(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Boy, that escalated quickly.
In the span of two days we've gone from the December 8 UFC on Fox show having the evening entirely to themselves to competing with a Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view to now possibly having to go up against a Canelo Alvarez card as well.
Earlier this week, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer advised BoxingScene.com that his company reserved the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, on December 8th, to stage a potential pay-per-view event.
With Cotto returning on December 1, Top Rank has shifted their focus to December 8th for Pacquiao's next fight - either against Juan Manuel Marquez or Timothy Bradley.
Golden Boy's headliner for December 8th has not been determined. Schaefer told BoxingScene the headline fight would depend on the outcome of Canelo's defense with Lopez.
To make things more interesting, there are unconfirmed rumors circulating in the Las Vegas gyms that Floyd Mayweather Jr. - should he fight again this year - could potentially return on the date of December 8th. According to the current chatter in Las Vegas, Mayweather has not severed his working relationship with Golden Boy, who co-promoted the boxer's last six fights.
When I spoke to Schaefer on Friday, he wasn't concerned with the details of Pacquiao's next fight - but at the same time he was very firm with his position that Golden Boy had locked in December 8th long before Pacquiao's planned return was rescheduled
Of course, there are several layers to what is happening here.
There is a battle raging between Top Rank and Golden Boy with the two promotions already engaged in a nasty round of counter-programming on September 15 when Top Rank's Sergio Martinez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. HBO PPV will be countered by a big Showtime card headlined by Canelo Alvarez against Josesito Lopez.
I have my doubts that this Showtime card could be a PPV as the providers don't really play games where two major PPVs get put on the same night. That was a concern for the September 15 situation when it appeared that Canelo would be facing Victor Ortiz, prior to Ortiz getting his jaw broken in his bout with Lopez. That took enough "prestige" off the bout to put it on Showtime as the counter to the HBO PPV.
So I don't see DirecTV and Comcast..etc allowing a second PPV on the air that night. So no PPV means no Mayweather, which was probably the case anyway since Floyd isn't going to give up part of the boxing audience to Pacquiao and lose money, nor is he going to leave HBO for Showtime.
Which leaves Canelo in the early rumor portion of the story. And I'll let Scott Christ of Bad Left Hook handle that one:
So let's say the idea is Canelo Alvarez. In fact, let's say the idea is to run Canelo on Showtime, not on pay-per-view, head-to-head with a Manny Pacquiao show.
If boxing is a business, which everyone loves to use as a catch-all excuse for annoying/dumbass things happening, then that would be about as odd a business decision as we'll see a promoter make any time soon. Not only has Golden Boy taken their most marketable fighter to Showtime in the first place, where hundreds of thousands of less people will be seeing him fight, but they've put him head-to-head not just on U.S. TV, but in Las Vegas on September 15. And they're going to lose that battle. It won't really be close.
If they did it against Manny Pacquiao, it would be even worse. They'd basically be saying, "We don't care if anyone in the United States watches Canelo Alvarez fight."
But, that being said, these men haven't been making great business decisions to begin with. And I could see this as some sort of "we're the guys giving you great fights for free while they make you pay" nonsense. And I can absolutely see them making the decision to go ahead with this to try to continue this dumbass war that they're engaged in.
Because, hey, if you can take away even just 50,000 people who would have bought the show, you just cost them over $3 million in sales.
So, buckle up UFC fans. December 8 is getting a little bit crazy.