After Floyd Mayweather Jr. easily dispatched Shane Mosley, all eyes turned towards the potentially the biggest boxing match of the new millennium. That match would be Mayweather against Pilipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.
This fight almost took place before both sides could not reach an agreement over blood testing. Pacquiao has softened his stance on blood testing but will Mayweather meet him halfway on the subject.
If both sides can reach an agreement, there are several things about this fight I would love to see happen.
The sport of boxing, no matter what the rest of the world thinks, is dying in the United States.
This fight, if handled correctly, could start a boxing boom in this country once more. For boxing to do so, the sport might have to step into its past to save its future.
I know this is a major pipe dream but here is my hope for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.
Older boxing fans, more so those even older than me can remember a time when big fights were on TV. It is true at that time there was no Pay Per View or cable TV, but it seems PPV has done more to hurt the sport than to help it.
In the early 1980s more and more of the big fights began to move to PPV and pay channels like HBO and Showtime, so there were fewer boxing matches on broadcast or cable TV. National attention for the sport of boxing began to fade.
Turn on your television today and see if you can find a boxing match on a broadcast channel or cable. Sure there is “Friday Night Fights” on ESPN from time to time, if there is no other sporting events the sports network is broadcasting.
Most of the time the boxing matches on “Friday Night Fights” features up and coming boxers that casual fans have not heard of. If not a matchup between two boxers most have not heard about, ESPN will show replays of older fights, mostly of Mike Tyson.
Now on your television go look for MMA and you can find it nearly everywhere. Even on PPV, promotions like UFC have done a good job of having a big monthly event.
Part one of my plan is to move the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight to a network or cable TV outlet. My thinking is that the number of PPV buyers could be offset by money from sponsors and television rights.
What network and how many sponsors would not want to be a part of this fight. Any of the four major networks could show this fight in primetime and draw major viewership.
Sponsors from Budweiser to Gatorade would love to be a part of this fight. Think of the rounds being sponsored by a product and commercials between rounds featuring these products. Plus, the fighters could help promote products before the fight and in pre-taped commercials.
Part two of my plan would have this card be a part of a great undercard. One thought is that Showtime could allow part the Group Three stage of the “Super Six Tournament” to be a part of this fight.
Then Showtime could possibly turn this into more viewers for the semifinals and finals of this event. It would be great if all three Group Three fights were fought on the same night but part of the group would be great.
If Showtime balks, an undercard featuring some well known boxers with hopefully titles on the line. This would make a must see event from beginning to the end and not just have viewers tune in for the main event.
So for a quick recap, first move the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight to network or cable TV. Next setup an unbelievable undercard to make this a must see event from start to finish.
Now for the venue where this fight will be held, let us go farther old school and have this fight at Madison Square Garden. Until Don King and Bob Arum (who happens to be Pacquiao’s promoter) moved all the big fights to Las Vegas, MSG hosted several of the biggest boxing matches ever.
Having the fight on a non-PPV channel and then having the fight in MSG would have most sports fans frothing at the mouth to see this event. The history and mystic of this building would bring out the best in both these fighters.
Thing about it fight fans a major fight in New York City with all the pomp and pageantry that would come with fighting in historic MSG. The feeling in the air would be electric for this fight and would have a certain something you just cannot get in Vegas.
What better place to have the biggest fight of this century so far then the same place the Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier had two of their three fights.
This is the same venue where Rocky Marciano defeated Joe Louis.
To recap once again, have the fight on network or cable television with an unbelievable undercard at Madison Square Garden. I can hardly contain my excitement just thinking about how I would play my life around this event.
Now the final part could be the most important if all the other parts of this plan fall in line. Exactly what date to have this mega fight to maximize the number of sports fans to watch this fight?
My first thought is his fight would be perfect on December 11, 2010. Think about it.
There is only one college football game, the Army/Navy game, the last college football game of the year. The Army/Navy game does not have the luster it once did and it is normally played during the day.
The NASCAR season is over, the NHL and NBA can schedule around this event and leave the Garden open. The NFL has a game on Dec. 9 and does not have any other games until Dec. 12, which is the following day.
Mayweather and Pacquiao could dominate on a day where the NBA and NHL season is still very young and has yet to heat up. College football is reaching the bowl season and is at stand still.
Also the NFL season has three more weeks to go so this fight will not be swallowed up completely by playoff talk. A major sports window if there ever was one.
Now all that needs to happen is Mayweather to quit ducking Pacquiao or Pacquiao to quit ducking Mayweather. Both fighters need to sit down, figure out the blood testing issue and, make this fight happen.
This fight needs to happen for boxing. This fight must happen for boxing.
Then both fighters just have to sit back and grab all the network/cable television money. Plus adding the money that sponsors could provide might make this the richest payday for these two boxers.
Having the event at Madison Square Garden adds a certain flare that Las Vegas cannot provide. December 11 is a perfect date for a major fight with all the other major sports not being in the way.
My plan is a win for the fighters. My plan is a win for MSG and whichever network/cable channel that gets this fight.
Most of all, my plan is a win for the fans of boxing and it would bring in a lot more new fans then a Pay Per View fight could ever do.