I’ve been curious as to what this experience is like and had promised myself I would partake in it one day. Since I wasn’t going to cover Mayweather-Maidana live (hey, I’ve got a budget just like everyone else), this would be the perfect opportunity. While to many younger fans, this concept might seem new (as Golden Boy Promotions/Mayweather began doing this on a regular basis a few years ago), it’s actually the way boxing fans for years had to watch the biggest fights. Long before the advent of pay-per-view and cable television, this is how you caught the likes of Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier (and some of the old-timers will tell you some great stories of fights breaking out, the signal being lost and refunds being issued).
While checking on the Fathom Events website (which distributes these events to movie theaters across the country), I saw there were several choices around my area. The Regal, which is located right next to L.A. Live and the Staples Center, was the easy choice. Not only was it close but it’s a relatively new theater with those big cushy seats. I paid $25 (plus a two dollar handling fee) for a pair of tickets. To put that into perspective, the pay-per-view for this event, dubbed “The Moment,” cost $75. I went with a female friend, a casual fan whose interest in the sport has picked up recently. And if a Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao is performing, she’s interested.
The Regal is a huge facility. Seriously, I’ve never been in a movie theater that has three stories to it. We get to theater number eight on the third floor and get to our seats at 6:10 and we see the Showtime crew previewing the night’s card. Seriously, Al Bernstein and company never looked so large to me. Many of the seats on the upper part of the theater were taken so we sit on the lower level, which is just fine because we’re far enough back that we don’t have to crane our necks and we basically have this whole row to ourselves at this point. I’d estimate by then, there were probably 30 to 40 people present as J’Leon Love and Marco Antonio Periban were entering the ring.
Now, what I was really worried about (other than maybe having to watch “The Amazing Spiderman 2” if “Glovegate” wasn’t solved earlier in the day) was if I would I be able to tweet during the fight. After all, people have literally been shot and killed for being on their phones at the movies and you never know what your reception’s going to be. But given that this is the fights, you don’t necessarily have to adhere to movie theater etiquette. Fortunately, the signal was strong and without anyone sitting next to us, I was free to use Twitter all night during the card.
(Also, we brought in some, uh…Zimas and sipped on those for awhile, which helped our moods.)
As the show went along, I noticed a few things: just like at the fights themselves, fans were coming into the theater throughout the card. I’d estimate that by the time the main event started, there were probably close to a hundred people inside. The upper level seats were pretty filled up and there were right around a dozen or so patrons where we sat. Also, as the night went along, everyone started to loosen up and started to really get into the fight and react to what was taking place. The person I’m with really gets into it and I’m actually surprised to see how much she cares about the bouts - even the undercard bouts. No, she’ll never be the type that watches ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” but for shows like this, she is a fan who cares (and yeah, I don’t hold it against her that she likes Mayweather...all that much).
Also, you had folks with different rooting interests but the atmosphere was very fun and honestly, I didn’t see any hint of any hostility. It wasn’t like an Eagles-Cowboys game at the old Veterans Stadium. You wonder how many more spectators would have been there had Game Seven between the Clippers and Warriors wasn’t taking place just a block away. Everyone was having a good time and as the action headed down the stretch for Mayweather-Maidana, the audience here mirrored that of the one at the Grand Garden.
After the scorecards were read, you could hear audible groans and loud cheering from various parts of the room. I’d say that most of the audience was Mexican/Latino (for the record, I was the only Asian) but overall, no matter the result, it’s pretty evident that everyone had a good time here.
“This is fun; we definitely should do this again,” my friend tells me during the card. No disagreements here.
Photo © German Villasenor, MaxBoxing
Some random thoughts on the show this past weekend:
- I had Mayweather up 115-113 (and yes, I’m typing this out while wearing my “TMT” hat and shirt). I thought Maidana was really effective early, bullying Floyd and using his 165 pounds to back him up and let his hands go. But in the second half, “Money” got more on track and was able to land some really sharp right hands. Yes, Maidana was busier but Mayweather was able to slip and deflect many of those punches. However, this was a close, competitive fight and perhaps the most physically grueling Mayweather has ever endured. The consensus is that is that it could’ve been 115-113 either way.
Michael Pernick had the fight dead even at 114-114; Burt Clements scored it 117-111 (which is the most questionable card) and Dave Moretti had it 116-112.
- You have to give Maidana and his trainer, Robert Garcia credit. They understood who they were, what they had to do and didn’t deviate from that. They knew they couldn’t get sucked into Mayweather’s style and tempo. They weren’t going to play checkers with Bobby Fischer (as I’ve stated before) and embarked on a brutal, two-fisted game of checkers. And unlike recent Mayweather foes, they didn’t mentally capitulate. When Mayweather found success, Maidana just kept his nose to the grindstone and stuck to his ring identity. This has been one of Garcia’s better jobs of training; he’s improved Maidana without necessarily changing who he is.
As for Mayweather saying he fought the way he did to please the fans, well, this is not only funny but insulting to the effort of Maidana, who made him fight the way he did. And with how he hits, Maidana’s not exactly the guy you decide to stand and trade with for the edification of the media and fans. That said, Mayweather once again showed that when the going gets tough, he has very underrated physical durability and toughness.
- Again, while “Chino” certainly had a lot to do with how Mayweather performed on Saturday night, I think I can honestly say that for the first time ever, I saw some physical slippage from Mayweather, who is now 37 years old. He still has sublime skills but like just about all other fighters as they get older. It’s not necessarily that their skills erode but how much ability they still have to implement them over three full minutes a round. It’ll be interesting to see if Mayweather grants Maidana a rematch (and yeah, there will certainly be a “glove” clause in the bout agreement) and how he matches himself the rest of his career. Does he ever give young, hungry, strong lions like Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter a crack at his undefeated record?
- “The Moment” was among the most bizarre and cynical promotions I can recall. First, like everything else, it was overshadowed by Donald Sterling and V(isor). Stiviano early in the week and then that story was tied to Mayweather as he commented that he would be interested in buying the Clippers. Yeah, because after Sterling, the NBA wants a guy with Floyd’s background in its fraternity of owners. The ongoing Golden acrimony between President Oscar De la Hoya and CEO Richard Schaefer was a consistent storyline throughout last week.
Then things reached an all-time low as Mayweather outed his ex-girlfriend’s abortion with a Facebook post (that was then deleted, so yeah, that was also aborted). But as reports surfaced that the much talked-about Ms. Jackson was now snuggling up to Nelly, it became a bit of a love triangle situation (just say it; you know you want to: it got hot in there). Yeah, TMZ and Mediatakeout.com were all over this. Mayweather also posted on social media on how much he spent on plastic surgery for his ex (I will say, it was money well spent).
Then there was “Glovegate 2014,” which many cynically believed was an effort to drum up interest in a pay-per-view that was supposedly struggling. OK, call me naïve (among many things) but the threats of cancelation less than 24 hours before the event when it’s are already going up against a highly anticipated game between the Clippers and Warriors isn’t exactly the way you get people to buy this card. Not for one second was this going to be canceled (too much financial liability here) but there was certainly a real dispute happening.
- I heard the reports of the stampeding and melees as fans were exiting the MGM Grand on Saturday night, where dozens of people were injured or scrapped up, including my pal, Ernie “Everlast” Gabion. Honestly, I’m surprised this type of incident doesn’t happen more here. Seriously, the 405 at the heart of rush hour isn’t as congested as this small, relatively narrow pathway, which is literally the only way to get out of there. Yeah, I get it; they want to funnel people back to the casino but that design has been flawed from the very beginning.
People who didn’t have credentials ended up rampaging their way into the media center during this fracas - which honestly, makes it like any other post-fight press conference. For the record, we had no problems getting out of the Regal.
Per Goossen Tutor Promotions, information regarding the public media workouts and weigh-in for the Bermane Stiverne-Chris Arreola rematch for the vacant WBC heavyweight title is as follows:
Tuesday, May 6
Public Media Workouts: USC Galen Center--Men’s Basketball Practice Court
3400 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90089
(Enter via Stairs at Figueroa and McCarthy)
2:30 p.m. - Chris Arreola
3:30 p.m. - Bermane Stiverne
Friday, May 9
Official Public Weigh-In: Radisson Hotel Los Angeles at USC
3540 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90089
Mayweather’s ring walk was the worst ever; it had a bunch clowns and freaks (Lil’ Wayne and Justin Bieber)...When he executes his style - like he did versus Luis Collazo - Amir Khan is a tough out...According to Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, they can no longer wait on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. as Gennady Golovkin is now working on his next fight in July with HBO...The media tour for Saul Alvarez-Erislandy Lara is this week and De la Hoya will be representing his company...Is the NFL Draft finally here?...This has been the most memorable first round of the NBA Playoffs I can ever recall...