SBD/June 16, 2017/Events and Attractions

Mayweather-McGregor Could Have Negative Impact On Three Upcoming HBO Fights

Ward (l) and Kovalev's match may struggle at the box office Saturday night
The news Floyd Mayweather Jr. will fight Conor McGregor on Aug. 26 was "devastating to three separate HBO fights" -- the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev rematch, the Miguel Cotto-Yoshihiro Kamegai fight and the highly anticipated Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin bout, according to Kevin Iole of YAHOO SPORTS. Ward-Kovalev is an "outstanding match that looks like it will struggle badly at the box office" on Saturday night. Promoters at Thursday’s news conference were "pleading with the gathered media for coverage to what should be a sensational bout." That comes as the Ward-Kovalev fight was "largely ignored" in the immediate aftermath of Mayweather-McGregor being announced. While Ward-Kovalev will get "some coverage this week, the volume and the significance of it will be greatly diminished by all the attention given to Mayweather-McGregor." There "wasn’t much interest in Cotto-Kamegai in the first place," but it will be "all but impossible ... to receive any media coverage whatsoever" on the same date as Mayweather-McGregor. Iole noted Mayweather and McGregor are "two of the best trash talkers in history," and they will "take airtime and media space away from Alvarez-Golovkin." Alvarez "speaks next to no English and Golovkin’s English still isn’t great." Fans also are going to "spend a lot of money just three weeks before Alvarez-Golovkin, and history has shown that can impact sales." Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya must find a way to "recapture the media’s attention after the tornado that will be Mayweather-McGregor blows away" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/15). In Las Vegas, Adam Hill writes the Mayweather-McGregor announcement "could not have been any worse" for De La Hoya. To say Mayweather-McGregor will "steal a little bit of the thunder from what was supposed to be the biggest boxing match of the year would be a grave understatement" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/16).

KILLING MOMENTUM
: USA TODAY's Bob Velin writes the Mayweather-McGregor hype "often overshadowed the buzz for the Ward-Kovalev rematch," and that made the promoters for Saturday's PPV just a "little bit tight under the collar" on Thursday. Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding Strategy Michael Yormark, who promotes for Ward, said that this fight card was "legitimately a huge sporting event, 'Not the money-grabbing spectacle that will happen later this year.'" Main Events Promotion President Kathy Duva, who promotes for Kovalev, said Wednesday's announcement was "a kick in the teeth" (USA TODAY, 6/16). ESPN.com's Dan Rafael noted the Ward-Kovalev rematch has been a "relatively low-key promotion" but it appeared to be "gaining at least some traction and for any pay-per-view event the most critical window for publicity is in the final few days." So when "news broke of the deal being finalized for Mayweather-McGregor ... it took over the sports world and left Ward-Kovalev II possibly dead in the water." Duva: "It's going to affect us, absolutely it's going to affect us. I can't quantify it but let's face it -- it's going to have an affect" (ESPN.com, 6/15). Duva said of the Mayweather-McGregor bout, "Of course it’s bad for boxing. It’s going to suck up all the air in the room." She added, "It's not a boxing event, it's a spectacle" (L.A. TIMES, 6/16). BOXING SCENE's Keith Idec notes even before Wednesday's announcement Duva "sensed that a fight the magnitude of Ward-Kovalev 2 hadn’t gained the type of traction it warrants." Meanwhile, the four-fight PPV highlighted by Ward-Kovalev costs $64.99 in HD. That is a "costly consideration when boxing fans know there will be two more prominent pay-per-view shows within a three-week span later this summer" (BOXINGSCENE.com, 6/16).

MAKING A RETURN? SI's Greg Bishop writes since the anticlimactic Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight in '15, boxing has "shifted in the right direction." There have been "better fights, more captivating story lines, the emergence of new starts and a slate of bouts this spring and summer that is as intriguing as anything in years." The attention is "starting to catch up to the quality of action." When Keith Thurman defeated Danny Garcia on March 5 on CBS, a "peak of 5.1 million viewers tuned in, the largest for a prime-time boxing match" since '98. Meanwhile, Anthony Joshua's TKO of Wladimir Klitschko "drew 90,000 fans to Wembley Stadium and was broadcast in 150 countries." If this is a "dead" sport, then '17 has been "quite the posthumous performance" (SI, 6/19 issue).
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