When Top Rank and Golden Boy (and their "strategic partners," HBO and Showtime, respectively) decided to go head-to-head with their big Mexican Independence Day weekend cards a mile apart in Las Vegas on Saturday night, few fans or media were happy about it.
But now the official gate numbers have been released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and neither show appeared to suffer. In fact, they both seemed to thrive.
Top Rank’s HBO PPV card at the Thomas & Mack Center, headlined by the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. middleweight championship fight -- which produced one of the most dramatic endings in boxing history -- produced a gate of $3,052,475 from a sellout crowd of 16,939. There were 751 complimentary tickets given away.
For the record, here's the reason for the discrepancy between the 16,939 official tickets sold and the arena-record sellout figure of 19,186 announced early during fight week by Top Rank and the Thomas & Mack Center: The 19,186 figure includes even those credentialed to be in the building without a ticket -- media members, television production folks, commission officials, hot dog vendors, etc. -- according to Top Rank's Todd duBoef and the commission.
Down the street at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where Saul "Canelo" Alvarez retained his junior middleweight belt against Josesito Lopez in the main event of the Showtime card, the figures were also strong despite doubts that the sellout was legitimate. Why the doubts? Because even hours after Golden Boy announced it, blocks of seats in most price levels could still be purchased on Ticketmaster's website.
Funny business or not, the crowd looked good on television and the official figures were also strong. The commission reported that the MGM Grand card generated a gate of $1,618,150 from 12,860 tickets sold (a sellout), with 1,659 freebies.
That means that on the same night in two arenas that are walking distance from each other, there were about 30,000 people watching two big-time boxing cards.
Dying sport, right?
The downside to this success, of course, is that it probably emboldens Top Rank and Golden Boy, locked in a petty war for years, to go head-to-head again.
Will anyone be surprised to see a similar situation arise on May 4, 2013, Cinco de Mayo weekend?