Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says he hopes that the September 17 fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Victor Ortiz is a good one. Most boxing fans feel exactly the same way, but Arum has different motives, which make sense and frankly I don't even think are "wrong." This from Michael Marley of the Examiner:
"I'll tell you the truth," Arum said, "if they put on a good fight, a fight that the fans like, well then it helps us on Nov. 12.
"If that fight is a stinker, then it will hurt us. You get a buzz going forward from an exciting fight and you get hurt by a stinker when you're the next event after that. So this is why I want Mayweather-Ortiz to be a good fight."
Nothing wrong with that, is there? Arum has a point, and in his roundabout way, it's in that "good for boxing" manner that everyone is so wild about. If Mayweather and Ortiz put on a show, boxing will be a sports topic for a little longer than it normally is after these major event fights, which tend to be one-sided letdowns with Floyd and Manny proving their superiority. But if Floyd and Victor put on a great fight, well then, you've got a great lead-in for the Pacquiao vs Marquez show on November 12.
You know what else this brings to mind? Vegas crowds are always hot for these big fights. The atmosphere is always incredible until, oh, round six. Then in recent years it has become a systematic breakdown of the underdog and eventual loser. Can you imagine if one of these fights actually was a killer fight for once? The crowd might go nuclear. The closest we've gotten with one of these in the era of the modern superfight (which in my mind really started with the Oscar vs Floyd fight in 2007) is Mayweather's fight with Ricky Hatton in December '07. It wasn't the prettiest fight, or the most amazing in terms of action (it was pretty typical Floyd, overall), but the crowd made it something special.
Those were unique fans, though; for most of these events, you need an actual good fight to get that level of crowd reaction, and I think a great crowd reaction is one of those things that is invaluable to one's enjoyment of a fight. I've seen some terrific fights that get lousy crowd reaction and it probably does lessen my memories of said fight somewhat. Two examples I think of off the bat are the recent Kevin Mitchell vs John Murray fight, which was great action all the way through, and better than the crowd in Liverpool treated it. There was also the Giovani Segura vs Cesar Canchila fight in 2008 on the first Cotto vs Margarito card, which sadly might as well have been in a library instead of the MGM Grand. That was more pronounced than Mitchell vs Murray, even. Segura vs Canchila was a hell of a fight and nobody there cared.
But then I have rambled off topic somewhat. I will also say that there's a potential danger between the two fights. Let's say that Mayweather-Ortiz is really a great fight. So great, in fact, that the next month, people decide to buy the Hopkins vs Dawson PPV. All of Bob's hopes could be dashed.
Arum also notes that the HBO or Showtime decision is coming within the next week for the Pacquiao vs Marquez fight. All signs are pointing toward HBO, but we'll see.