Monday, April 19, 2010
Mayweather vs Mosley
Anaheim Boxing Examiner | Brent Alderson
At the Mayweather-Mosley Press Conference in March in New York City, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer predicted that the fight would break the all time pay per view record set by De La Hoya-Mayweather and hit 3 million pay per view buys. Now hyperbole from a bout’s promoter is nothing new in the sport of boxing and Schaefer has been pretty successful in forecasting the success of other promotions by making predictions that at the time seemed off-base and in each instant he was proved correct.
First he predicted that De La Hoya-Mayweather would not only break the all time pay per view record of 1.4 million buys for fighters below the heavyweight division which was set by De La Hoya-Trinidad in September of 1999, but that it would break the all time record of 1.99 million pay per view buys which was set by Tyson-Holyfield II in June of 1997 and it did with a whopping 2.4 million buys. Then this past summer, Schaefer also predicted that Mayweather-Marquez would hit the one million mark and initially Insiders scoffed at the prediction, but once again Schaefer was proven correct when the bout hit the one million mark.
His prediction of three million buys for the Mayweather-Mosley match may be his boldest prediction yet and in all likelyhood Schaefer will be probably be wrong this time out. First off, Schaefer’s predictions are based on his overestimation of Mayweather’s marketability. Yes, Mayweather-Marquez did one million buys in lieu of the fact that it wasn’t viewed as a competitive match up, but curiousity was definitely one of the factors that lead to the bout’s success. Mayweather hadn’t fought in almost two years and it was his first fight back and boxing fans and general sports fans were curious to see if Mayweather still had it.
After Mike Tyson was released from prison in 1995, his bout with club fighter Peter McNeeley did an astonishing 1.5 million buys because fans wanted see Tyson after the long lay-off and the fight was one of Tyson’s most successful pay per view outings. Only his matches with Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield eclipsed that number and those were legendary match ups on paper between future hall of famers. Thus Schaefer’s logic is flawed because it's based on the success of Mayweather’s fight with Marquez and that fight is an unrealistic barometer of Mayweather’s marketability because it was a comeback fight.
Another thing going against the bout hitting three million pay per view buys is that Shane Mosley is not and has never been a cross-over star. Except for instances when he was matched against marquee opponents such as De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas, he has never head lined a pay per view show. HBO and his management have been acutely aware of this fact and that’s why he has fought a number of high profile bouts on HBO. In order for pay per view to be profitable, fights have to generate enough pay per views to where it would be more profitable for a fighter to fight on pay per view than for one of those seven figure HBO paychecks. Because of Mosley’s lack of mainstream appeal its been calculated many times through out his career that its more profitable for him to fight on HBO and he has had to fight a number big fights on regular HBO. His fights with Vernon Forrest, Winky Wright, and Antonio Margarito were all ntrigueing competitive matches involving some of the best fighters in the world. In fact at the time of his first bout with Forrest, Mosley was 38-0 and was regarded as either the best or second best pound for pound fighter in the world and he was facing Vernon Forrest, a man who had beaten him in the Olympic trials and had a 33-0 record going into the bout, and was viewed as the second best welterweight in the world right after Mosley and the bout still didn’t make it to pay per view. Again last January, Margarito was considered one of the most feared boxers in the world (not by this writer) and was popular through out the United State’s large Mexican community and because of Mosley’s lack of mainstream appeal which is necessary for fights to do well on pay per view, the fight was shown on HBO.
The last thing going against the bout setting the record is that even though insiders are salivating over the match, a large number of them, including the ones that have been critical of Mayweather, are picking Floyd to win the bout. In fact in a recent Ring Magazine poll, seventeen of twenty experts picked Mayweather to win the bout. Plus odds-makers have installed Mayweather as a 3 to 1 favorite and a perception of competiveness is an important ingredient of any super-fight. When Leonard and Hearns fought for the first time in 1981 and when Ali and Frazier first hooked up in 1971, spectators were divided on who they thought was going to win those fights. In this fight, insiders and fans are overwhelmingly picking Mayweather to win. Even though odds and picks don’t have an affect on the outcome of the bout, this perception that Mayweather is an overwhelming favorite kind of hurts the bout's appeal. Just recently on FightFanNation radio, Nigel Collins, the editor and chief of Ring Magazine echoed a similar sentiment and commented that even though he thinks it’s still a great match-up, that it’s not as enticing as it would have been years earlier since Mosley is 38 years old and has lost a number of fights after reeling off 38 consecutive victories at the beginning of his career.
Don’t get me wrong, Mayweather-Mosley is going to be a very successful promotion and will probably garner between 1.5 and 2 million buys, but the only fight in boxing right now that has a chance to hit the three million marker is a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather since they both have mainstream appeal and fans and insiders will divided on who would win the fight which undoubtedly would be the most lucrative fight in boxing history and quite possibly a true global event.