While Juan Manuel Marquez has come out and said that his postponed July 18 fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. may be moved to September 19, the biggest stuff going on is the doubt being bandied about by boxing fans and writers.
While Mayweather's rib injury appears 100% legit, FightHype's Ben Thompson says that poor ticket sales may be just as much if not more to blame for the postponement of the bout. The 11 weeks of promotional time was pretty short, but it seems doable for a Mayweather return. They went on an immediate press blitz, but an anonymous source said bluntly, "Ticket sales suck."
I'm no conspiracy theorist, and I'm no Floyd basher, and I'm a huge Marquez fan, and I was looking forward to the fight even though I had reservations about how competitive it would be, and since I think it will still wind up happening, I maintain those reservations.
But ticket sales were bad and this fight was not measuring up to the level of anticipation I think Golden Boy and Mayweather expected. Part of this may even be blamed on "Mayweather Promotions," which was the lead promoter for this fight, not Golden Boy, but that is pure speculation on my part, and only relevant, I feel, because Mayweather and Leonard Ellerbe are not experienced at leading promotion for a card of this magnitude.
I have defended Floyd as a big star, and I still think he's a big star. But I'm ready to accept that he lost a lot of his post-Oscar, post-Hatton buzz with a series of blunders:
Dancing With the Stars: Yes, it's a popular show, and yes, it gave him some crossover appeal, but housewives and teen girls aren't about to follow his boxing career just because he has a winning smile. This is the least of the three, since I don't think it mattered much either way.
WrestleMania: I've said before I grew up a huge pro wrestling fan, still enjoy the older stuff I've always loved, and that I have no real beef with pro wrestling. But pro wrestling -- while hugely popular in fad periods -- is just not all that popular right now and I don't think it did him any favors. He went from talking about fighting in the UFC to pretend fighting The Big Show, you know? He could have been continuing his successful boxing career as the big dog, but instead he went to Monday Night Raw to cut rotten promos.
- Retirement: No one bought it, it wasn't real, and all it did was cool his jets. I don't believe for one second he intended to never fight again.
Mayweather had fans, and still has them, but do I think he's really any bigger of a gate draw than Pacquiao right now? No, I don't. Probably less of one, in fact. I don't even think Mayweather could sell a Madison Square Garden fight the way Miguel Cotto can.
He's not the star he thinks he is. And I've said this before, but I think the biggest reason he "retired' was a not-even-lukewarm response from fans and press about his rematch with Oscar de la Hoya. Never forget that that fight was a go -- they had the press tour lined up. Suddenly, Mayweather retired. Why? What changed?
No one wanted that fight. And I don't think there's a whole lot of interest past Mexican fans when it comes to Mayweather-Marquez. It definitely isn't the huge fight HBO and Mayweather and Golden Boy thought it was going to be. You can talk about the economy, and it has a part in this, but people came out for Pacquiao-Hatton and bought the fight in big numbers.
Was an "ehhh" response from those in and around boxing partly to blame for Mayweather-Marquez getting pushed back? I'm not one to be sure about these things, but I think there could be something to it. If Mayweather-Pacquiao is to eventually happen, Mayweather will go out of his way to leverage the lion's share of the split. A poor financial showing with Marquez would've really hurt his position, no matter if or how he won the fight.
It's food for thought, at the very least.