By Jake Donovan
A positive trend continues as ticket sales measure up to the demand for the HBO-televised October 13 doubleheader at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
The main event pits top super bantamweights Toshiaki Nishioka and Nonito Donaire, with the winner to gain recognition as the lineal 122 lb. king (with apologies to Guillermo Rigondeaux and his supporters). The bout that has everyone buzzing, however, is the 140 lb. showdown between unbeaten contenders Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios.
Original plans called for the arena to be configured for 5,000 seats. Early sales and overall ticket demand forced Top Rank and the event coordinators to open up the entire tennis stadium.
“Tickets are going unbelievably well,” noted Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum during a recent conference call to discuss the event. “This could be the biggest selling - or one of the biggest selling - events ever at the Home Depot Center. We’ve sold 5,000 seats as of now. We hope to have between 6,000-7,000 seats sold by the night of the fight.”
Oscar de la Hoya drew a sizeable crowd for his May ’08 points win over Steve Forbes, though that bout was staged at Home Depot Center’s soccer arena.
Capacity crowds for boxing events staged at the tennis stadium have been hard to come by. The last truly packed house came in March ’08 when Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez waged war in their epic third battle.
Should Top Rank’s estimates prove true, next Saturday’s affair will be the biggest crowd for the venue in more than four years.
Several notable events have taken place since then, including Donaire’s 122 lb. title unification win over Jeffrey Mathebula in July. Rios also has history with the venue, scoring a 3rd round knockout over Urbano Antillon last summer. The undefeated Californian was supposed to appear on the undercard of Donaire’s last fight, but was forced to withdraw after suffering an injury during training camp.
Neither of the aforementioned events sold particularly well, but the combination of anticipated fights and affordable tickets have made this event a hit with the buying public.
“If you give people quality, the people will respond,” Arum points out. “One thing we did was keep the ticket prices reasonable. All of the $150 level tickets are sold out. There are a few $100 tickets left and some at the $75 level as well as at the $35 ticket price.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox