The Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Juan Manuel Marquez fight will be the first high-profile boxing match to go up against a major UFC pay-per-view on the same night in quite some time. How many pay-per-view buys both shows generate will tell an interesting story as to which sport controls the interest of the general mainstream sports public.
But if you think Mayweather or Golden Boy Promotions is concerned about competing for eye balls with the red-hot UFC on September 19, think again.
"We're not really worried about it," Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, said on a Tuesday conference call to hype the upcoming fight. "The fact is that we have the full support of the pay-per-view industry and all the main channels and everything, the marketing and so on. So that just underlines the fact that Floyd Mayweather is the pay-per-view king. So if you are the pay-per-view industry, who are you going to support? It is, of course, Floyd Mayweather, the pay-per-view king. So we're not really worried about it. Let them do what they do, and we'll focus on our own event."
It's hard to ignore the fact that, according to Yahoo! Sports' Dave Meltzer, the UFC followed up the 1.6 million pay-per-view buys for July's UFC 100 with approximately 850,000 buys for August's UFC 101. Throw in the reported 635,000 buys for UFC 98, the 625,00 for UFC 97, the 800,000 for UFC 94, the 1.2 million for UFC 92 and the 1.01 million for UFC 91, and one has to question whether Golden Boy and HBO aren't seriously worried about the effect UFC 103 can have on their show.
Meanwhile, according to Schaefer, Mayweather averages 900,000 pay-per-view buys every time he fights, and generated a combined 3.4 million buys in 2007 alone.
Mayweather, who has not talked favorably about MMA in the past, was in no mood to discuss the sport on Tuesday's conference call.
"I'm here to talk about what I got to do," he said. "You know, what UFC got to do, that's their business. This is about me and Marquez pay-per-view, and we're not competing against no one else."
UFC president Dana White recently told ESPN Radio 1100's Steve Cofield that he isn't concerned with competing against the boxing match, simply because he believes Mayweather can't sell pay-per-views on his own.
"He's not a superstar," White said. "Floyd doesn't sell. Floyd plus another great fighter sells. You need two good fighters that people really want to see. It's not a fight people want to see."
Once again, Mayweather wasn't interested in firing back at White.
"I'm not worried about what Dana White said. I mean, Dana White says what he says -- it don't matter. I'm not thinking about Dana White."
The UFC's recent decision to air a portion of UFC 103's preliminary card for free on Spike TV is not doubt a move to attract some extra viewers to their show. Golden Boy and HBO have countered by announcing that their event will be shown live at 170 movie theaters across the country.
Whether both sides want to admit it or not, the most interesting battle on September 19 may not be the one contested in a ring or cage, but rather in living rooms across the world.
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