Canelo vs Kirkland: Collateral damage from Mayweather vs Pacquiao?Written by Leroy Cleveland
The announcement of Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao on May 2, greeted with open arms by the sports world, may not have come without some fallout.
Now, the HBO superfight between Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland, originally and tentatively scheduled for May 2, will be pushed back to May 9 and given a new venue - Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX.
Promoters were hoping to stage the May 9 superfight between Canelo and Kirkland at San Antonio's Alamodome and expectations were high on attendance.
The Alamodome holds 72,000 and promoters were confident the Canelo vs Kirkland card would pack the house in its entirety or, at the very least, break the attendance record of 59,995 set by the 1993 fight card headlined by boxing legends Pernell Whitaker vs Julio Cesar Chavez.
Canelo last fought at the Alamodome in April 2013. Originally, 33,000 tickets were allotted but they sold so fast that Golden Boy Promotions had to make an additional 3,000 tickets available. The final attendance tally was roughly 39,247.
But Alvarez is a bigger star now and his opponent, a Texan with a crowd-pleasing style, is a more attractive draw than Canelo's last San Antonio opponent, Austin Trout. As a result, 60,000 buys seemed well within reach.
Will moving the Canelo vs Kirkland fight card to Houston have a detrimental effect?
For starters, Minute Maid Park holds only 40,000 so hopes of breaking attendance records are dashed. Also, given the smaller venue, ticket prices may be a bit higher to compensate for a perceived 33 percent drop in attendance expectations.
Crowds attract even larger crowds and it would have been a wonderful selling point for Golden Boy Promotions to be able to say, two weeks prior to the fight, "We've sold 62,000 tickets and not many more are left."
Such an announcement would have been wonderful for not only everyone involved in the event, but boxing in general.
But if Mayweather vs Pacquiao is successful, Canelo vs Kirkland may very well thrive on its coattails and, perhaps, threaten some "ratings" records in the process. Moreover, the May 9th date will give HBO ample opportunity to promote Canelo vs Kirkland in front of a mega audience of casual and non-fans alike the week before.
Not all is lost, and perhaps more is gained from the change in date and venue.
Two superfights in back-to-back weeks....
Boxing is back!