Zone" was for De La Hoya against Mayorga. That's when Oscar came back and he was fighting a very dangerous guy in Mayorga. That was just one fight. Here we have an entire card where it's a danger zone. It's one of those cards where you start watching at 6PM [PST], you don't want to move away from your seat," Schaefer told BoxingScene.com.
"Broner and Maidana is one of the most anticipated fights in the sport. Everybody would ask me about Mayweather-Canelo and I got that done. Then they asked me about Garcia-Matthysse and I got that done. Then I was always getting asked about Broner and Maidana and I got that done too. It's a fascinating matchup. I don't know who is going to win that fight."
The co-feature is going highlight the return of former welterweight champion Victor Ortiz (29-4-2, 22KOs). Ortiz's return will certainly have a lot of danger as he moves up in weight to challenge Carlos Molina (22-5-2, 6KOs) for the IBF junior middleweight title.
Molina won the title last month when he scored a twelve round split decision over Ishe Smith on the Mayweather-Canelo pay-per-view undercard. Ortiz has been inactive since a ninth round TKO defeat to Josesito Lopez in June of 2012. He suffered a badly broken jaw in the contest, and the injury required surgery and many months of rehab.
Ortiz is certainly not taking any shortcuts here. Molina has given hell to every opponent he faced, including Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
"Ortiz vs. Molina - there is not much to say about that fight. It's a main event on its own. For Victor Ortiz, to come back after over twelve months off, and then move up in weight, and take on in his first fight [at 154] the IBF champion, who is going into this fight with a lot of momentum after beating Ishe Smith in his hometown," Schaefer said.
"Victor is not a tuneup kind of fighter. The case is the same with all of our fighters. You put them in real fights and they get paid a lot of money, and even after you lose in a real fight - there is no shame in it. That notion of losing and having to go to the back of the line doesn't matter anymore. If you are an exciting guy, you are an exciting guy. People want to see you because they want to see exciting events."
And the fight that has Schaefer very excited is a welterweight war between Keith Thurman (21-0, 19KOs) and Jesus Soto Karass (28-8-3, 18KOs), as they battle for the WBA interim-championship. Soto Karass is riding a very nice streak of wins, which includes a decision over Selcuk Aydin and a TKO of Andre Berto.
"This has 'fight of the year' written all over it. It's another fight where I don't know who is going to win. I certainly would never bet against Soto Karass. The guy has been determined and rejuvenated since he’s been with Golden Boy. He doesn't worry about anything, just fighting - and he beats everybody. And of course it's Thurman's biggest test. It's a hell of a fight," Schaefer said.
Rounding things out, junior middleweight contender Alfredo Angulo (22-3, 18KOs) will attempt to get back on track after suffering a tenth round TKO loss at the hands of Lara in June. Angulo will face dangerous puncher Jorge Melendez (27-3-1, 26KOs) of Puerto Rico. One thing is for sure, one of these fighters is going to sleep before the final bell.
Broner has talked the talk and he walked the walk. Now he headlines his first pay-per-view event. Schaefer is very realistic with the buyrate figures for the card. He doesn't expect an avalanche of pay-per-view purchases. Every fighter has to start somewhere, says Schaefer, and now it's time for Broner to begin his pay-per-view journey.
"Let's face it, you have to start somewhere with a pay-per-view. The fact is, Floyd's first pay-per-view wasn't 2 million or 2 and a half million either. You build from there and you grow. You are not suddenly going to do with your first pay-per-view - 500, 600 or 700,000 or a million homes. You build from that but you have to start somewhere. And the great thing about is that he’s starting somewhere with a great fight, because when you ask people to take money out of their pocket you have to put together the best top to bottom card," Schaefer said.