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A big fight for Mayweather and some big numbers




Boxer Floyd Mayweather speaks during a press conference in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. Mayweather is scheduled to fight on Saturday against Carnelo Alvarez, for Mayweather’s WBA Super World and Alvarez’s WBC junior middleweight titles. AP

LAS VEGAS – If Richard Schaefer looked a bit nervous standing near his fighters on a massive stage this week at the MGM Grand, he had good reason.

In a city of high rollers, on one of the biggest betting days of the year, the head of Golden Boy Promotions is taking the biggest gamble of all. He’s got $60 million on the line that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Canelo Alvarez will not only deliver a great fight, but deliver at the box office, too.

He’s betting the 152-pound matchup between two unbeaten fighters will be a blockbuster, perhaps the richest fight ever. And right now, there are not a lot of wise guys in this gambling city who would bet against him.

“My goal is to break the record,” Schaefer said. “I think we will do 2 million homes, which will make it the single biggest pay-per-view in boxing.”

If it is, it will be largely because Golden Boy is charging the single biggest price for a boxing match, a whopping $74.95 if you want to watch in HD. That will give boxing fans at home not only the most anticipated fight in years but a 140-pound title fight between Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse that would be a headline bout anywhere else.

Want to be there in person? The fight sold out in hours, but you can still find a seat on the main floor for $9,422. If that’s too rich, the cheapest nosebleed seat Thursday on StubHub was $1,687.

Schaefer said the fight is such a hot ticket for the celebrity crowd that they’re calling asking to buy tickets instead of getting them free. Magic Johnson wanted some and so did Kobe Bryant, but his choice of ringside seats in the center of the front row were already taken.

“Saturday could be a $200 million night,” Schaefer said. “Boxing is hardly a dying sport.”

Not when it has the country’s highest-paid athlete. Mayweather will make at least $41.5 million for the 12-rounder, bringing his salary this year to $73 million in two fights. Alvarez, the red-headed star from Mexico, won’t do too badly himself, with a $5 million guarantee and a chance to make double that if the fight is a big hit.

For Schaefer and Golden Boy it’s a bit more complicated. They get a windfall guarantee from the Showtime network, which Schaefer says doesn’t even cover Mayweather’s purse. And after splitting with cable and satellite companies they’ll end up with about $35 from every house that buys the fight.

Toss in a $19.9 million live gate and a few million here and there from sponsorships and foreign rights sales, and it could be a nice payday indeed for the company Schaefer and Oscar De La Hoya founded.

“I’m going to obviously get some money Monday morning,” Schaefer said. “But I’m going to be out by the time the first bell rings well over $60 million.”

Those in boxing familiar with big fight promotions don’t think Schaefer will have to worry about closing his company’s doors. He begins to make money at about 1.5 million pay-per-view buys, and the indications are that this fight will exceed that, though getting to 2 million might be a stretch (Mayweather’s 2007 fight with De La Hoya is the biggest selling boxing pay-per-view at 2.4 million buys).

Mayweather is the big driver behind those sales, of course. He’s the champion in the ring and he’s the champion in selling the fight to those watching at home, though his fight in May against Robert Guerrero was a bit of a box office dud at about 900,000 buys.

But the 23-year-old Alvarez is already a huge star in Mexico and is seen as the biggest challenger to Mayweather since he beat De La Hoya on a split decision in 2009. Oddsmakers favor Mayweather by 2½-1, narrow odds by his standards.

“Canelo is sort of a trailblazer, comparisons are being made to Oscar,” said Stephen Espinoza, the executive vice president of Showtime sports, who formerly worked for Golden Boy. “I believe he’s got the ability to cross over the way Oscar did, especially to nonboxing fans and women.”

Indeed, Alvarez could be a breakout star in boxing if he wins. But what the sport really needs is a competitive and exciting fight that even casual fans will be talking about.

“I’ve been in there with guys who punch hard and guys who try to box,” Mayweather said. “They’re all just the same. They’re opponents in front of me.”

“I have my fans, Floyd has his fans,” Alvarez said. “I always envisioned it was going to be a big fight.”

Of that, there’s little doubt. It will be a big night for boxing, another big night for Money May and almost surely the biggest night of Alvarez’s life.

Whether it’s the richest fight may not even matter.


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  • disqus_WIkXYUshrh

    Floyd M. will do lot of running if he found Alvares heating harder than he does. Or he will do his usual lousy defense tactics with his shoulder if Alvares will opt to carry the fight at close range. That’s what we have to expect in this fight.

    Floyd just can’t do either of these tactics if he fight an intelligent and super fast boxer like Manny Pacquiao who can hit him hard at close range or at a distance. This one reason why he has been avoiding a fight with Manny.

  • speedstream2

    Like many boxing aficionados, I know we could be taken again for a ride with this bout, but still I’ll watch it, keeping my fingers crossed that the motormouth could get it on the chin. It’s a long shot, sure, but I can dream, can’t I?

    • shark_ga

      It’s every Pinoy’s dream, compadre.

  • koolkid_inthehouse

    BOXING IS A FARCE.

    • shark_ga

      Sure. Because you’re not the one earning millions from it.

      • koolkid_inthehouse

        making millions out of gullible like you

      • shark_ga

        It’s not your money they’re throwing away. Why then do you care that people are “gullible” if “BOXING IS A FARCE”?

        I know why. It’s because you’re bitter you’re not getting millions off it like Mayweather and Pacquiao.

      • koolkid_inthehouse

        Mayweather is a farce boxer, a cheat, handpicked opponents to win without efforts and make lots of money.

      • kba

        First of all, boxers do handpick their opponents. Opponents hand pick their farce boxers. If they didn’t we would not have matches. Mayweather has beaten all those handpicked opponents and may I add they were the best of the best. Champions that lost their titles to Money. When he fight Pacman and beat his you know what, then all you will say that Pacman is old, guess what Money is old too. Quit hating and appreciate a true champion. iF not then quit watching oops I mean ordering Pay per view and turn to MMA. Fighting is like having sex, I rather go 12 rounds x 3 = 36 then 5 rounds x 5 = 25 anyway. That way if the fight goes the distance, I am getting more for my money and I know Money is going to win.

      • koolkid_inthehouse

        B.S. now wonder he doesn’t want to fight Pacquiao because he didn’t handpick him.

      • WhySoSerious?

        True, but that doesn’t make the whole sport of boxing a “farce”.

      • WhySoSerious?

        Have it your way. Maybe you’re confusing boxing w/ the WWE.

      • koolkid_inthehouse

        no difference. gullible one

      • WhySoSerious?

        And you’re a dumbass for not seeing the difference between the WWE and boxing.



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