By Jake Donovan
The recent signing of the highly anticipated 140 lb. showdown between Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse has become an instant hit with boxing fans and media. The fight – in which the winner will be universally recognized as the divisional lineal king – was officially confirmed Wednesday afternoon, with the tremendous bonus of it serving as the co-feature to the September 14 pay-per-view headliner between Floyd Mayweather and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
The MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the hosting venue for the event, has long ago sold out, and closed-circuit ticket demand is already threatening to exceed availability. That Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions would add such a fight to a card that is already destroying box office records busts one myth that the motives of all involved are strictly financially-driven.
That two fighters represented by boxing powerbroker Al Haymon are facing each other helps put to rest another myth that all parties involved claims never carried any weight.
“I have a suspicion, where those rumors came from, but we don’t need to go there or mention no names,” quipped Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, during a media conference call to officially announce the 140 lb. championship fight.
By the time Garcia and Matthysse step foot in the ring, it will mark the second time this year that two Haymon-advised fighters will have faced each other. Garcia (26-0, 16KO) was present for the first occasion, when middleweight titlist Peter Quillin defended his belt against fellow Haymon fighter Fernando Guerrero. The bout served as the co-feature to Garcia’s title defending win over Zab Judah at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Three weeks after Garcia’s victory, Matthysse (34-2, 32KO) further enhanced his cult following with a three-round destruction of Lamont Peterson in Atlantic City. Mere seconds after that result, fans have clamored for a Garcia-Matthysse showdown.
Several theories were floated as to why the fight wouldn’t happen as time went by and announcements weren’t made. Some suggested that Garcia wanted no part of the fight. Other conspiracy theorists suggested that Haymon was standing in the way of the fight, apprehensive of two of his top fighters stepping into the ring.
Schaefer, a former banker and the driving force behind Golden Boy Promotions, broke down the math in support of his insistence that nothing could be further from the truth.
“First and foremost, Al Haymon is a huge boxing fan. He believes in the best fighting the best. He has never been a stumbling block,” Schaefer insists. “He wanted to see this fight happen. 80—90% of the best talent, he would be doing his clients a disservice by not making these fights. Mathematically, his clients would be out these fights.
“Nothing could be further from the truth about Al Haymon not wanting those fights happen.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox