A win-win situation for Southern California boxing fans
It was formally announced on Thursday morning that the highly anticipated fight card featuring a trio of super flyweight bouts – headlined by the rematch between WBC champion Srisaket Sor Rungivsai and Roman Gonzalez – had landed at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
This card, which also features the all-Mexican battle between Carlos Cuadras and Juan Francisco Estrada and the American debut of WBO 115-pound titlist Naoya Inoue (who faces Antonio Nieves) really belonged at “The War Grounds” – as Tim Bradley (who is no stranger to this tennis stadium) dubbed this venue.
The only problem was, on that same evening, Richard Schaefer and Ringstar Sports had planned on doing their own card from the Staples Center, which also happens to be another property owned and operated by AEG. Ringstar Sports and Showtime have designs on staging the rematch between WBA featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares, whose first match-up drew a sizable crowd at Staples Center in the summer of 2015.
But push never came to shove as the President of AEG Dan Beckerman intervened, playing the role of Henry Kissinger, and came up with a solution to suit both parties. K2 Promotions gets to put “Superfly” on September 9 at its preferred building and Santa Cruz-Mares II moves to October 7.
Tom Loeffler says this was all made possible by the intervention of Beckerman, a known advocate for boxing. “It was very key because, now, AEG’s getting both shows. Our first choice was StubHub but if we weren’t able to go because of the Staples Center show, then we would’ve gone to a different venue. We had a lot of interest for our show but I think this Superfly card really belonged at the StubHub Center for the boxing fans,” said the Managing Director of K2 Promotions.
HBO preferred this broadcast to emanate from the Los Angeles area and put this show on this particular date, as a prelude to its pay-per-view card the following week, that features the middleweight title tilt between unified champion Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez in Las Vegas.
To this, Loeffler noted, “This is a show for the true boxing fans that can’t get tickets to the (Floyd) Mayweather (Jr.)-(Conor) McGregor fight or the ‘Canelo’-‘Triple G’ fight. This is the show for them. You’re going to have world-class fighters at an affordable price.”
The official sale of tickets begins today at high noon, Pacific time, and the tickets are priced at $30, $60, $150 and $250 for ringside. Loeffler tells UCNLive that there “are over a thousand tickets at $30.”
If a resolution wasn’t struck, Superfly would’ve eventually landed somewhere. This situation was somewhat reminiscent of when there was a battle for the StubHub Center back in 2015 when the match between Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov took place in Verona, New York, while Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. faced Andrzej Fonfara at the StubHub Center that same evening.
“San Diego was definitely a consideration. San Antonio made an offer for the fight. MGM (Grand) in Las Vegas was very interested in bringing the fight up there,” explained Loeffler, who even looked into the Grand Olympic Auditorium (which is now a Korean church). “But again, all things considered, I really think these shows could have co-existed in the L.A. market at both StubHub and Staples. The only conflict would’ve been television. It would’ve been a conflict for both shows.
“Naturally that’s better that there aren’t two shows but the popularity of Santa Cruz-Mares would’ve done well at the Staples Center and we would’ve still sold out StubHub with the strength of both these shows.”
It would’ve been interesting to see how both cards would have done at the box office, going head-to-head, especially given that there is a full slate of college football on that day.
Could Los Angeles have supported both promotions properly? Now, local fans can go to both if they choose to.
Earlier in the week, as this issue was being resolved, Schaefer stated, “I do not believe in counter-programming and if there are ways to avoid that, I am all for it. Unfortunately, sometimes that’s not possible but we are doing a sport a disservice, not only to the fans and whoever covers it, the fighters – they get less exposure and ultimately the networks, as well. They are going to split the audience and the ratings. It’s going to impact both networks. I just don’t think it’s very conducive when you’re trying to make a case at either HBO or Showtime that boxing is important and that it delivers ratings.
“So I think, sometimes, we have to take a step back and see if there are opportunities to do it on a different date and so on. One thing which is clear: Santa Cruz and Mares – we talked about where fights belong – that is an L.A. and Southern California fight. There’s no question about it. You don’t take that somewhere else. You don’t.”
And, now, neither side has to.
All’s well that ends well, especially for boxing fans in the Southland.
It looks like all the middleweight belts will be on the line on September 16 as WBO beltholder Billy Joe Saunders will face American southpaw Willie Monroe Jr. at the Copper Box Arena in London.
“We’re excited to get Willie in another world title fight. We think it’s a great fight as Billy Joe Saunders hasn’t been tested by anyone like Willie,” said Matt Rowland of Banner Promotions, which represents Monroe, who was stopped in six rounds by Golovkin in May of 2015 at the Forum in Los Angeles. “We want to thank Willie and his team for being patient, as we have been working to get this fight.”
Rowland also mentioned, “We’re going to start working on American television.”
Callum Smith, Rob Brant and Avni Yildirim have joined the “World Boxing Super Series” super middleweight tourney…Mike Perez is the eighth and final cruiserweight to join that tournament…The card tonight on Telemundo (11:35 p.m. ET/PT) which has a main event of Sammy Valentin-Giovanni Santillan for the WBO NABO welterweight title, will also feature lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez…This NBA money is ridiculous, isn’t it?…OK, looks like shorts and sandals weather is officially here in Los Angeles…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.