Four of boxing's biggest names are looking to fight on September 15, on two separate cards, both in Las Vegas. Is there any chance that HBO and Showtime will have a PPV battle? (Photos by Ethan Miller/Bob Levey/Al Bello/Getty Images)
Earlier this afternoon, Golden Boy Promotions officially announced a September 15 fight between Canelo Alvarez and Victor Ortiz on Showtime pay-per-view, to be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. But Top Rank has also targeted the date for an HBO pay-per-view show, headlined by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr finally taking on Sergio Martinez.
Lance Pugmire reports via Twitter that Bob Arum still says he's looking to put on the Chavez-Martinez fight that night, which was also to be held in Vegas, perhaps at the Thomas & Mack Center. Right now, that's unlikely. I just have a really hard time figuring out a way that HBO or Showtime or the promoters on either side would want to do dueling pay-per-views. There's just no real upside there. It would be nothing but a pissing contest, basically.
The idea of both networks running pay-per-views head-to-head is asinine enough. It's not only a slap in the face to the boxing fans they all claim they serve so proudly -- who will want to see both of these fights -- by demanding that they choose between two very good matchups (and pay $60 for them, too), but it's just plain bad business. They'd be splitting the audience for no good reason, and neither show would be able to come near its true potential as a moneymaker.
And how about the fact that both would be in Las Vegas? Even if everyone were dumb or stubborn enough to run the pay-per-views head-to-head, you're also gutting your live gate at that point. Vegas isn't exactly the hot place to be in today's economy, and most fights there aren't doing big business. To ask people to come to Vegas for one of these fights is not a stretch in itself. They're not Manny or Floyd bouts, but they'll make money. Or they will so long as you don't run them at the same time. But they won't make money on the same night, going against one another. Both promoters would be taking a serious hit.
And apart from all of that, we're talking about a Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs Sergio Martinez fight, which has been discussed forever and hasn't happened yet. There remains no particularly good reason to think it will, even if both have signed a "document" -- not a contract, mind you -- to fight should Chavez beat Andy Lee this Saturday night in Texas.
If Canelo vs Ortiz is going to happen, they got the jump here. They've got the building booked, the Showtime PPV deal, and a fight actually in place, so long as Victor Ortiz beats Josesito Lopez on June 23, or actually, so long as he even manages a draw. Top Rank doesn't actually have a fight booked, and to say it's "no guarantee" that Chavez will actually fight Martinez is a gross understatement.
Don't expect a one-night pay-per-view buyrate war. If both fights are going to happen, Chavez vs Martinez will most likely be pushed to October. Of course Top Rank would love for Chavez to fight in a big bout on September 15, but he didn't fight on the weekend last year, and it doesn't seem likely he will this year, either.
Fights like these are made to make money. No one is going to want to lose money on something like this, as both fights are too valuable to sacrifice buys, money at the gate, and eyeballs.