Meanwhile on the Island…
While much of the focus will be on the card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY this Saturday evening, what might be the most action-packed fight of the weekend takes place at the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico where Orlando Salido defends his WBO junior lightweight belt against local Rocky Martinez.
And this bout will be available via pay-per-view in the States, which isn’t exactly ideal given there is a prime time card on NBC at about the same time.
Surely, there had to be a more favorable date.
“No, not really,” explained Peter Rivera, the head of PR Best Boxing, last week, “because, in the beginning, we didn’t have any other possible dates in April. We know that the [Floyd] Mayweather-[Manny] Pacquiao fight will happen in May – and May was another possible month for us to to this great fight – but at the end, we chose to do it on April 11th and after we made the announcement, we heard that other fighters were fighting on the same date. But people can see what they want to see, so at the end, it’s a fight choice. If they want to see a real good fight between two warriors with Salido and Martinez, maybe for the Latino market, it’s a bigger fight.
“So at the end, we needed to do it and we are very happy with how everything is going so far with the ticket sales and how fans are taking to this fight.”
Salido – who’s quite well-known to the natives after defeating Juan Manuel Lopez twice in Puerto Rico – and Martinez figure to add to the rich history of perhaps the most heated rivalry in boxing: Mexicans versus Puerto Ricans. Other than that, Salido and Martinez are no strangers to being involved in great fights. These guys aren’t afraid to stick their nose in there and get to work.
In the past, this would’ve been a no-brainer for a platform such as “Boxing After Dark” on HBO. But organizers of this event couldn’t interest HBO or Showtime to televise this match-up. Rivera admits, “It really surprised me at the beginning because I believe it’s a great fight for possibly Showtime or HBO as a co-main event but y’know, they decide what they want on the network.”
Not helping matters is that junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, will be showcased on NBC versus IBF titlist Lamont Peterson. But Rivera doesn’t believe it will affect their live gate all that much.
”Not really,” he stated, matter-of-factly. “In Puerto Rico, people know that they have the opportunity to see Danny Garcia fight on TV. They can see it later if they want because, as you know, they put this fight on the same date but people here are more focused on what’s going on in Puerto Rico.”
Martinez, unlike Garcia – who hails from Philadelphia – is a Puerto Rican who lives on the island and actually can speak more than 10 words of Spanish.
“It’s a great opportunity for one of our fighters to become a world champion and people know who Salido is because he fought here many times. So for Puerto Rican fans here on the island, it’s a great opportunity to watch live boxing,” says Rivera.
In this part of the world, boxing is still a big deal. Fights of this nature are treated like big events with local newspapers doing daily countdowns to April 11th and two or three pages devoted to this promotion every day. The expectation is that this event will draw somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 partisans.
“We are sure that we are going to be very close to that. Puerto Rico is a culture that, basically, at the end is when you can see a lot of movement. Right now, we are going very fast with ticket sales, so that gives us an idea that we’re going to be pretty close to that and you never know; we could go over that too,” said a hopeful Rivera.
“The War,” as this clash is dubbed, will be on pay-per-view and the expectations are realistic. Basically pay-per-views of this nature is what Larry Merchant described as, “putting in a few more bleacher seats,” an avenue for diehards to see this event live that otherwise might not have been possible.
Rivera admits, “We really don’t know how successful the pay-per-view can be. For us, it’s like a first experience doing this. We are just more focused on what is going on in the island and because we produce the event, then we decided to show it to the States and Canada and in other markets and try to get some experience and see how people react about the event.
The pay-per-view is priced at $39.95 and starts at 9 p.m. ET.
“So whatever happens for us will be very good,” continued Rivera. “At least we are giving these fighters are lot of promotion because all the cable systems are running on their channels, videos about the event and that has given the fight a lot of promotion, which is very good.
“So let’s see what happens.”
Meanwhile in Brooklyn, word is ticket sales for that card at the Barclays Center are sluggish at best and with that, the venue is offering discounted tickets in all price ranges (never a good sign). The local Applebees was even on Twitter giving away tickets. No word if Hooters or TGI Fridays was dispensing any tickets but Sugar Ray Leonard was also offering tickets on his Twitter and Facebook accounts over the weekend.
Then you have the show taking place on April 18 at the StubHub Center featuring the return of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. against Andrzej Fonfara. Now this venue in Carson, Calif. has become the Mecca of West Coast boxing in recent years but, for this particular promotion, they have resorted to cold-calling past ticket buyers and making their sales pitch. They are also offering various group discounts:
There was a time when Chavez was one of the sport’s bigger attractions but this isn’t 2012 anymore. It seems even the Mexican constituency has grown weary of his antics. You get the sense that if the bout between Ruslan Provodnikov and Lucas Matthysse would’ve landed here, there would be no need for the extra effort in moving tickets.
Regardless, it looks like 1iota will be kept busy for the time being.
PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES
Starting this week ,I’ll be going to Puerto Rico (for the aforementioned card), then to Hinckley, Minnesota – where I’ll be part of the announcing crew for CBS Sports Network – the following week, to Verona, New York for Provodnikov-Matthysse (after thinking about it, I just couldn’t miss this one) and then, on the weekend of May 9, I’ll be in Houston for Saul Alvarez-James Kirkland. Then a home game at the Forum for Gennady Golovkin-Willie Monroe Jr. the following weekend.
Yeah, as for May 2 and that fight taking place in Las Vegas, well…I’m a realist. If I’m going to be relegated to seeing this fight on a television screen, it’s going to be with my friends back home, with all the alcohol and food at my disposal. And I can also proudly wear my TMT shirt and TBE hat during the fight.
Speaking of which…
Heading into this past weekend, if you asked anyone to post a pic or show you proof of having a ticket to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight they couldn’t do it. Because the bottom line is nobody actually has them. Literally, nobody.
The fighters, the hotel, the promoters, the networks.
Also, tickets – all dozens of them which should be available to the public – still aren’t on sale yet. Last I checked, the fight is less than a month away (now, the pay-per-view price was reported to be $89.95 – plus 10 more dollars for the HD version – but has it been decided how much the promoters are going to gouge the cable and satellite operators for their share of the pay-per-view cut?).
I’m hearing that a lot of loose ends are still yet to be tied up in regarding this promotion. There was such an emphasis on having this fight take place on Cinco de Mayo weekend that this was inevitable. It’s the classic case of putting the cart before the horse.
But I’m just wondering: Would this fight have suffered in any way if it were scheduled for mid-June?
Going to a fight in Puerto Rico should be on every boxing fan’s bucket list. I went there for Salido-Lopez II and had a great time…So did Amir Khan basically misquote himself by stating he was facing Chris Algieri next? I’m very confused…I like the Big Knockout Boxing; it’s a very entertaining format and provides an outlet for certain fighters who have limited options at the time…I’m told that WBC supervisor Bob Yalen was told to take the WBC belt off the ring apron during the Adonis Stevenson-Sakio Bika bout…Speaking of which, word is CBS did a overnight rating of 1.14/3 share for that fight on Saturday afternoon and averaged 1.37 million viewers…Again, the Kentucky Wildcats have a bucket full of future lottery picks but much of that talent is still raw and undeveloped. That was shown in their loss to the Wisconsin Badgers…Is it baseball season already?…One of the (new) great baseball traditions is most of Los Angeles having no way of seeing Dodger games on a consistent basis…OK, the Padres will be pretty good this season, right?…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.