The "boxing is dead" bunch got a kick in the groin on Sept. 14, when Floyd Mayweather took on Canelo Alvarez at the MGM Grand and more than 2.2 million households ponied up to watch the 12-round Mayweather master class unfold on pay-per-view.
If we're measuring the vitality of a business with a dollars and sense metric, and we usually do, the Mayweather-Canelo tussle was a Powerball home run, as it set a new mark as the highest-grossing PPV ever, generating $150 million plus.
The naysayers will counter that Mayweather is the "last star" and the sport will fall off a cliff and turn to a skeleton in a graveyard next to horse racing when he exits the scene. They'll stick to their rigid stance of negatavism, showing their ignorance of the time-honored tradition of the birthing of new megastars to replace the old ones. I semi-respectfully disagree with their reasoning, which is myopic at best. Sounds to me like the CEO of Barclays Center and the Nets, Brett Yormark, is in my camp. Yormark chatted with NYFightblog on Monday morning, and sounded beyond upbeat about the state of the sport, especially within the sphere of the five boroughs.
"I'm a big-event guy," Yormark told me. "Do I want to do the Super Bowl of boxing here? Darn right I do. And I will work tirelessly to convince promoter Golden Boy and any other partner that a Mayweather fight could be that much bigger, in the biggest city, New York. In Vegas, I made it known my interest. His nickname is "Money," well, "Money" needs to come to the money city. Mayweather transcends boxing, everywhere I went in Vegas and on the way, people were talking about the fight, and I think people who attended will look back at the event, and say, 'I was there.' "
Yormark said he will be putting together a pitch within a month for Team Mayweather and Golden Boy which will play up the success Barclays has enjoyed, like the buzz pop (including a 66% year-over-year ratings jump) the Video Music Awards received when they unfurled at Barclays on Aug. 25.
"It's about building the story," the Barclays boss said, when asked about the critics who say that the revenue derived from the gaming upsurge a Mayweather-in-Vegas bout spurs means Floyd will never fight outside Nevada. "The money will work itself out. The overall package will excite people. We have Madison Avenue, we have the talk shows, we have the media, things Vegas doesn't have. And I love Vegas. I was there for the fight, and I want to bring the next Mayweather fight here to New York, to Brooklyn, and have it be an 'I was there' event."
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