AEG’s Dan Beckerman solves L.A. boxing conflict: Super-flyweights on Sept. 9; Santa Cruz-Mares now on Oct. 7
A deal brokered by AEG President and CEO Dan Beckerman has solved the potential conflict of two strong boxing cards competing for the same Los Angeles and national television audience.
Beckerman told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that his company will now host a tripleheader of super-flyweight bouts at StubHub Center on Sept. 9, and the Leo Santa Cruz-Abner Mares featherweight world title rematch on Oct. 7 at Staples Center.
“For the good of the sport and for the benefit of boxing fans, whether they’re viewing it at home or in person at the venue, I approached both promoters and worked it out with them to coordinate these two great events,” Beckerman told The Times.
“I’m thankful to the promoters and their broadcast partners for this solution, which is the best outcome for all, most importantly the fans who won’t have to choose between these two outstanding fight cards.”
It originally appeared that rival premium cable networks HBO and Showtime were going to pit the prime cards against each other in the same town on Sept. 9.
Showtime’s Santa Cruz-Mares bout is the most attractive to Southland fight fans because both Mexican fighters hail from the region and each own a World Boxing Assn. belt. Their first meeting, in August 2015, was a riveting clash that Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 knockouts) claimed by majority decision.
Since then, Santa Cruz lost, then regained his belt by handing Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton his only loss, and Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) won the WBA’s secondary belt by defeating Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar in December at USC’s Galen Center.
Yet, the depth of the super-flyweight battles is expected to have such strong interest that it could prove capable of breaking the StubHub Center attendance record.
That card will be headlined by the rematch between Thailand’s new World Boxing Council champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 39 KOs) and Nicaragua’s former four-division world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KOs).
In their first meeting, on March 18 at Madison Square Garden in New York, Sor Rungvisai knocked Gonzalez down in the first round and hung on to win by majority decision. The decision was controversial because Gonzalez landed more punches.
The Sept. 9 card is also to include unbeaten World Boxing Organization super-flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (13-0, 11 KOs) making his sixth title defense, against Cleveland’s Antonio Nieves (17-1-2, nine KOs).
Inoue, regarded by some boxing analysts as one of the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters, will make his U.S. and HBO debut in that co-main event. The HBO broadcast is set to open with Mexico’s Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1, 27 KOs), a former WBC super-flyweight champion, meeting countryman and former world flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2, 25 KOs).
The quality of the StubHub card could allow it to surpass the attendance record of 9,873 that showed for a previous middleweight title fight between Gennady Golovkin and Marco Antonio Rubio. Tickets, ranging from $30-$250, are expected to go on sale next week.
Southland promoters Tom Loeffler, with the super-flyweights, and Richard Schaefer, with Santa Cruz-Mares, are handling the shows.
Beckerman’s mediation effort avoids the most serious boxing conflict since Sept. 15, 2012, when Canelo Alvarez defended his super-welterweight title against Josesito Lopez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez defeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. across town at Thomas and Mack Arena on Mexican Independence Day weekend.
Beckerman, who has also helped preside over talks to bring Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor (Aug. 26) and Alvarez-Golovkin (Sept. 16) to AEG’s T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, said his interest as a fight fan prevailed as he considered the possible effect of splitting the market and the counter-programming of the cards.
“Each [promoter] now has a clean night with separation [from other bouts], and the fans can watch both,” Beckerman said.
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