The finer points of boxing and mixed martial arts can get lost on many who want something less romantic than defensive maneuvering.
The creators of Big Knockout Boxing, a venture primarily funded by DirecTV that debuts Saturday night with a pay-per-view card at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, are banking on that thirst for more punches in the face.
"The pit promotes offensive, aggressive, toe-to-toe fighting," BKB Executive Director Bruce Binkow said. "There's no ropes, no corners, nowhere to hide."
BKB stages fights of two-minute rounds, scheduled — but not expected to last — seven rounds. The fighting is done inside a 17-foot-diameter circle without ropes. If a boxer is knocked out of the circle, or steps out of it, he suffers a one-point deduction, intensifying his own pursuit of a knockout.
Saturday's seven-fight card features a collection of boxers headlined by a middleweight title fight between Brian Vera (23-8, 14 knockouts in boxing) and Gabriel Rosado. Vera, 32, gave former middleweight world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. all he could handle in a September 2013 fight in Carson, with Chavez responding with a more decisive win in March.
Rosado (21-8, 13 KOs) has three losses and a no-contest in four fights over the last 20 months, daring to brawl with knockout artist Gennady Golovkin before suffering losses to middleweight world champion Peter Quillin and Jermell Charlo.
"I'm willing to take any kind of fight," Vera said of his decision to fight in BKB, adding that his purse compares favorably to the money he earned for the Chavez bouts.
Vera said he trained inside a circle drawn inside a boxing ring and feels his fighting style of "always standing in the middle of the ring" is tailored "perfectly" for BKB. "Rosado's a tough guy who cuts easy, so I think he chose the wrong guy to fight," Vera said.
Binkow expects to schedule another BKB card this year, with a 2015 schedule of four to six cards.
A crowd of 4,000 is expected Saturday seated above the sunken fighting pit.
"We think if you're a fan of action fighting, you're going to want to watch this," said Binkow, a former executive for Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions. "Our definition of success is if those who watch it consider it a worthwhile experience, in which they get their money's worth."