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Martinez vs Barker: Ticket Sales Dead in the Water for Saturday Fight

Sergio Martinez is a king with no audience. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Sergio Martinez is a king with no audience. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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I'm not putting this up simply to be adversarial or point and laugh or whatever, but this is really bad. Middleweight champ Sergio Martinez did an in-store appearance at a Modell's in New York City today, and there was an offer for a free pair of tickets with $20 spent on Everlast products.

A free pair of tickets, for $20 spent at Modell's.

This, combined with several discounts and an offer of 30% off for those who had bought a ticket to the now-rescheduled October 29 fight between Andre Ward and Carl Froch, really points out the extreme difficulty promoters are having moving tickets to this fight.

So why is this one so bad?

Is it the fact that nobody knows Darren Barker? He's never fought on U.S. TV and hasn't exactly had a U.K. career that made waves worldwide. He's a domestic-level British fighter, basically. In today's crap middleweight division that puts him around top ten status (we have him No. 9), and it's not meant as an insult, because he's a fine, talented fighter. But he has no name value here.

Some of this has to lie with Sergio Martinez, though, and with this going on, and Sergio not exactly filling Atlantic City for recent fights, it's a lot easier to understand Miguel Cotto almost snickering at the idea that he could make $5 million to fight Sergio Martinez, as he did at a presser for the Margarito fight last week.

How much of it is location? Atlantic City has had trouble drawing for fights since Arturo Gatti retired, with the exception of Kelly Pavlik and his traveling Youngstown audience. How much of it is simply Martinez being an Argentinean fighter with no big fanbase, and Barker not being a traveling star from overseas even on the level of, say, Carl Froch? How much of it is a promotional problem?

I hate to see it happen to a guy like Sergio Martinez who is a legit champion, a charismatic guy, a top-tier fighter, and fights in an exciting style, but yes, look, boxing is hurting in the United States. Crowds just aren't coming out for fights in big numbers save for a Mayweather or Pacquiao fight, or someone with a legit regional draw, and those guys don't usually charge ticket prices like this fight has.

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