Mayweather vs. Pacquiao has 98 days, Ali vs. Frazier I had 67 days

08/12/2009 12:51
Joe Frazier (L)  vs. Muhammad Ali (R)  March 8, 1971 took only 67 days to make.
Joe Frazier (L) vs. Muhammad Ali (R) March 8, 1971 took only 67 days to make.

Some may be concerned March 13 is too soon for "The Fight." The fighters had to agree to terms, a venue still has to be selected and a lot of other details need to be worked out. Manny Pacquiao needs more rest from his last fight.

Maybe we can all take a lesson from the last "Fight of the Century" and see that Top Rank is well ahead of schedule.

What tells me this, as I look at the boxing history book known as Don Majeski is that it has been done before in much less time. Majeski is also a gatekeeper at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY.

"You always want more time, but what you have here is enough," said New Yorker Majeski.

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Lets say both fighters agreed to terms December 4, 2009. The fight is March 13, 2010. So we are looking at about 98 days.

The Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier I fight. It was announced Dec. 30, 1970 at a press conference at Madison Square Garden. The fight was set for March 8, 1971. That's about 67 days.

There was no press tour to several strategic cities for publicity. No internet to spread the word. No ESPN or HBO.

Ali had just fought Oscar Bonavena on December 7, 1970, and was working his way back into boxing trim after his long layoff.

I figure back then and today you have to have a very finely-tuned machine of professional people that are very motivated, confident and talented to do this. So that's a given.

TV/movie mogul producer Jerry Perenchio brought in LA Forum owner Jack Kent Cook to put up $4.5 million. Madison Square Garden put up $500,000

Perenchio himself became a billionaire by founding the Univision Network and numerous other Hollywood deals and bringing the first major fight directly to a casino, George Foreman vs. Ron Lyle to Caesars Palace.

"It was a magical night," says Majeski of March 8, 1971. "I bought a cheap ticket ($35) kept trying to move down as many of the ushers knew me. I couldn't get to the ringside seats ($150) so I settled in on a step in the $100 seats. I was behind a not yet so famous and skinny Aretha Franklin and she wore a pointed hat going in all directions and people booed her without mercy but she wouldn't take it off.

"Before the main event ring announcer Johnny Addie introduced in order: Jake LaMotta, Dick Tiger, Rocky Graziano and then the big three of Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, and finally Sugar Ray Robinson to thunderous applause."

The undercard consisted of five fights and they were all six rounders. Mostly the sparring partners.

There were no sponsors on the ring mat nor corner pads. It was just a different era 39 years ago.