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Selling a Heavyweight Battle in L.A.

By Steve Kim

Earlier this week at the Galen Center at USC, where Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola battle for the vacant WBC heavyweight title tonight, promoter Dan Goossen was sitting in the bleachers of the Trojans men’s basketball gym where his man, Arreola was shadowboxing in a makeshift ring during a media workout. Goossen understands that while he might have a really good fight on his hands, it might be a tough sell out here in Los Angeles as it is being overshadowed by other events.
Just down the street on Figueroa Boulevard at the Staples Center, there are playoff games involving the Clippers and Kings throughout the weekend and the Dodgers face their hated rivals, the Giants from up north at Chavez Ravine. Yeah, there’s a lot going on regarding sports in the “City of Angels.”

“Listen, I know there’s a lot going on but I think we’ve got a great heavyweight title fight here and that’s my focus. But yeah, I’m a Kings fan and geez…,”said Goossen with a laugh, realizing that when you promote an event in a major city like Los Angeles, you will have some sort of competition for the entertainment dollar. What helps is that boxing has recently been on a solid run of fights like last weekend’s tussle between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana.
“It’s always nice. It pumps everyone up; there’s no doubt about it. When you have good, competitive fights, it keeps the fans on a high and we’ve had some good fights back-to-back. Look at John Molina and Lucas Matthysse. So the fans are now getting some good fights. I’ve said that the sport is now turned around tremendously and that doesn’t mean that just because you put a great fight that it’s always going to sell out or anything," explained Goossen, who understands that the past indiscretions of Arreola might be held against him by the paying public.
But as he sees a relatively svelte Arreola moving around the ring, Goossen states, “Look, I’ve read a lot of things about Chris and a lot of the fans are saying, ‘Oh, well, we want to see it to believe it,’ but look, with Chris, you can see it visually. He’s in tip-top shape.”
Right now the region is in the midst of a strong run of fights. A couple of weeks ago, a card televised by Showtime and promoted by Golden Boy Promotions was held at the StubHub Center in Carson. Next week, Top Rank Promotions has an event at the Forum featuring Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Mike Alvarado.
Of this dynamic, Goossen says, “I think we’re in the position right now to put the stamp of approval on the type of fights that are being brought here to Los Angeles. I mean, when you really think about it, with Golden Boy doing the StubHub show just recently, Bob Arum is doing the one right after this one. There’s some big fights that are coming out to Los Angeles and I’m going to hearken back to my old stomping grounds. I can remember what got me involved in boxing, which was going to the Olympic Auditorium because it was electric and you could guarantee and sell out virtually every week.
“That’s how great it was. So I believe that it’s just a matter of conditioning and things like that and let the fans know when we say it’s a great fight, that it is a great fight and Saturday, Stiverne and Arreola are going to prove it. Stiverne’s a tough cat. I mean, he’s no pushover and Chris is going to have to go out there and impose his will on him.”
Things finally got testy between Stiverne and Arreola at the final press conference on Thursday (and call me naive but I don’t think this was a ploy to boost ticket sales):
This will be the first boxing event hosted by the Galen Center (the basketball home of the USC Trojans) and if you’re thinking of dropping by, here’s the ticket info:
Tickets priced at $300, $200, $100, $50 and $25 (plus fees) for the Heavyweight World Championship night of boxing are available through the USC Ticket Office located in the Student Union, 213-740-4672 (GOSC), or or Doors will open on the day of the event at 3:00 p.m. PT with the first bell at 3:30 p.m. PT.
So what does Goossen have to say about the constant ongoing battle with Andre Ward?
“It’s not a matter that I don’t have any comment; I’d love to say a lot of things. Listen, it’s not that I’m not saying things because there’s an ongoing legal case. I’m just not saying things because there’s nothing good that I could say if I was going to say something,” said the promoter on Tuesday afternoon.
“What am I going to do? Say that it’s ridiculous? I’m not here to do anything other than to try to do the right thing and get our fighter back into the ring and it’s their choices. I don’t have control over that.”
The Stiverne-Arreola II broadcast on ESPN starts at 8 p.m., ET/5 p.m., PT, so plan accordingly...It’s a free preview weekend on Showtime and the epilogue episode of “All Access: Mayweather-Maidana” airs Saturday night at 9:30 p.m...However this works out, the Cleveland Browns are now must-see-TV this upcoming season with Johnny Football...Ican be reached at and I tweet at We also have a Facebook fan page at, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.

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