Cinco De Mayo weekend is one of the most coveted dates on the boxing calendar.
In addition to Mexican Independence Day weekend, the date is typically commanded by the sport’s biggest breadwinner.
More recently, Floyd Mayweather Jr. made the May holiday a customary fixture for his pay per view dates from 2007 to 2015, fighting around the holiday six times, but never once after May 5.
The Cinco De Mayo baton has since been passed on to Canelo Alvarez.
The Mexican day of commemoration this year falls smack dab in the middle of the week on a Wednesday, thus blurring the lines for boxing promoters for when they should present a much-desired fight.
Top Rank boss Bob Arum and Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn are both eyeing Saturday, May 8 to stage competing Cinco De Mayo clashes in Las Vegas, and both events will feature well known Mexican combat commodities.
Hearn intends on showcasing the Alvarez versus Billy Joe Saunders super middleweight showdown on May 8 on DAZN, he told Sirius XM on Tuesday.
Allegiant Stadium, the new home for the Las Vegas Raiders, is the preferred site for the super middleweight unification bout, according to ESPN’s Mark Kriegel. Hearn is also considering Texas and Florida as the other two sites. Both Texas (Callum Smith fight) and Florida (Avni Yildirim fight) have been the locales of Alvarez’s last two fights.
Kriegel noted last week that Arum plans to also showcase Mexican-American Jose Ramirez, a WBC and WBO super lightweight champion, against IBF and WBA titlist Josh Taylor for all of the marbles at 140 on an ESPN property on May 8 as well.
Arum and his Las Vegas-based company have made the MGM Grand its exclusive home since first bringing boxing back during the pandemic in June, and Ramirez vs. Taylor would be staged there as well.
If both Arum and Hearn move forward with their plans, boxing fans as well as Mexican supporters of Alvarez and Ramirez, and United Kingdom-based fans in Saunders and Taylor, will be torn into which fight they’ll be glued to. Official announcements for the events have not been made yet.
One way to side-step potential loss in audiences would be for either Arum or Hearn to pivot and stage their event a week before. There isn’t a major boxing event planned yet for May 1.
Arum has counter-punched Alvarez in the past with his own premier program.
On Sept. 15, 2012, he staged the fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas for a Mexican Independence Day showdown on HBO PPV just as the rising Alvarez was fighting Josesito Lopez at the MGM Grand on Showtime.
In 2019, Arum counter-programmed Alvarez’s bout against Daniel Jacobs with an event headlined by Artur Beterbiev on May 4 in Stockton, Calif. and on the Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev card on Nov. 2 with his own event headlined by Miguel Berchelt in Carson, California.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com