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Richard Schaefer said all signs are pointing to Saturday's Mayweather-Cotto clash being a ratings smash. The last 24/7 did the best numbers ever for that show, the pre-sales in movie theatres are up 300% from the last couple Mayweather shows, the pre-sales for PPV in Puerto Rico indicate it will be the biggest PPV ever over there, he said at the final presser ahead of the Las Vegas clash at the MGM Grand on Wednesday afternoon.
He cracked me up when he basically said that if you don't trust him, you can go and ask all the people he cited who'd given him the trending stats.
The Golden Boy day to day boss gave a shoutout to Al Haymon, Floyd's advisor, who he noted many people don't believe exists, because he keeps such a low profile. Viewers watching the presser on Ustream didn't see Haymon on camera, so I submit…are we sure he does indeed exist?
Leonard Ellerbe, Floyd's right hand man, then gave Floyd a special gift, a mongo copy of the latest ESPN The Magazine, the “money” issue, which has Floyd on the cover. The Mag puts a boxer on the cover about once every four years, so that is a big deal…Tim Keown wrote a rock-solid feature on Floyd, based on some stellar access he got over a few days' time. There are a couple tidbits in there which will draw some buzz. One involves a woman and a shower, is all I will tease.
WBC chief Jose Sulaiman, who a few months ago said it was no big deal that “beating a lady is highly critical, [but] it is not a major sin or crime” while sucking up to Mayweather, and then blamed a language barrier, spoke. He patted the backs of those that he thought needed their backs patted. Sulaiman spoke like he was getting paid by the second, and I think more than a few people present nodded off as he talked about the Diamond Belt, on the line Saturday, because I think I heard snoring. (Note: I think many of us fightwriters hammer the alphabets too much in comparison to other potential targets, and that makes sense, because our access won't be affected if we slam Sulaiman, while it could be affected if we get too big for our britches against other people. Michael Rosenthal might disagree, lol. Just putting that out there.)
Schaefer then talked about HBO, which is presenting the PPV. He said 24/7 did well on TNT last night, airing after NBA playoffs. He mentioned that the weigh in will run on HBO (3 PM PT-hosted by Jim Lampley), followed by all the 24/7's, with the finale at 8 PM PT, on Friday. CNN, he said, will run 24/7 episodes three and four. Good stuff, no BS, like to see boxing on “free” cable. Good for Schaefer and Golden Boy for pushing this trend. He thanked Richard Plepler and Ken Hershman for making the platforms available and getting the HBO staff to work so hard on the event. Mark Taffet, he said, was not present because he was having a medical procedure on his eye. Kery Davis of HBO then spoke, and busted on Schaefer for stealing his thunder, because he was going to list where HBO content could be found. Davis collected himself, and said Floyd and Cotto have generated about 11 million PPV buys between them.
Oscar De La Hoya gave Schaefer a shoutout, and said that the fight could do numbers close to what he and Mayweather did back in 2007. (You recall that they did 2.4 million buys, a record that stands.) He introduced the Cotto team. Trainer Pedro Diaz spoke in Spanish, with Oscar translating. He said that talking doesn't get you the win. Fists and preparation and execution get the victory. He said a new Cotto (37-2) will be the winner on May 5.
Oscar said Cotto, a four time champion, three division champ, should be undefeated, which would seem to be a slight against Manny Pacquiao. Cotto said that he believes in his team and himself, and will get the win on Saturday.
Leonard Ellerbe spoke, and told Diaz to shut up, that his fighter is the better fighter. He said camp has been the best in 15, 16 years. He said Floyd will be the eight time champ in five weight classes come Saturday.
Floyd then spoke. He sounded groggy, like he had a cold or just woke up. He thanked his team and the media (crafty, that lad). He said Cotto is “a true warrior” and that “this fight had to happen.” He is happy, he said, Cotto is free from Bob Arum so he can do it his way. Floyd said that he will be at his best on Saturday. He thanked HBO, for 16 years, and told Oscar he's working hard on breaking the 2.4 million number. The MGM is my home, he said.
The two men then had a staredown, which ended in grins and then clasped hands. I never care for that level of friendliness, believing that in some cases it speaks to the relationship of the two combatants as more business partners than foes, but I am pretty sure Cotto won't go through the motions, and look to finish the fight, not win it, like Shane Mosley did against Mayweather and then Manny Pacquiao, making it appear like he was in it for the cash.
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