Mayweather vs. Berto — Connect the Blue Dots

By Marc Livitz on August 10, 2015
Mayweather vs. Berto — Connect the Blue Dots
Andre Berto is seen by some as a cross between a journeyman and a measuring stick.

A blue dot indicates a buyable seat in the arena and the Grand Garden Arena is full of them, perhaps to the degree of a half sold house…

Somewhere back in the mid-1990s, supergroup musicians Pearl Jam did their best to rally their respective fans against the monopolistic policies of America’s largest event ticketing conglomerate. They hated the service charges slapped on every purchase. Tried as they may have, matters were made far more frustrating, if not worse, when legions of loyal fans attempted to purchase concert tickets. Inadequate allocations of sufficient phone lines meant busy signals, loss of networks and ultimately, the happiness of the secondary ticket market. As is customary, they are usually the ones who have the inside notes and hold whatever is coveted at that particular time.

Just a few months ago, the sporting event for which so many pockets of the world had clamored became a reality. After years of back and forth bickering, bantering and debating, Floyd Mayweather would at last get into the ring to face Manny Pacquiao. In addition to the anticipation for a bout which many thought would never materialize were the legions of boxing fans who long said they’d spend their last dollar to see the fight live and in person. Alas and to the shock of many, the face value of the cheapest ticket alone was enough to make many want to raid the medicine cabinet for anti-depressant medication. What many never knew and were left to find out on their own was the nature of the fight ticket business.

The general public was clearly not on the minds of those who were at the helm of power. All but perhaps a few scant tickets were gobbled up not just by the casinos, but most of all by the camp of the evening’s “A” side. It was a prison shank to the side of those who keep the sport alive and well. The cost of pay-per-view was no less obscene by normal standards. Nevertheless and as Mayweather recently asserted to a group of people last week at a sparsely populated press conference in Los Angeles, his job was to defeat Pacquiao and not necessarily provide an evening of entertainment.

As we all know by now, the unbeaten man from Las Vegas by way of Grand Rapids, Michigan will end his career with a clang on September 12 when he faces Andre Berto at the MGM Grand. Many feel that for all his accomplishments, Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) owes more to the boxing public if this is indeed his last fight before calling it quits yet again and perhaps this time for good. So much talk floated around for a while that the contest would be aired on free TV, if not premium cable, as opposed to pay-per-view. Of course, the ones who bought into this idea may look at the moon each night and wonder if it’s still made of cheese. One cannot collect a ten-figure payday if any of life’s best things are close to being free.

Floyd and his ilk were quick to deflect any criticism of his choice of opponent, Andre Berto (30-3, 23 KOs). The boxing media was quick to point out that the Floridian of Haitian descent was 3-3 in his last six bouts and was knocked out two years ago by a fighter seen by some as a cross between a journeyman and a measuring stick, Jesus Soto Karass. By now, there’s no sense in whipping a twice dead horse to convince the media that boxing is much harder than it appears. Unless matters drastically change over the next five weeks, then the camera crews working the September 12 fight card from Vegas had better stay focused on the ring and its immediate surroundings. Lighting and angles usually ensure that viewers at home aren’t particularly sure of the number of posteriors in the seats inside a given arena.

As of last weekend, were one to peruse through the interactive map on the website of the aforementioned ticketing outfit, then what would be made evident is blue dots. Lots of them, as in available seats. Furthermore, available seats for the supposed king of boxing’s farewell contest. The software on the site allows buyers to pick their own seats at their own leisure. A blue dot indicates a buyable seat in the arena and the Grand Garden Arena is full of them, perhaps to the degree of a half sold house. Even if Andre Berto is the “B” side in the promotion coined “High Stakes,” then Mayweather may not be a capital “A” as much as a lower case one, if not shorthand. People seem to be fed up.

The majority of the lower bowl in the arena contains seats at $1500 apiece. The cheapest ticket is $150, but of course, those are gone. Like it or not, the success and record breaking statistics achieved by Floyd in many of his recent bouts were as much if not more due to his adversary as himself. Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton in 2007, Juan Manuel Marquez in 2009 and Miguel Cotto in 2012. The nationalistic necktie was pulled to its fullest two years ago when Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was unrealistically pitched as the one to unseat the undefeated pound-for-pound king.

As for the match at hand for Floyd, his next opponent in Berto has been heralded by the sales pitchers from various sides as one who will “bring it at all costs” and provide a night of action and maybe even some blood and knockdowns. That’s quite a promise, especially since Marcos Maidana was supposed to do the exact same thing. The rough fighter from Argentina collected a career high payday and did indeed bring it, at least the first time they fought. He didn’t do enough to take the crown from the king in the eyes of the judges in the first outing and may have left the “bring it” in his hotel suite four months later.

Lastly, Manny Pacquiao captured the hearts and minds of the Pacific Rim as well as other locales when he tried to unseat the champion this past May. We all know how that went. Such sentiments are all the more reasons why so many are set to (believed when actually seen) boycott the September contest and stay clear of Vegas altogether. Truth be told and unlike the typical Sin City weekend involving a Mayweather contest, the two on either side of the bout are actually more expensive in terms of lodging. Labor Day weekend is always a popular traveling holiday, however the weekend of the 19th includes such events as the “I Heart Radio” festival and the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding championship.

Vegas had to wait until the eleventh hour last May to get the drift that fans weren’t going to pay astronomical rates for a hotel room and upwards of triple or more the cost to watch Mayweather face Pacquiao on a big screen in a hotel bar or ballroom. Rates were lowered in the week leading up to the fight to end all fights. Fair enough, however, the bout broke records and as this writer can attest, Vegas was a madhouse.

This time, however, they skipped the drama in all its forms. Maybe they’ll skip even more as the weekend of the 12th nears. Additionally, how will the credentialing powers-that-be punish the critics of the bout or its contestants this time? Last April, many respectable boxing writers found themselves on the rejection side of obtaining a media pass to the event. Granted, tens of thousands of requests were received and in the midst of such queries were journalists who could not tell you the difference between a mouth guard and a crossing guard. More to the point, many of the usual suspects from boxing websites to major sports networks were denied access to the bout, most of them because they highlighted either Mayweather’s past transgressions or the shady practices of those behind the scenes.

It seemed that the greater the criticism, the icier the punishment. Much of the boxing media these days are made of up of fans who write and don’t get paid much, if at all for doing it. They can stay home for this one and maybe go bowling instead. The ones who report and contribute for a living are in for a treat akin to today’s healthcare system in America. It’s more than what you would want whether you asked for it or not. Still, we have our blue dots to keep us company, even though they look much better on ice cream.

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Andre Berto - September 12th Promo

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  1. Darrell 01:40pm, 08/15/2015

    An unashamed Mayweather admirer but this is a bit of a stinker.  Never mind, hoping it is setup for a May vs Golovkin/Thurman fight for 50-0…..well, against Thurman anyhow.

  2. The Ump 05:15pm, 08/10/2015

    I know Mayweather is CLAIMING that Berto will be his final fight.  Anyone who believes that probably believed him the other 3 times he announced one of his other “retirements.”  Forget whatever Floyd says.  Here is the truth:  Floyd hand picked 20th ranked welterweight Berto for his 49th victim because Floyd is tired of hearing from casual fans that his duck and cover, dance and hug defensive counter-punching style is boring.  Floyd knows that if Jesus Soto Karass can KO Berto, then so can he.  Floyd will KO Berto, then attempt to get a “rematch” with Manny.  As for being greater than Ali, Floyd should be ashamed of himself for even suggesting it.  Floyd is a tremendously skilled boxer with fast reflexes that lacks the heart and the courage of a great fighter or a great champion.  Anyone who claims differently knows not of what he speaks.

  3. AKT 03:40pm, 08/10/2015

    I just saw a clip where Floyd utterly disrespected the legacy of Muhammad Ali. Ali is not who he is only because he stood for a cause. Pre-Vietnam Ali was one the finest to ever lace ‘em up. Ever.

    I know he is probably trying to sell tickets, but there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:33pm, 08/10/2015

    This cynical POS knows that Berto has been softened up enough that even he will be able able to KO him….that’s the long and short of it. He should cough up some of his $300 million scam heist money and buy up all the empty seats and comp the Black Lives Matters wackos….Bernie Sanders will thank him….probably give him a hummer into the bargain.

  5. KB 08:40am, 08/10/2015

    ‘Whether it’s Mayweather vs. Berto, Pacquiao vs. Algieri, Kovalev vs. Mohammedi, or Golovkin vs. 95% of his resume–Cynical money grabs are always bad for boxing…period.’

  6. Anonymous 08:29am, 08/10/2015

    Not with Flomos and PacTards—never happen

  7. Clarence George 08:03am, 08/10/2015

    Mayweather-Pacquiao II might be all that’s needed to knock boxing off its walker.

  8. KB 07:37am, 08/10/2015

    IMO, I think what is being missed is that Mayweather has a monster fan base and its only concern is that he hits 49-0—regardless of how he does it. Then, he will have the conduit to 50-0 and arguably the biggest payday in boxing history depending on the opponent. A Pac rematch is not out of the question. Khan and Thurman also loom. After 50-0, he is done.

    None of this has anything to do with fan-friendly fighting and everything to do with money—pun intended.

  9. Clarence George 07:22am, 08/10/2015

    Mayweather does indeed think that “his job was to defeat Pacquiao and not necessarily provide an evening of entertainment.”  Whatever else boxing is (and whatever a boxer owes himself), it’s certainly a spectator sport.  But Mayweather couldn’t care less about boxing fans in general or his fans in particular.  Why he even has fans is a bit of a mystery.  Not a mystery but a question is how much money this ridiculous and pointless fight is going to make.  My God, just the idea of round after round of Pepe Le Pew (Berto) futilely chasing Penelope Pussycat (Mayweather), “la belle femme skunk fatale,” around the ring…I mean, who the hell is going to pay for that?  And why?

  10. Mike Casey 07:10am, 08/10/2015

    Bowling, eh Marc? Now there’s a cracking good idea. And I’ll have an ice cream to follow! Good article.

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