It’s not TV. It’s ‘SuperFly’
Since the start of its existence, the boxing business has long been known to be all about politics, encompassing alliances between factions of players, as well as bitter rivals who won’t even think about doing business with each other in the first place.
Boxing is at its best when the power brokers come together to make the fights the fans want to see. There may not be anyone more diplomatic currently than K2 Promotions Managing Director Tom Loeffler, who held a press conference for his upcoming “SuperFly” event at the Westin Hotel in Los Angeles on Saturday, ahead of the September 9 tripleheader live from the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
The all-super flyweight card, which will be live on HBO, is a miniature version of the United Nations in boxing form. Set to fight are a Nicaraguan (Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez), two Mexicans (Carlos Cuadras and Juan Francisco Estrada), a Japanese boxer (Naoya Inoue), a Thai (Srisaket Sor Rungvisai), a Puerto Rican (Antonio Nieves) and a Filipino-American (Brian Viloria). Oh, and the lunch was Italian. Tom really outdid himself with that one.
Aside from putting together a cosmopolitan fight card, Loeffler worked with six other promoters to cement the finished product. It was a fitting start to a warm Saturday in Los Angeles, with a Golden Boy Promotions’ card at The Forum, featuring five promoters on the bill as well as five countries represented in the three fights on the HBO broadcast.
K2 has, more or less, assumed the role of Switzerland on the promotional map, as it has been willing to work with whomever over the past five years in order to get fights for its main star IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. In the span of six months, this year, they’ll have worked with both Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions universe on the Daniel Jacobs fight, last March, and the other side of the street, Golden Boy, for the Canelo Alvarez fight in September. Even for September 9, Loeffler was able to work out a potential conflict of dates with AEG President Dan Beckerman and Ringstar Sports CEO Richard Schaefer to avoid the rematch between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares clashing with the aforementioned SuperFly show.
The end result is arguably the card of the year, featuring the oft-overlooked super flyweights and lighter weight classes, in general, front and center in the boxing world, in a place that the elite talent of these fighters merits.
Speaking to everyone gathered at the press conference, Loeffler pointed out, “I don’t think you have as much talent in one division as what we’re going to see on September 9th – so many Top 10 rated fighters, so many champions on the same show together.” It’s hard to argue with that.
Regardless of what one thinks of pound-for-pound lists, Roman Gonzalez was atop many, prior to his controversial shock, upset defeat at the hands of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in March, in what was, to date, one of the best fights of 2017. Then there’s the all-Mexican clash between Cuadras – who pushed Gonzalez to the limit last year – and Estrada, who has long been considered an elite talent at the lower weights but hasn’t fought this type of competition in the past few years. It’s also quite rare that a truly elite Japanese fighter ventures over to fight on American shores, much less “The Monster” Naoya Inoue. who has built a sterling reputation among hardcore fans, since tearing through multiple weight divisions at such a young age and so early in his pro career.
It’s easy to complain about a lot of things in boxing but when things are done right (like this), it’s great for everyone involved. The fans win and the fighters get the recognition they deserve. 2017 has been the best year for boxing in quite a while and particular moves like this steer it in the right direction.
You can follow Rian Scalia on Twitter @rian5ca.