A Wonderful Evening At Geale vs. Barker
Daniel Geale vs. Darren Barker turned out to be a fantastic, hard-fought, close fight with Barker capturing the IBF Middleweight title by split decision, sending the small contingent of flag-waving Brit fans into a frenzied celebration.
But there were many special moments on this wonderful night of boxing.
First of all, the arena and venue Revel is the nicest hotel and auditorium for boxing on the east coast. It's simply fantastic. Perfect for fans and media who sit on the stage and can actually, for a change, look down on the ring instead of up and into the bring ring lights.
I had the chance to chat with Roy Foreman at ringside, and Rob Scott and we talked boxing for a few of the fights. Roy and Rob had a popular boxing TV and radio show in AC.
I asked Roy if his brother George had ever knocked anyone out cold, as it seemed most of the KO's I saw him score were more of the thumping power variety, not the paralyzing type of say Thomas Hearns or Wladimir Klitschko.
Roy quickly thought of Foreman vs. Boone Kirkman, both were 32-0 and fought in a young heavyweights bout in New York. Foreman won by KO leaving Kirkman out cold, and then George stepped over Kirkman, actually stepping on his chest.
I also asked about George sparring Sonny Liston and he said he saw some of the sessions and that they went to war. Brutally tough sparring sessions. Liston trained a lot in Philly and only knew one way to spar. Foreman always had the heart. Roy also added that Foreman's manager Dick Sadler had four other good heavyweights that, because of all the tough sparring they did with Liston and Foreman, had something taken out of them and never amounted to anything.
A fan asked us about Bonecrusher Smith and Roy had respect for him but said he never remembers seeing him have to show heart in a knock-down, drag 'em out brawl. He never saw that fighting heart from Smith who as we know, didn't get a start in boxing till he was in his early 20's. It's all about the heart, George always had it, Wladimir showed it by getting up vs. Sanders.
Roy also mentioned that Foreman was so popular back in the early 70's that he filmed three different prime time TV shows in Hollywood in a few weeks span - Sanford & Son with Redd Fox, Hawaii Five-O and one other which now escapes me.
Rob Scott said that when he was an IBF official, he had to get a urine sample from Kostya Tszyu after his loss to Ricky Hatton. He said he was in the dressing room and all the sudden, Tszyu broke down into tears, devastated by the unexpected loss.
From other sources on this evening, I also was told that the Mayweather-Guerrero fight lost between ten and twenty million. It was a major, major failure. And this has contributed to why Golden Boy and Showtime have coerced Mayweather to face Saul Alvarez - they want their investment back.
But now there are problems moving the very high-priced tickets for Mayweather vs. Alvarez, which is going to be staged next month in Las Vegas. The ducats range from $2300 to $l50 and are not selling nearly as briskly as hoped. For one thing, they are too expensive during this tough economy. And second, the perception by many fans is that this is just another handpicked set up for Mayweather and fans do not want to pay top dollar to watch another boring sparring session.
Promoters for the event, have even taken the step to try to package a deal of selling the expensive tickets to the NBA Players Association for the NBA players to buy and attend but that plan is, from what I was told last night, has not been successful.
Compounding the trouble for Showtime, Golden Boy and Al Haymon is the problem that Showtime network has been blacked out on Time Warner Cable in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. And this could inhibit the promotion also. Keep in mind that the promoters of this event went all out to promote this fight on their very long, multi-city media tour. Could another devastating loss be in the cards for Showtime, Golden Boy and Haymon with Floyd vs. Canelo? We'll see.
A source who traveled with the Canelo-Floyd promotional media tour across the USA told me that in every city expect Grand Rapids (Floyd's hometown), Canelo was clearly the popular and better received of the two boxers, of course, he was embraced by the Mexican contingent of fans who showed up to the public press conferences. This is also not a very promising sign for the promotion because outside of the Mexican market, Canelo is still largely unknown to non-Mexican Americans.
Will the casual sports fan buy this expensive fight on PPV?
That is the massive question, Haymon, Schaefer and Showtime are contending with right now.
If Showtime suffers another massive loss next month, there will be no other feasible option but to finally sacrifice Mayweather to Pacquiao.
Perhaps this is why Mayweather and his advisor Leonard Ellerbe have been stonewalling the potential Pacquiao fight for next year with their recent concrete blockade excuses - Pacquiao must sign with TMT and then Pacquiao can't fight me now because he had his chance and blew it, and Ellerbe insisting that everyone should forget about it, Floyd will never ever fight Pacquiao. It's never going to happen.
Another detail I was told is that TMT gets a budge of $30 million but from that budget they are responsble for paying out a lot of expenses. So Floyd's take is actually a lot, lot less than the $30 million figure he likes to trumpet.
Thomas Dulorme had a good performance to beat Gato Figueroa but I'm not sold on the impressive Puerto Rican just yet. He was stopped by Carlos Abregu and although he looks like a similar version of Tito Trinidad, his punches are not as sharp and accurate and his balance is a bit unsteady. But he works hard and is still improving.
Matthew Macklin was in the house.
I asked a few American fans why they came to see a world title fight between an Australian and a Brit and they said it was because they love boxing and they wanted to see a "major" HBO fight live.
CompuBox's Bob Canobbio loves the Revel arena.