THE BRITS ARE COMING…TO
In the past couple of weeks
both Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Ricky Hatton have
had their turns with the media, discussing their
thoughts on their December 8 showdown, fielding
questions while hyping the fight. In the process
while some truths were told, the spin was in
full throttle as well. A great deal of that
is expected. After all, they’re selling
a fight. Some of the drivel managed to arouse
the interest of a certain cynic who penned this
Mayweather Promotions, who
in their first event are co-promoting the fight
with Golden Boy Promotions, are headed by Leonard
Ellerbe, who went from Mayweather BFF and advisor
to CEO, Mayweather Promotions. During last week’s
media telephone press conference, Ellerbe commented
that, “Ricky Hatton fans, truth be told,
are coming to see Floyd.” He went on further
to say, “The reason why this fight is
such a hot fight is because Floyd is the face
of boxing and Floyd is the draw in this fight.
End of discussion.”
Wow, this type of commentary
must be rather insulting to the people of Great
Britain who are among the most rabid and loyal
fans on the planet, particularly when it comes
to Ricky Hatton. When Hatton was interviewed
a couple of weeks ago he commented that there
was a waiting list of 33,000 to come over to
see the fight.
But for reasons that we have
examined in detail in previous articles, the
promoters have opted to go with the 16,000 seat
MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas instead
of a larger venue that would have been more
accommodating to fans in general and the British
in particular. Just suffice it to say that the
casinos represent a lot of money and it’s
definitely to their advantage to hold a mega-event
like this, or even the closed circuit telecast,
inside of one of their buildings.
You really need not be a
rocket scientist to figure out why.
So the Brits, who could have
filled the Garden Arena twice over by themselves,
are stuck with a measly allotment of 4,000 seats.
Hatton said that 15,000 to 20,000 people have
booked flights and hotels, so expect a huge
British presence at the closed circuit locations,
conveniently located at all of the MGM-Mirage
As difficult as it is to
believe that there are fans anywhere in the
world that would be willing to travel 5,500
miles to root on their favorite fighter, particularly
on closed circuit TV, you’d have to be
on some wild peyote to think that these boxing
fans are coming to see Floyd, as Ellerbe asserts.
What’s amazing about
this fight being the fastest sell out in history
is that, outside of the UK, no one seems to
give Hatton a chance. No matter how boring he
may be, Floyd is one skilled pugilist. Hatton’s
style of clutch and grab is totally wrong for
Floyd. He’ll never catch him, which could
be a sorry note on many levels.
Recent odds show Mayweather
at -280, Hatton at +220. When the British arrive
the gap may narrow but these current odds tell
you what the professional bettors think, and
those guys don’t throw their money away.
Both men are claiming to
be the draw in the fight. Normally, it would
be Hatton with his gypsy band of supporters,
but with the reduced number of available seats,
they’ll be taking it to the streets, or
at best, a very large TV screen.
These British closed circuiters
may blow out some ballrooms with noise, but
they won’t be heard in the arena.
Mayweather will have his
fair share of fans, those who appreciate his
accomplishments and perhaps Leonard Ellerbe
is correct in saying that Floyd might have picked
up some crossover appeal with the mainstream
press with his exposure on Dancing with the
Stars. That is if he didn’t blow it by
slamming the show in the press after he was
voted off, saying that he didn’t like
any of the judges and that they pre judged him
from his 24/7 portrayal.
just does not make exciting fights, but in all
honesty Hatton really doesn’t either in
Aside from that, I think it comes down to who
you know to get tickets as far as being the
I’m of the belief that
the demand for tickets was manufactured by the
promotional companies and the casinos, using
a combination of brilliant business oversight
and the experience gained from Mayweather-De
La Hoya. They have created their own supply
and demand. While I sincerely doubt that they
will reach more than half of the 2.4 million
PPV buys of Floyd-Oscar, they have the box office/closed
circuit program down to a T.
Everyone in boxing knows
about the cozy relationship with Golden Boy
and MGM. No problem there. But De La Hoya, who
right now wears his promoter’s hat as
well as anyone in the game observed that, “I
believe that when you’re a fighter, you
want to fight on that big stage. You want to
fight in that big Las Vegas arena like the MGM.
I believe that this is Ricky Hatton’s
perfect opportunity to be on that stage and
shine. There’s no fighter that would want
to miss that opportunity. When you fight on
that stage you know you’ve made it. So,
you know, to fairness to the fighters, obviously
we wanted to make it there at the MGM.”
If you believe, even for
a moment, that the fight is being held at the
MGM in fairness to Ricky rather than to make
more money, kindly send me your social security
number, checking account number, Visa and Mastercard
numbers with expiration dates, and I’ll
try to get you a ticket. First row, too.
I guess it’s just business
and I fully understand so take it easy with
the angry emails. But I would have hoped that
given the army of supporters in Hatton’s
home country, making huge sacrifices so that
they can travel to Vegas and watch him on closed
circuit TV, that he might have been a tad more
outspoken about the ridiculous ticket rationing.
Even if it was out of his
control, just to state his displeasure to the
collected media would have really made a statement.
He’s Ricky Hatton. He could fight at the
mall and draw 4,000 people.
Instead we get, “There’s
nothing we can unfortunately do about it,”
“Obviously there are other people who
make the decisions,” and my favorite,
“As we say in England, there’s no
use crying over spilled milk.”
Still, as we stated in a
previous column, he and his people should be
commended for handling the ticket disbursement
of the 4,000 tickets, keeping them out of the
hands of the greedy.
In other Mayweather news,
it was reported by the AP last week that Floyd
was MIA from a Las Vegas campaign event for
Illinois Senator Barack Obama after the campaign
had concerns about his rap sheet. He had been
billed as the co-host of African Americans for
Obama in Nevada.
In 2004, Floyd was convicted
of misdemeanor battery for punching two women
at a Las Vegas nightclub in 2003. He was given
suspended prison sentences, $1,000 in fines,
and ordered to complete impulse control counseling.
In 2005, he was acquitted
of a felony domestic violence charge after his
accuser, former girlfriend Josie Harris, changed
her story. He was also convicted of misdemeanor
battery for a bar fight in Grand Rapids.
Maybe Obama thought
that after all that activity in the criminal
justice system, Floyd would be better suited
for the other party.