Saturday, Sept. 14 may forever go down as the day boxing truly re-entered the national lexicon.
Already the date for Floyd Mayweather's highly anticipated bout with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, Golden Boy Chief Executive Richard Schaefer confirmed in a conference call that the primary undercard will feature Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse—two of the most promising young names in boxing.
Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole broke the news:
Schaefer confirms Garcia-Matthysse on Sept. 14 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas Says 12k closed circuit seats sold, trying to add 20k more #TheOne— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) July 18, 2013
Golden Boy had been trying to book the fight for Sept. 7, one week before Mayweather and Alvarez are set to do battle in their 152-pound catchweight bout. The undefeated Mayweather will be defending his WBA super-middleweight championship, while Alvarez will put up his WBC light-middleweight belt. The WBC has also offered to create a 24-carat belt for the victor of that fight, according to the Daily Mail's Martin Domin.
Golden Boy added this as well:
“This is a great time 2 be involved in the sport of boxing. These kind of events take boxing to a totally different level” Schaefer #TheOne— GoldenBoyPromotions (@GoldenBoyBoxing) July 18, 2013
Mayweather-Alvarez is largely seen as the most-anticipated bout of the second half of 2013.
While Garcia-Matthysse won't quite carry the same mainstream cache, it's not all that far behind among boxing diehards.
The 25-year-old Garcia comes in boasting a 25-0 record with 16 knockouts and currently holds three light-welterweight belts—WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine—and is one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world. He defeated Zab Judah in April via unanimous decision to retain his titles.
The Philadelphia native will look to take his next belt from Matthysse, who is the current interim WBC light-welterweight champion. Matthysse (34-2-1, 32 KOs) defeated Lamont Peterson via third-round TKO in a non-welterweight bout earlier this year. He is one of the hardest-punching pound-for-pound boxers in the sport and has not faced the judges' scorecards since 2011.
Schaefer noted in his conference call that the impetus behind putting Garcia-Matthysse on the same card was to give those two young fighters a showcase for more casual fans.
Schaefer: As the leading promoters we want to take on the responsibility to show new fans, non-boxing fans, great fights.— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) July 18, 2013
What does this mean? Essentially that Showtime, the carrier of this event, could see one of the largest pay-per-view buy numbers in history. Mayweather's first bout during his lucrative contract with the premium cable channel sold over one million buys but was said to be a disappointment at the box office. Mayweather had previously worked with HBO throughout his career.
The all-time record for pay-per-view purchases is 2.48 million, set by Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. It's doubtful that Showtime will be able match that number, given that Mayweather and De La Hoya were boxing's two biggest draws at the time.
Either way, with one of the best undercards in recent memory, it looks like Showtime will finally be getting the splash it was looking for when signing the Mayweather mega-deal.
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