The Build Up to a Superfight: Why Miguel Cotto – Manny Pacquiao Should Outsell Mayweather – Marquez
The showdown between Floyd Mayweather, JR., and Juan Manuel Marquez was a great success. It was actually one of the better pay per views to come along in quite a while, supporting the main event with competitive and entertaining undercard matches and giving the viewer a lot of bang for the buck. According to HBO, the fight generated 1 million pay per view buys, an amazing statement to the world that there are still a lot of boxing fans out there. Not all of us have shifted to the MMA just yet.
There were various reasons why this fight did so well. First, Mexico is very big on boxing and Juan Manuel Marquez has outlasted other Mexican stars like Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, universally being recognized as the best thing going today. Floyd Mayweather, JR., was retired and coming back and there was some intrigue there, especially when you figure in that Manny Pacquiao had assumed his spot as the number one fighter in the game today. The HBO documentary series 24/7, the new fan base of the WWE that have come to know Floyd from his ridiculous exploits there in the realm of pro wrestling, and the hope that Marquez would close the mouth of the ultra confident Mayweather. The fight, on paper, wasn’t competitive, and in the ring, it wasn’t competitive either, but we all bought it.
Now we have a fight that is competitive on paper, pitting the pound for pound best in the game, Manny Pacquiao, taking on the once defeated Puerto Rican star, Miguel Cotto, on November 14th. This is a much more evenly matched bout than Mayweather-Marquez and both fighters have such followings that a million buys is basically a given at this point. The lesser undercard is proof that the promoters are banking on the main event to sell without the assistance of interesting bouts supporting it. It needs no support. People will be watching the preliminary bouts, eagerly awaiting the showdown in the main event.
Before the HBO hype begins with the 24/7 programs playing consistently on the network, things have come out to make this fight more interesting as we head toward it.
Oscar De La Hoya recently stated that he was totally shot going into the Pacquiao bout and gives Cotto one heck of a shot. This admission of De La Hoya isn’t a secret of any sort, but there is some strategy behind it. Oscar is a great businessman and does not say too many things that don’t have a purpose. I don’t think that the die hard Manny fans will dispute that De La Hoya was a mere shell of his former self when he got into the ring with Pacquiao. Manny did the right thing and stopped him, which Floyd Mayweather, JR., failed to do, and should have and probably could have.
De La Hoya has a somewhat friendly relationship with Top Rank, even though his Golden Boy Promotions is a rival and have had disagreements. Top Rank represents Cotto, and should Cotto win, that makes him a bigger seller than ever before. Shane Mosley, a Golden Boy fighter, cannot get a break since his victory over Antonio Margarito. The story of that fight wasn’t the amazing KO win by Mosley, rather the plastered fists of his opponent. Mosley got lost in the mix and at his advanced age, it’s not a good thing. He wants a few super fights before he rides off into the sunset. Cotto and Mosley had a life and death 12 round struggle and should Cotto win, there is definite potential of a rematch, which would fatten the pockets of Oscar De La Hoya.
With De La Hoya’s admission that he was not near his best in the Pacquiao bout and his faith in Cotto’s chance to win, it adds to the event. If you don’t know who Pacquiao or Cotto is, you know who Oscar De La Hoya is. He has crossed over into the mainstream, with people that do not follow the sport knowing exactly who he is. When he talks, everyone listens and he has brought attention to this event that many non-boxing fans are unaware of. It will equal more sales.
Those that have dismissed Cotto initially may be taking another look at him as a viable threat to Manny. I have stated before that you could throw out the De La Hoya bout, and I’m sure most have at this point. The Ricky Hatton bout was far more impressive and proved two things. One, Hatton fought the wrong fight, and two, Pacquiao packs a punch at the higher weight classes.
Another ray of hope for a Cotto victory came out of the rumor mill at the Pacquiao training camp. Shawn Porter, a Pacquiao sparring partner, had reportedly knocked Manny out and had him hurt on several occasions. This has been denied by trainer Freddie Roach emphatically, but usually where there is smoke, there is fire. The boxing community is small and things like this that happen to a higher profile fighter are always kept under wraps, but eventually come out and are confirmed. It doesn’t really matter though. Boxers get hurt in sparring all of the time. Mike Tyson, in his prime, got dropped in sparring. Muhammad Ali as well. It means little, but adds even more fuel to the fire and adds more interest in the fight.
If everyone looks at the fight and thinks: “Manny by KO in 1 or 2,” the interest would not be as high as it would if the public was evenly divided and unsure to the end result.
The De La Hoya admission along with the rumored knock out in sparring adds more to this event. When added to the HBO 24/7 coverage, the fan bases of both men, and the guaranteed explosive fight, it is hard to imagine this fight not taking in more money than the Mayweather – Marquez event.
One final factor that will add to the success of this bout is curiosity. This is Manny’s last hurdle before he takes on Floyd Mayweather, JR., which could be the biggest fight in recent boxing history, outselling the Floyd – De La Hoya bout. There is much hope for Manny to win because is means much more money for the promoters and creates a bigger buzz in the boxing world. So, many boxing fans will be tuning in just to see if Manny can get to the mega bout that is awaiting him. Cotto is being seen my most now as the threat that he is. November 14th should be a fun and successful night.