Thursday, July 31, 2014
StubHub Center 'perfect fit' for Porter-Brook
By Dan Rafael
Shawn Porter will defend his welterweight title on Aug. 16 against Kell Brook in Carson, California.
Unless a promoter is being paid a site fee for a fight -- typically by a casino -- the promoter usually will look to hold the card in a venue where he can sell the most tickets and, thus, maximize revenue.
That's why, for example, Miguel Cotto fights in New York's Madison Square Garden so often, why Top Rank took lightweight titlist Terence Crawford home to Omaha for his first defense last month and why Golden Boy loads up its cards at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with New York fighters.
So when Golden Boy announced that its excellent Aug. 16 Showtime tripleheader would be at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, I was a bit surprised.
Don't get me wrong -- StubHub Center is one of the best boxing venues in the country. There have been numerous great fights there in its relatively short history.
But the Aug. 16 card features welterweight titlist Shawn Porter (from Akron, Ohio) against Kell Brook (England), super middleweight titlist Sakio Bika (Australia) against Anthony Dirrell (Flint, Michigan) and lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa (Weslaco, Texas) against Daniel Estrada (Mexico).
They are all solid and worthy matchups, but not a single bout has any local tie to Southern California and none of the fighters is a remotely notable ticket seller in the region.
So I asked Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya why he put the show in a place that didn't seem to make much sense given the composition of the card. I was not surprised when De La Hoya made the case for the StubHub Center, which is an outdoor tennis arena that holds about 8,000 for boxing.
"The StubHub Center was a perfect fit for this type of card," De La Hoya said. "As you know, StubHub Center has the reputation of staging some of the best fights in recent years. We saw [Robert] Guerrero and [Yoshihiro] Kamegai, which was a tremendous, tremendous fight [on June 21]. When putting this event together, the StubHub Center was the first choice. The fact that you have no local fighters does not matter.
"I feel that the fans in Los Angeles who will be attending are just accustomed to watching some great fights no matter where they're from, and the fact that the fighters will be performing at the StubHub Center, there's a bit of added pressure for every single fighter because you must perform. It reminds me kind of like the 'Thunderdome' movie with Mel Gibson. I mean, you have to fight there, you have to. The atmosphere is great. The fans are expecting great fights and I believe this is what Kell Brook and Shawn Porter and every fighter on the card will give us -- a tremendous, tremendous fight."
Indeed, the StubHub Center has been home to some modern classics besides Guerrero-Kamegai. It has also hosted such great fights as Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez I and III (the 2008 fight of the year), Timothy Bradley Jr.-Ruslan Provodnikov (the 2013 fight of the year), Lucas Matthysse-John Molina (a strong 2014 fight of the year contender), Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado I, Erislandy Lara-Alfredo Angulo and Marcos Maidana-Josesito Lopez (on the same card in June 2013) and Paul Williams-Antonio Margarito.
Here's hoping at least one of the fights on Aug. 16 joins that list.