The record-breaking Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fight Sept. 14 in Las Vegas has added an undercard bout in order to now pursue a record pay-per-view audience.
Unbeaten junior-welterweight champion Danny Garcia (26-0, 16 knockouts) will defend his World Boxing Council belt against hard-punching Argentinian Lucas Matthysse (34-2, 32 KOs).
Philadelphia’s Garcia, 25, won his belt in 2012, knocking out Amir Khan. He’s defended the belt against veterans Erik Morales and Zab Judah, bringing some criticism that he was being protected against past-their-prime foes.
In Matthysse, 30, Garcia confronts his stiffest test yet, a power puncher who has rallied from prior losses to Judah and Devon Alexander to finish six straight opponents, including his third-round destruction of former light-welterweight champion Lamont Peterson in May.
“Danny Garcia was never afraid of anyone, he wanted that fight,” said Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather Jr.’s advisor. “Lucas Matthysse has been running everyone out of the ring, he’s a tremendous puncher. Danny Garcia can punch with either hand. This could be the fight of the year.”
Fight promoter Richard Schaefer said Mayweather-Alvarez has already broken boxing’s live gate record by generating more than $19.5 million in ticket sales at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Adding Garcia-Matthysse to the card shows “the days of [undercard novelty act] Butterbean are over,” Schaefer said. “This is the most expensive fight ever put as the second fight of a pay-per-view.”
Schaefer said Garcia-Matthysse on its own would likely produce a $1 million live gate at a venue like the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The goal with Mayweather-Alvarez now is to challenge the 2007 record of more than 2.525 million pay-per-view buys of Mayweather’s bout against Oscar De La Hoya.
“After our press tour, I felt confident to predict the number would match or beat the gross number we did with Mayweather-De La Hoya of $140 million, and with the addition of Garcia-Matthysse ... whether it breaks 2.525 million, we’ll see. I don’t want to be that bold,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer said it took an effort by himself and Mayweather “to find additional revenue sources to pay for that fight.” He didn’t say which fighter required more.
“Floyd wanted to get the deal done,” Ellerbe said. “He wanted fans to say, ‘Wow! I got my money’s worth and then some.’ Floyd’s ultimate goal is to make boxing a mainstream sport.”
Ellerbe declined to answer if the winner would emerge as the favorite to fight Mayweather next.
“We will see new fans watching this sport for the first time that night and we want to take advantage of that, not just with the main course, but the appetizer,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer said he’s planning a press tour for Garcia-Matthysse that will include a stop in Los Angeles.