NEW YORK -- I like to think I have a solid B.S. detector and can tell pretty well when someone is turning on the charm for effect and deserves an Oscar. As I watched Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark work the room at Gleason's Gym in Dumbo on Monday -- and greet many of the boxers who will glove up at Barclays on a Golden Boy card Thursday night -- I didn't sense any fluff.
The guy lit up with a grin as he grabbed the hand of locals like Marcus Browne, the Olympian from Staten Island who looks to go to 9-0 on Thursday.
"Yep, that guy has a gift for that," I found myself thinking as I checked out Yormark doing grin-and-greets, including headliners Victor Ortiz of California and Luis Collazo of Brooklyn, who top the card in a welterweight tangle. Could that gift, I wondered, extend to landing a Super Bowl of boxing, of sorts: a Floyd Mayweather bout in Brooklyn?
I posed that question to the Barclays day-to-day boss. Is Floyd coming to Brooklyn for his next bout in May, or the one after that, in September? Or beyond?
"We made our desire, to have Mayweather fight at Barclays, pretty public," he told me. "We've made a very strong pitch to Richard Schaefer and the folks at Golden Boy about our increasing interest in making sure we can showcase the Super Bowl of boxing. We're in the big-event business, and we want it. We've gotten buy-in from ownership to make it happen. They understand the commitment that needs to be made. Given what we're trying to build here, given the size and magnitude of our market, given Madison Avenue, given some of the storylines we can create, we think that the Barclays Center would be very appealing to Floyd Mayweather and to Golden Boy. I feel pretty good about it, that at some point in time we'll host a megafight like that. It's really in their camp to make that decision, and, hopefully, they make the right one."
Nattering nabobs of negativism on Twitter like to point out that Vegas and the MGM is Floyd's place and playground and that Vegas has an edge with all those empty hotel rooms they can fill up at a cut rate. What does Yormark think of that critique?
"We've countered any and all objections to make Barclays a feasible venue for Floyd," he said. "I think everyone is comfortable with the plan. Now they just have to decide what's in the best interest for Floyd Mayweather and, hopefully, they see the value in what we can do."
Interestingly, for all the mega-gigs Barclays has hosted, the Jay Z shows, the Video Music Awards and the like, Yormark referred to a Mayweather appearance as being "on a whole 'nother level."
Pretty strong language and a strong pat on the back for that "diminishing niche sport," I think.