- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Although the deal is not quite finalized yet the fight between middleweight champion Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez, agreed to at a catchweight of 155 pounds, is ticketed for Nov. 21 (HBO PPV) at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, according to sources from both camps.
However, they are still haggling over a couple of small issues that have held up the announcement of the fight, which they had hoped would have been on Tuesday.
Nonetheless, the two outstanding issues are not related to the date and site, which have been agreed to after they sorted through the site offers.
One attractive one was from New York's Madison Square Garden for Nov. 21, which Cotto and Roc Nation liked best, and also put the fight on the date preferred by HBO, although Alvarez was less than enthusiastic given the bigger tax liability he would face in New York than in Nevada, where there is no state tax. Two other offers came from Las Vegas -- the MGM Grand for Nov. 7 and the Wynn in conjunction with the Thomas & Mack Center, which was the weakest offer but would have placed the fight on the better date, Nov. 21.
According to sources on both sides, Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs) and Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) were not thrilled about fighting at the MGM Grand because of the feeling that it is Floyd Mayweather's building. They both fought him there in mega fights and lost, and neither wanted to go to a place where his image (contractually) adorns a gigantic banner that hangs down the side of the building, as well as one where Mayweather's fight memorabilia is prominently displayed at the front door.
But MGM Grand executives very much want Cotto-Alvarez and a compromise was reached to hold the fight at Mandalay Bay, which is one of several Las Vegas Strip properties in the MGM Grand family. And the Mandalay Bay Events Center, which holds about 11,000 compared to 16,500 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, is also available on Nov. 21. That is going to be one seriously hot ticket.
The combination of the availability of Mandalay Bay, the MGM still being part of the event at its sister property and Golden Boy agreeing to guarantee Roc Nation the same revenue as it would have gotten from the bigger offer from Madison Square Garden got the site deal done.
Roc Nation Sports and Golden Boy like Nov. 21 in Las Vegas, in part, because the Latin Grammys will take place at the MGM Grand on Nov. 19, meaning thousands in their Hispanic target audience will already be in Las Vegas for the festivities.
Mandalay Bay has hosted numerous major fights over the years, including ones involving Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones Jr., Shane Mosley, Evander Holyfield, Wladimir Klitschko and Felix Trinidad, as well as two of the greatest fights in modern boxing history: Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo I and Marco Antonio Barrera-Erik Morales I. But Cotto-Canelo will be the biggest fight for Mandalay Bay since the 2002 junior middleweight unification fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas.