BoxingScene.com is reporting that only 1,690 tickets remain at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas for the September 15 fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Sergio Martinez, which will headline an HBO pay-per-view card on that night.
Daren Libonati, who has worked with the venue for years, says this fight might set an attendance record:
"On a September 12th date many years ago, I want to say it's 1992 - we did a Mexican Independence Day [event] with Julio Cesar Chavez and Camacho. We believe that [this event] is on track to beat that attendance. We're over 15,000 paid now. There is no question that we are going to reach full capacity. We've adjusted the floor and added more seats. We could easily be over 18,000 people paid. ... We're probably looking at the highest attended paid event since the last one that we had on this level and that was Pacquiao-Morales and that was 17,800. ... It will probably be even higher than what we've had for basketball because you have seats on the floor. When you calculate all of the seats, the press, the media, the suites - we could easily be over 18,500."
Keep in mind that we pretty routinely hear this stuff -- "Oh the tickets have gone so fast, oh the PPV is trending to sell to 17 million homes, oh the records will all fall with this fight!" -- but there might be something here. This fight has organic demand, takes place on the exact right weekend, and has been promoted wonderfully.
This isn't some fight where promoters had to shove two guys together, like Mayweather-Ortiz or something, which did really well and all, but it wasn't natural the way this fight is.
I expect this also doesn't bode very well for the Canelo vs Lopez gate across town at the MGM Grand. One of the genuine concerns about having those two fights on the same date in the same city was that not only will one of them (Canelo-Lopez) get overshadowed in hype and on American TV, but one of them (Canelo-Lopez) will also take in waaaaay less money at the gate than it should have. Unless a mass of boxing fans like we haven't seen in decades has converged upon Las Vegas, that gate could be a real letdown.
It could be another heavily-papered Golden Boy show. They're on an ugly run right now where they're giving away more tickets to every major event of theirs than they can sell, and while I'm not really obsessed with ticket sales and live gates, because the sport isn't what it used to be and doesn't rely on that the way it used to, there's no way to put it that makes that a good thing.
If the comp offer emails are flying (I've heard they are, but I can't confirm that) for the MGM show, then I think I'll say that Golden Boy made a mistake in forcing this show to happen on September 15, and they truly did force this show. If Chavez Jr-Martinez is organic, then Canelo-Lopez (as much as I've started to like the fight in some ways) is McDonald's.
I said from day one that I felt it was dumb to run these shows against each other. But what I felt every step of the way was most dumb was running them in the same city. I think we're on track to prove that, even if Top Rank's big talk isn't quite as real as it might seem.