Talks to make a fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao began in earnest in November 2009, not long after Pacquiao stopped Miguel Cotto in the 12th round at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
Mayweather and Pacquiao were Nos. 1 and 2 in the world and, most exciting, Nos. 1 and 2 pound-for-pound and were in their absolute primes. They had contrasting styles and it set up to be a fight for the ages.
A deal was finally consummated on Feb. 20, 2015, but the much-hyped superfight fans had been dreaming of never materialized. The fight was a bust, as Mayweather won easily and neither man provided the fire fans had expected or wanted.
There were plenty of mistakes made in that promotion that contributed to the overall event being a massive letdown. The fight was, and remains, the most successful financial event in boxing history, selling 4.6 million pay-per-views and generating more than $600 million in gross revenues.
With Mayweather now about to face UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor in a scheduled 12-round boxing match on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas, now is a good time to point out the Mayweather-Pacquiao mistakes in the hope that promoters avoid them this time around.
5. Charging for the weigh-in
This was done supposedly for crowd-control reasons, and the money for it was donated to charity, but it was a massive mistake that only contributed to the belief that promoters would do anything they could to get into the wallets of their customers.
Weigh-ins should, and usually are, free and open to the public. For Mayweather-McGregor, the weigh-in should be big and over the top.
My suggestion would be to put it on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. True, it would be away from the Strip, but it would be a place where thousands of fans could be packed in to see the spectacle in person.
Another choice would be to put it in the Las Vegas Convention Center, where there is a massive space available to allow tens of thousands to take part in the festivities if they wish.
4. Getting tickets out too late
Tickets weren’t produced until the week of the fight, and it led to numerous questions among fans coming in whether the bout would happen. People didn’t want to fly to Las Vegas and spend on a hotel room if they weren’t sure what was going on.
Tickets need to be available as soon as they go on sale, which needs to be soon (Very, very, very soon, in fact).
3. Don’t keep the fighters apart
For Mayweather-Pacquiao, the fighters were apart much of the week. Each fighter had a pep rally of his own, Mayweather at the MGM and Pacquiao at Mandalay Bay.
That, of course, made it difficult for fans who wanted to see both. Have them together on stage as often as possible. Let the fans see them next to each other to size them up. Let them trash talk each other.
2. Open as many closed-circuit locations as possible
In days gone by in Las Vegas, the hotel casinos worked together whenever a big fight came to town, but for Mayweather-Pacquiao, that was not the case. MGM Grand only put the closed circuit at the MGM-owned properties in Las Vegas and not elsewhere.
Many fans are going to come to town to see the fight. Put it everywhere and anywhere. Fill the Strip with places to watch it. Show it everywhere to make the many fans who will come to Las Vegas that week actually part of it.
In doing so, that will only make the promotion more money.
1. Put together an excellent undercard
Understand, as a fan, that prices are going to be high for this event — very high. The average person isn’t going to be able to afford a ticket to see the event live, no matter how much we wish there was a way that could occur.
The undercard for Mayweather-Pacquiao was simply an abomination and more than anything showed that sheer greed took over that week. The promoters couldn’t be bothered to spend a few bucks to put together a compelling undercard for a show in which prices for just about everything was inflated.
No one should be saying this is a good undercard, or a decent undercard, when it’s announced. The Mayweather-Pacquiao undercard was a bad one. This needs to be better.
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