By Michael Marley
The stakes are very high for September 15th in Las Vegas. With only two miles of driving distance between them, two high profile pay-per-views will go head to head.
On one end, at the MGM Grand, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez will defend his WBC junior middleweight title against former champion Victor Ortiz, provided he defeats Josesito Lopez this coming Saturday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Golden Boy Promotions will stage the event and Showtime pay-per-view will carry it.
On the other end, at the Thomas & Mack Center, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will defend his WBC middleweight crown against pound-for-pound challenger Sergio Martinez. Top Rank and Lou DiBella will promote the card and HBO pay-per-view will distribute.
Some fans are outraged over the head to head battle.
Golden Boy officially announced Canelo-Ortiz on a June 12th conference call, but Canelo's September return was initially revealed during the post-fight press conference to his May 5th victory over Shane Mosley. Top Rank announced Chavez-Martinez during last Saturday's post-fight press conference in El Paso, but the fight had been rumored for months.
According to Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, his company reserved the date of September 15th with cable television operators back in February.
If Golden Boy and Showtime intend to move forward on the same date, Arum doesn't seem worried. He believes Golden Boy's show will experience attendance issues by running their event at such a close distance.
"Let them do what they want, let them run the same night at the MGM. Their fight is an okay fight but our fight is much, much bigger. They will find that a lot of the MGM's customers are going to want to come to see our fight," Arum said.
Arum revealed that Chavez-Martinez at the arena on the Running Rebels college campus will be chiefly sponsored by casino mogul Steve Wynn.
"And Steve will be getting tickets out to many of the other casinos," Arum said. "A lot of the casinos are pissed off at the MGM Grand because they don't give good fight tickets to them. Steve couldn't get good tickets for the Cotto-Mayweather fight. Neither could Caesars and others so there is a lot of bitterness there."