It had been rumored, and now it's confirmed. UFC 103 in Texas will go head-to-head with Mayweather-Marquez on September 19, which isn't really that big of a deal but I'm sure it will be made out to be one. As usual, Jake Rossen does his "oh those boxing fans!" schtick:
Who wins? It wouldn't surprise me to see Mayweather come out ahead in this battle, if not the war. The 19th falls near Mexican Independence Day, and it is obvious promoters see that as an appropriate hook to help enlist Marquez's fan base. It's also a pretty transparent attempt to hold a trump card over a rapidly ascending rival combat sport -- a nice "we beat you" talking point for the stand-up contingent.
If there's a boxing fan or promoter out there that thinks this sport is more popular than the UFC is in America, please speak up so I know who Rossen and guys like him are continually talking about. We understand facts and TV ratings and PPV buys and things. No one's trying to front, even if they are hardcore MMA haters.
It's a pretty nice UFC card, too. Obviously I'll be watching Mayweather-Marquez, and so will lots of other people, and if the boxing show is a huge success and UFC doesn't "win" that night, hooray for Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions.
I guess Rich Franklin is going to be on this card. Seriously, if Mayweather-Marquez beats a Rich Franklin-led UFC bill, then so what? Shouldn't it?
Dana White chimed in on Mayweather-Marquez in June:
"It's a fight people really aren't interested in," Dana White told ESPN 1100 of the boxing match in June. "I love boxing, [but] boxing is in big trouble. This next fight with Floyd isn't a big fight." White added that he had heard Mayweather was cautioned to steer clear of a UFC event night.
He might well be right on the first point. He's not basing the second point on anything but the usual fodder. Boxing is not in big trouble. Boxing isn't really in any trouble. UFC did not take boxing's fans in any truly substantial number. What UFC did was market and promote so efficiently and effectively that they created entirely new sports fans, or at least fans new to combat sports that couldn't ever have given a crap about boxing or anything else before. UFC is a machine and Dana White is a brilliant promoter, but I'll bet my right foot that boxing isn't going anywhere, and not existing is really the only "big trouble" the sport can get into. HBO and Showtime are going to continue to air boxing and there's going to continue to be millions of dollars pumped into major fights. This "big trouble" stuff is jibber-jabber. Boxing isn't a mainstream sport, probably won't be ever again. It is a niche sport, same as MMA, just not as close to that mainstream breakthrough and not "on the rise." It's going to be really interesting to see where UFC and MMA are in five years. It really could become an even bigger phenomenon, or it may have peaked. That's something I wouldn't bet on either way.