Boxing: Brett Yormark

Yormark won't give up on getting Floyd

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
Floyd Mayweather Jr., Canelo AlvarezAP Photo/Eric JamisonBarclays CEO Brett Yormark has his sights set on Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Having come to know Nets and Barclays CEO Brett Yormark the tiniest bit over the past couple of years and getting a read on the man, how he operates and his drive to secure big deals, I had to assume that he didn't punch a wall when he was told that Floyd Mayweather would be fighting at the MGM Grand, and not Barclays Center, on May 3.

I chatted with Yormark on Thursday, a day after the boxing world learned that Mayweather, the 37-year-old undefeated specialist who is the most richly compensated athlete in the sports world, would be returning to his virtual home base, the MGM, to meet Marcos Maidana.

I jokingly asked Yormark if he pulled an Elvis, cocked a pistol and fired a round into his television when told that Barclays wouldn't be landing what he terms "the Super Bowl of boxing."

"I was a little disappointed," he allowed. "We came hard and strong with a great marketing and financing package," which he said is probably the largest offered to deliver any performer at any NYC venue. "But you can't make up for comfort and convenience. I think that ultimately swayed Mayweather and his team."

Yormark said he will attend the Mayweather bout in Vegas. And I'm pretty certain he will continue to press, politely but firmly, to land the next Mayweather fight, which will unfold in September.

"We're going to get the megafight one day," Yormark said. "We showed [Mayweather advisor] Al Haymon [and promoter] Richard Schaefer we mean business. We want to be the place for big-time fights."

The social media Einsteins assumed Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) would use the MGM as his staging ground for the ninth consecutive occasion, but Yormark said he was more than optimistic that Floyd & Co. would see the wisdom in freshening things up and come to the media and marketing capital of the planet, New York City.

"I thought we were going to get it. In my heart and gut, I thought we'd get it," the CEO admitted. "But it's only a matter of time 'til we get the big one."

Armchair analysts like to point out the supposedly onerous tax black clouds that hang over the heads of athletes and entertainers who come to New York to ply their trade, especially in comparison to a relative tax haven like Vegas. Yormark didn't want to delve into the specifics of the package and dissect what other issues, besides the comfort factor, that might have played into Team Mayweather's choice to stick to the tried and true. But from what I gather from speaking to other knowledgeable people who traffic in such matters, the revenue "lost" to the taxman could be recouped with a higher gate in NYC, as compared to Vegas. A must-see event in these parts attracts more financiers dollars, more wolves from Wall Street, if you like, which would be one way to diminish the sting of the handoff to the taxman, quite possibly.

Circling back to Yormark, I've seen in him the markings of a genial pit bull. He doesn't seem the sort to wallow in self-pity or admit defeat and shift gears toward another juicy score. I believe he has set his sights on landing a Mayweather fight. My opinion is that the MGM streak will be broken sooner rather than later and that "Money" will touch down and do his thing in Brooklyn.

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Barclays still trying to land Mayweather

January, 28, 2014
Jan 28
NEW YORK -- I like to think I have a solid B.S. detector and can tell pretty well when someone is turning on the charm for effect and deserves an Oscar. As I watched Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark work the room at Gleason's Gym in Dumbo on Monday -- and greet many of the boxers who will glove up at Barclays on a Golden Boy card Thursday night -- I didn't sense any fluff.

The guy lit up with a grin as he grabbed the hand of locals like Marcus Browne, the Olympian from Staten Island who looks to go to 9-0 on Thursday.

"Yep, that guy has a gift for that," I found myself thinking as I checked out Yormark doing grin-and-greets, including headliners Victor Ortiz of California and Luis Collazo of Brooklyn, who top the card in a welterweight tangle. Could that gift, I wondered, extend to landing a Super Bowl of boxing, of sorts: a Floyd Mayweather bout in Brooklyn?

I posed that question to the Barclays day-to-day boss. Is Floyd coming to Brooklyn for his next bout in May, or the one after that, in September? Or beyond?

"We made our desire, to have Mayweather fight at Barclays, pretty public," he told me. "We've made a very strong pitch to Richard Schaefer and the folks at Golden Boy about our increasing interest in making sure we can showcase the Super Bowl of boxing. We're in the big-event business, and we want it. We've gotten buy-in from ownership to make it happen. They understand the commitment that needs to be made. Given what we're trying to build here, given the size and magnitude of our market, given Madison Avenue, given some of the storylines we can create, we think that the Barclays Center would be very appealing to Floyd Mayweather and to Golden Boy. I feel pretty good about it, that at some point in time we'll host a megafight like that. It's really in their camp to make that decision, and, hopefully, they make the right one."

Nattering nabobs of negativism on Twitter like to point out that Vegas and the MGM is Floyd's place and playground and that Vegas has an edge with all those empty hotel rooms they can fill up at a cut rate. What does Yormark think of that critique?

"We've countered any and all objections to make Barclays a feasible venue for Floyd," he said. "I think everyone is comfortable with the plan. Now they just have to decide what's in the best interest for Floyd Mayweather and, hopefully, they see the value in what we can do."

Interestingly, for all the mega-gigs Barclays has hosted, the Jay Z shows, the Video Music Awards and the like, Yormark referred to a Mayweather appearance as being "on a whole 'nother level."

Pretty strong language and a strong pat on the back for that "diminishing niche sport," I think.

Showtime, HBO both have boxing Dec. 7

October, 8, 2013
Fight fans, fire up the DVRs, because we have a dueling dates situation emerging, on Dec. 7.

Showtime will present fights taking place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn that evening, and HBO will also put on a show, topped by a Guillermo Rigondeaux title defense against Ghana-born Bronx resident Joseph Agbeko. Top Rank will lead the Atlantic City promotion, which will unfold most likely at Boardwalk Hall's intimate theater.

The Barclays card is still in a state of flux, though it is getting close to being fully firmed up. Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza told me that it is looking like an NYC duel between Bensonhurt's Paul Malignaggi and Brownsville's Zab Judah in a welterweight clash will be the main event, while a title defense by WBA interim welterweight champion Keith Thurman against journeyman-turned-contender Jesus Soto Karass will be chief support.

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Yormark pitches Mayweather-to-Brooklyn

September, 24, 2013
The "boxing is dead" bunch got a kick in the groin on Sept. 14, when Floyd Mayweather took on Canelo Alvarez at the MGM Grand and more than 2.2 million households ponied up to watch the 12-round Mayweather master class unfold on pay-per-view.

If we're measuring the vitality of a business with a dollars and sense metric, and we usually do, the Mayweather-Canelo tussle was a Powerball home run, as it set a new mark as the highest-grossing PPV ever, generating $150 million plus.

The naysayers will counter that Mayweather is the "last star" and the sport will fall off a cliff and turn to a skeleton in a graveyard next to horse racing when he exits the scene. They'll stick to their rigid stance of negatavism, showing their ignorance of the time-honored tradition of the birthing of new megastars to replace the old ones. I semi-respectfully disagree with their reasoning, which is myopic at best. Sounds to me like the CEO of Barclays Center and the Nets, Brett Yormark, is in my camp. Yormark chatted with NYFightblog on Monday morning, and sounded beyond upbeat about the state of the sport, especially within the sphere of the five boroughs.

You'll recall that Yormark flew to Vegas to begin setting the table for a pitch to bring the next Floyd Mayweather fight to Barclays, so I asked him for an update on that junket.

"I'm a big-event guy," Yormark told me. "Do I want to do the Super Bowl of boxing here? Darn right I do. And I will work tirelessly to convince promoter Golden Boy and any other partner that a Mayweather fight could be that much bigger, in the biggest city, New York. In Vegas, I made it known my interest. His nickname is "Money," well, "Money" needs to come to the money city. Mayweather transcends boxing, everywhere I went in Vegas and on the way, people were talking about the fight, and I think people who attended will look back at the event, and say, 'I was there.' "

Yormark said he will be putting together a pitch within a month for Team Mayweather and Golden Boy which will play up the success Barclays has enjoyed, like the buzz pop (including a 66% year-over-year ratings jump) the Video Music Awards received when they unfurled at Barclays on Aug. 25.

"It's about building the story," the Barclays boss said, when asked about the critics who say that the revenue derived from the gaming upsurge a Mayweather-in-Vegas bout spurs means Floyd will never fight outside Nevada. "The money will work itself out. The overall package will excite people. We have Madison Avenue, we have the talk shows, we have the media, things Vegas doesn't have. And I love Vegas. I was there for the fight, and I want to bring the next Mayweather fight here to New York, to Brooklyn, and have it be an 'I was there' event."

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Yormark wants Mayweather in Brooklyn

September, 13, 2013
The word out of Las Vegas, ahead of Saturday's clash between Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez, is that the scene is hectic and electric. Promoter Golden Boy is expecting the clash to draw the most pay-per-view revenue ever, surpassing the $132 million collected for the 2007 Mayweather fight against Oscar De La Hoya. Yes, the boxing business isn't dead, apparently; or, at the very least, the Mayweather business is flourishing. The 36-year-old will make a guaranteed $41.5 million, plus a massive bonus, depending upon how well the pay-per-view broadcast does.

Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark would like to bring some of that boxing buzz to New York for Mayweather's next bout. A source tells that Yormark flew to Las Vegas on Friday and will be a guest of promoter Golden Boy at the fight. "He is determined to get Mayweather's next fight for Barclays Center in Brooklyn," the source said.

Yormark will also meet with some of the Golden Boy fighters who have been showing off their skills in the arena, like welterweight Paul Malignaggi and middleweights Peter Quillin and Danny Jacobs, three New York-bred pugilists. "Yormark is not going to stop until he gets the Mayweather fight," the source said, in closing.

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B-Hop named Barclays boxing ambassador

July, 24, 2013
Boxing's ageless wonder, Bernard Hopkins, can add a new tag to his collection.

Hopkins, the 48-year-old light heavyweight champion who holds the mark for being the oldest human to win a world title, has been named "goodwill ambassador" of the boxing program at Barclays Center.

The IBF champion, a Philadelphia native, has a story which transcends sports. He is perhaps the best-known success story coming out of Graterford State Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania, where he served 56 months for armed robbery. After his release in 1988, Hopkins turned pro and has made good on his vow to never return to lockup.

Now an executive with Golden Boy Promotions, Hopkins (53-6-2) will serve as a spokesperson at Barclays Center fight cards and appear at news conferences and boxing community clinics in the city. The fighter will also do meet-and-greets with Barclays Center customers and business development meetings.

"I'm honored to represent Barclays Center," Hopkins told NYFightblog after he finished presiding over Golden Boys' Manhattan presser to announce an Aug. 19 card in NYC. "At this stage of my career, I have more time to do things such as this assignment than physically fight. I'm excited."

He understands the potential influence he could have with some at-risk kids who have been written off by authority figures. "I was labeled unfixable," said the boxer, who will soon begin to prep for an Oct. 19 title defense against Karo Murat in Atlantic City. "I will be able to reach kids that are difficult. You are going to lose some, but you have to give the message, and you hope they listen."

Barclays CEO Brett Yormark told NYFightblog that he believes Hopkins can be integral in continuing to build a base of boxing fans in Brooklyn and beyond. "We've introduced boxing to the community and wanted to take that a step further," he said. "It's important to have Bernard as an ambassador, as a face for the program. I think he's a wonderful spokesperson and I'm honored to have him with us."

My take: Barclays is on a roll; it is the top-grossing U.S. venue in the last six months for concerts and family shows, according to Billboard, and is No. 2 worldwide in gross ticket sales revenue ($46.9 million), behind The O2 in the UK. The Barclays crew is optimistic it will get the nod to re-develop the Nassau Coliseum, and see Hopkins as a building block to reinvigorate boxing on Long Island if that comes to fruition.

The Hopkins-as-ambassador-role was by no means a no-brainer. Hopkins is unafraid to speak truth to power, and sends the occasional shot-across-the-bow to people he thinks lack wisdom or integrity, and doesn't flinch on taking on nuclear issues, like race in America. Some could see his flashes of candor as a turnoff, but the Barclays bunch apparently sees it as an asset, which reflects a certain admirable boldness on their part.

The case for a Malignaggi-Broner rematch

July, 12, 2013
Paulie Malignaggi, Adrien Broner Al Bello/Getty ImagesCould we see a Paulie Malignaggi and Adrien Broner rematch sometime in the future?
Paulie Malignaggi, many smart and studied boxing folks said leading up to his June 22 clash with Adrien Broner, was quite likely to get steamrolled into oblivion at the Barclays Center. Broner -- the younger, stronger, faster fighter -- would be a bridge too far for the Brooklyn-bred Malignaggi, who turns 33 in November. The fight itself would be simply a formality, a torch-wresting exercise, they reasoned.

It didn't play out that way, as is often the case.

Then-welterweight titlist Malignaggi didn't disgrace himself in the least and proved he wasn't in over his head against a man tabbed by some as a leading contender to be the sport's top performer within a few years. One judge, Tom Miller, was taken with Malignaggi's showing, especially his volume edge, and scored the fight for the vet 115-113. He was outvoted by Tom Schreck (117-111) and Glenn Feldman (115-113), who both decided Broner's power edge spoke louder than Paulie's busy work.

In the week after the bout, Team Malignaggi litigated the scrap, making their case that Broner didn't win and in fact was exposed as an overhyped attraction, and pushed for a rematch.

Malignaggi adviser Anthony Catanzaro makes some solid points when he lobbies for a rematch:

It was a success at the gate, with 11,461 fight fans showing up at Barclays Center to take in the card that night, he pointed out. Also, the headline clash drew a peak of 1.3 million viewers during the broadcast on Showtime, he noted. Since Showtime began tracking individual fights in 2009, Broner-Malignaggi is its second highest-rated bout, trailing only Austin Trout's victory over Miguel Cotto in December. This being the boxing business, that the fight did well in that arena looms large. Money and eyeballs were generated, which has to factor into a decision to do it again.

"It was a very entertaining fight that Paulie won, so why not?" Catanzaro said to NYFightBlog.

Barclays and Nets CEO Brett Yormark told me he thought Malignaggi won as well, so Catanzaro has good backup to point to.

I'd be curious to see what Malignaggi could and would do differently in a sequel. From my semi-expert seat, I think he'd have to at least consider factoring in that many, if not most, judges prize power over volume and might have to alter his strategy to attack the body and sub in more head shots. That could open him up to fire and potentially make a more explosive, and less tactical, bout.

What are your thoughts?
Madison Square Garden can certainly boast about their pugilistic legacy.

Yes, it could be argued that they are in flux, as they might have to rebuild the building to comply with the New York City Planning Commission's order to improve Penn Station, but the Garden's supporters can always boast that MSG hosted the single most anticipated boxing event of all the ages, the first clash between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, on March 8, 1971.

Some would argue that the Garden of today could be compared to a late-era Ali, perhaps slightly distracted by a myriad of deals and balls in the air, but still, Ali was Ali, and could never be dismissed as a shoe-in to stumble on the big stage.

And when Floyd Mayweather was in town last week, in Times Square, on the first leg of his promo tour to tout his Sept. 14 scrap with Canelo Alvarez, he was asked about maybe fighting at MSG, and teased the crowd, asking if they'd like to see him fight at MSG. The reputation still stands.

MSG also could counter the Barclays-Ratner-Yormark bid of their non-exclusivity, having hosted cards put on by Top Rank -- the bitter rival to Barclays favorite Golden Boy -- as well as Golden Boy, and Main Events, in the last seven months.

Word is at the re-done Coliseum they'd do bigger boxing shows in a proposed 14,500 shed, and smaller boxing events in a 1,700 setup.

Yormark, though, during our chat, kept coming back to Barclays' grassroots efforts to nourish boxing, and he thinks that effort is a differentiator in the bidding.

"Having Zab Judah, 'Kid Chocolate' Peter Quillin, Danny Jacobs and Wladimir Klitschko, as well as Floyd Mayweather, for our most recent show means we're doing something here," he said. "We feel boxing out on Long Island can also be terrific."

As a pot sweetener, Yormark said the Ratner-Yormark team wants to build some "legacy moments," along the lines of Jay Z's eight-night sellout string to open Barclays last year, to excite the masses about the spiffed up Coliseum, should their bid be the victor. "We want to close the building dramatically with a once-in-a-lifetime concert to get things moving forward and help people anticipate wonderful things, and then re-open with another concert that truly embraces the community," he said. Asked who could headline to bring max buzz, he said, "We want someone highly connected to Long Island."

My take: I root for the overall health and well-being of the sport I cover and respect so much. Whoever is best positioned and committed to building the brand of boxing, I approve of their efforts and actions. We're in the championship rounds, the bids are being examined; we shall see who has their hand raised by July 15, and gets to activate their vision for the Coliseum.

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Yormark: Boxing would be key in Coliseum

July, 3, 2013
Brooklyn is a busy borough, one that brings plenty of attributes to the table.

Long Island doesn't have that same cachet, and so I wonder if the Barclays Center crew could in fact replicate their success in Brooklyn on the island.

During a recent interview, Barclays Center and Nets CEO Brett Yormark had the same tone as he had in 2010, when I betrayed a slight degree of skepticism that a renovated building could in fact attract enough boxing fans regularly to make boxing a worthy building block.

"There's a play out there on Long Island for everything we do here, be it boxing, college basketball, [pro wrestling], concerts and so forth," he said.

Yormark said his group has received commitments for more than 200 events in the first year of the rehabbed coliseum, and they plan to host more than 300 events annually there. He said that their research shows eight percent of Nets fans come to Brooklyn from Long Island, and only 13 percent of people attending non-Nets events are from L.I., so that speaks to the room for expansion.

And what role would boxing have at the Barclays-run coliseum?

Yormark said his partner Golden Boy Promotions has committed to bringing some of their shows in the theater. Yormark also hopes to "accommodate some bigger fights there." In addition, he'd like to have Golden Boy put some non-televised cards in that theater, to give the local fighters more reps.

Long Island boxing isn't in a horrid place, with Coram, N.Y. native Jamel Herring's 4-0 record as a pro after making the 2012 USA Olympic squad, and Chris Algieri, a 16-0 junior welterweight, building a fan base on cards run by Joe DeGuardia. But neither man would fill the big, refurbished room. Still, former heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney, who was a certified attraction on Long Island and currently co-hosts a Sirius radio boxing program along with partner Randy Gordon, says it could sustain a regular boxing program.

"Hell yeah," said Coooney, a 56-year-old Huntington, N.Y. product who retired with a 28-3 mark in 1990. "You've got some good kids there. Boxing as a sport has corrected itself, put better fights on. MMA snuck in there and that forced boxing to put on more competitive fights."

He cited his 1980 Nassau Coliseum fight with Ron Lyle, a first-round KO win, as a career highlight. "It can be better than ever," he said.

No surprise, the Madison Square Garden group likes their chances to snag the coliseum and put their stamp on it. A Garden spokesman offered this statement to NYFightblog when asked about their bid: “Madison Square Garden has been the longtime Mecca of boxing. We have terrific relationships with all of the top boxing promoters and, as part of our plan to create a thriving sports and entertainment destination on Long Island, look forward to leveraging those strong relationships, along with our expertise, to deliver boxing excitement to the Nassau Coliseum.”

The Garden's bid is a $250 million package, and they are playing up an Islander-themed sports bar in a nod to acknowledging the Isles' import.
Check back for the final part of this package, which includes Yormark's desire to both close and re-open the "Barclays" Coliseum in grand fashion...

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The jousting between Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden resonates as a significant tussle between industry giants. They've been competing for content and buzz of late, and now they are going head-to-head on a mega-million dollar project on Long Island.

Barclays Center wants to renovate the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which opened its doors in Uniondale, N.Y., in 1972. For the past 10 years, plans have been hatched to refurbish the building, which is home to the NHL Islanders. It looks like this time the overhaul will get beyond the conception stage. There are four bidders to helm the project, and the two heavyweights, Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center, are each touting their bids. (Along with MSG and Barclays Center, Blumenfeld Development Group and New York Sports & Entertainment, LLC of Long Island, are in contention to present the most promising package by July 15.)

I sat down with Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark last week, and the 46-year-old executive told me why he thought the Barclays crew, which boasts the presence of Barclays developer Bruce Ratner, was the right group to refashion the Coliseum. Yormark said that if Nassau County executive Edward Mangano and the county legislature accept the Barclays bid, boxing would be a hallmark of the renovated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, much in the same way it is at Barclays.

"We've been able to do exactly what we hoped for when we opened Barclays Center and more, and that's to bring an incredible sport, boxing, back to Brooklyn, where it has a heritage, and have it flourish," Yormark said. "And in less than a year, we've been able to do that, bring an incredible sport back to Brooklyn where it has heritage. We feel there is an opportunity to take what we're doing here and replicate it in Long Island."

The Barclays package is slated at $229 million, which includes a retail component, a movie theater, restaurants and an ice rink in the winter. They are touting their team, which includes concert giant Live Nation, rapper Jay-Z and his Roc Nation company, and the architects and designers who conceived of the Barclays structure. Seating capacity at the overhauled Coliseum would be 13,000, and there would be an inside theater, which could house smaller events with seating in the 4,000-8,000 range.

I asked Yormark if there is a danger the Barclays bid doesn't get embraced because of lingering resentment that the Islanders, owned by Charles Wang, will leave Long Island and make their home at Barclays Center when their lease is up in 2015.

"I don't think so," he said. "Had Barclays not stepped up, chances were Charles Wang could have left the entire market. We plan to put six regular-season games out there. I hear from fans who are ecstatic that the Islanders will still be connected to the community. The decision will come down to who can execute, who can deliver ... and we think we've exceeded everyone's expectations."

Check back later today for specifics on how much boxing we would see at the revamped Coliseum and learn why the MSG people think their bid is best.

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Boxing at Barclays has quieted critics

July, 2, 2013
Back in July 2010, when the people from the Brooklyn arena that hadn't been built yet, Barclays Center, announced they were getting into boxing, with an exclusive deal with California-based Golden Boy Promotions, it's fair to say the reaction wasn't shock, awe and optimism across the board.

After all, the topic was boxing, that much-maligned throwback sport whose best days were in the rearview mirror of the Camaro. A niche sport, they sniffed, relevant once or twice a year -- and probably for not that much longer, once Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao packed it in.

I confess, I had doubts myself, whether the NYC region would sustain the demand for regular dates at the Barclays Center. At the time, I recall asking Brett Yormark, the CEO of Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets, if the arena would have a micro-arena built, a theater to accommodate 5,000 or so fans, max. The implication of my question was clear: I don't think you can find enough boxing fans to fill up the barn on a regular basis. He assured me then that there would be no mini arena and that the fans would come.

Fast forward to today; I admit my skepticism was misguided. Barclays and Golden Boy has put on four boxing shows, the most recent one taking place on June 22, topped by a Paulie Malignaggi-Adrien Broner welterweight tussle. The attendance for each event has been healthy, and 11,461 people watched Broner take a split decision from the Brooklyn native.

I sat down last week for a chat with Yormark and asked him to reflect on the journey, getting boxing back to being more of focal point, not just a side dish, in the region.

"In some respects I feel vindicated," he said. "We've been able to do exactly what we hoped for, and more, and that's to bring an incredible sport back to Brooklyn, where it has a heritage, and have it flourish. And in less than a year we've been able to do that."

The grumblers, the tear-down artists, were out in force at the start. Boxing debuted on Oct. 20, 2012 at Barclays, and the "I told you so" crowd noted that they saw ticket markdowns and package deals available everywhere in the weeks leading up to opening night. They cited that as proof the endeavor would fail. In fact, audience response has been quite respectable, Yormark said. The first show drew 11,112; the second, on March 9, 2013 drew 12,293; the third, on April 27, drew 13,048. All the main events and select undercard bouts were televised on Showtime.

Critics mumble under their breathe that those figures represent a large dose of "comps," or freebies, to paper the house. Not so, Yormark told me.

"We did not comp," he said. "We're not comping. There are very few comps. The first two fights we discounted probably a little more than we wanted to, but we have not comped. We don't believe in comping here. One of the things we had to learn, we had to learn price it right, and in the last two fights, I think we really priced it right."

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Floyd Mayweather showed up at Barclays Center last Saturday and took in the main event, a welterweight scrap between Adrien Broner and Brooklyn's own Paul Malignaggi, and drew one of the loudest cheers of the night when his face was shown on the giant screen.

This was no given, as Mayweather's detractors often outnumber his devotees at public appearances.

[+] Enlarge Floyd Mayweather
AP Photo/Rick BowmerFloyd Mayweather Jr. is the sport's current pound-for-pound king.
A not-uncommon reaction that night: Wouldn't it make sense for Floyd, who gloves up Sept. 14 in Las Vegas against Canelo Alvarez, to do one of his fights in Brooklyn at Barclays Center?

It turns out that sentiment is shared by high-level suits at Barclays. I reached out to Barclays, and a source there told me the thunderous reaction to the sport's top draw was an immediate catalyst to explore how to get Mayweather to fight at the arena.

On fight night, Mayweather sat with Barclays Center and Nets CEO Brett Yormark, and he met the man responsible for bringing the much-buzzed-about arena to Brooklyn, Bruce Ratner.

Ratner, I am told, has become much more of a fight fan since Barclays started hosting cards put together by Golden Boy last October, and could be open to helping bring "Money" to BK.

"There is certainly interest in both the ownership and the building to bring Floyd here," the Barclays source told me.

In the past, one hurdle to bringing Mayweather, the top earner last year in sports, has been the tax structure in New York state. Entertainers get a chunk taken from their earnings in New York, as opposed to in, say, Las Vegas, where they are not taxed. When you make around $30 million a fight, as Mayweather does, that becomes a consideration.

Somehow, that tax issue would likely have to be massaged, or worked around, for Mayweather to agree to hit Brooklyn for a bout.

Money aside, one could see other compelling reasons to lure Mayweather to Brooklyn. Among them: Floyd fights the second bout in a six-fight deal with Showtime in September. His foe, Alvarez, is probably the most anticipated of fighters from the opponent pool of those likely to get a shot against the mouthy 44-0 hitter. A fight with Broner would garner great buzz, and that could build into a high-demand option, but it isn't yet ... and besides that, Broner said he respects Floyd and wouldn't take the challenge even for $20 million.

So a Floyd fight in New York would add another level of buzz and hype that could serve to aid any promotion, even one featuring a "B side" that doesn't excite the majority of boxing fans.

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Welcome to Hopkins-Cloud fight week

March, 5, 2013
One day, the theory goes, he will turn old, in the ring, in front of our eyes. That may be, but I will not be the one to predict that Bernard Hopkins will look anything like a typical 48-year-old when he fights Tavoris Cloud in the main event of the Golden Boy show running Saturday (March 9) at Barclays Center.

Predicting that Hopkins (52-6-2) will lose, that he will finally revert to form typical of a non-marvel, didn't serve me well when I figured that young Kelly Pavlik's punching power would spell doom for B-Hop back in October 2008, in Atlantic City. Hopkins showed Pavlik tricks of the trade the Ohioan couldn't decipher, and won a unanimous decision, and a promise from me that I'd never again bet against him.

The oddsmakers like the 24-0 Cloud, age 31, to get the better of Hopkins in Brooklyn, but I recall how much trouble the Don King-promoted boxer had with Gabriel Campillo, a smart pugilist, when they clashed Feb. 18, 2012. I had Campillo winning that bout, but alas, the judges didn't. I see Hopkins, even a 48-year-old Hopkins, with one or two more gray hairs than he had in his last fight, a majority decision loss to Chad Dawson last April, as being a grade above Campillo as an ace pugilist, and wouldn't dare pick Cloud to beat him.

NYFightblog will check in with Hopkins and Cloud today (Tuesday) while they work out in Brooklyn, at Gleason's. Then, we'll cover the final presser on Wednesday for the Saturday show, which will unfold on HBO (9:30 p.m. start). Keith Thurman meets Jan Zaveck to open the show on the tube.

Fight fans can get a closer look at all the principals at the weigh-in Friday, which is open to the public. That will take place at Barclays Center (Atlantic and Flatbush), with doors opening at 12:30 p.m.

Tickets for the show, which starts at 5 p.m. ET, are priced at $200, $100, $85, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes and service charges, and are available for purchase at, , the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center, all Ticketmaster locations or by calling 800-745-3000.

Malignaggi, Jacobs work out at Gleason's

October, 9, 2012

Boxing will debut at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Oct. 20, and the press is on to spread the word about the show, which is topped, nominally, by a Danny Garcia-Erik Morales rematch, but in reality, by the New Yorkers who are fighting on the card, and the building in which the fights will be fought.

Golden Boy Promotions, the entity headed by Oscar De La Hoya, is promoting the card at the 675,000-square-foot venue. Golden Boy gathered up Brooklyners Paul Malignaggi (who fights Pablo Cano in the first defense of his WBA welterweight title) and Danny Jacobs -- in his first fight back after beating back cancer, and a tumor which wrapped itself around his spine -- and had them work out at Gleason's Gym on Tuesday.

A cluster of media and fighters formed around Malignaggi when he entered gym; the 31-year-old who now lives in L.A. quickly spotted and greeted Jacobs, age 25, who now lives in Park Slope. They both smiled widely when Brett Yormark, the Barclays Center CEO, approached them. Malignaggi lifted his shirt to show his six pack and prove to Yormark that he was close to being at the welterweight limit.

NYFightBlog queried the Bensonhurst-bred boxer as he shadow-boxed a few rounds and kept a sweat going after skipping rope. He admitted that he would like to steal the show from the headline bout, but will take care not to get distracted, and try to over-impress the audience. He expects hundreds of friends, family and rooters to be in the building, which will be set up to seat about 16,000, according to Golden Boy COO David Itskowitch, who oversaw the press gathering.

One of the game's most persistent and effective self-promoters, Malignaggi was asked if he would once again Tweet during his fight, as he did on April 29, in the Ukraine, when he beat Viacheslav Senchenko and won his crown. "I will try," he said, while throwing one-twos during his shadow-box session. "I always want to be entertaining."

Malignaggi touched down in NYC on Saturday and took part in the NYC Columbus Day parade on Monday. He said camp went well and he is ready to show the 23-year-old Cano his skill set. "I'm tired of training," he said. "I want to fight."

Danny Jacobs, who grew up in Brownsville, the neighborhood in Brooklyn which boasts alumni like Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe and Zab Judah, admitted that he didn't know all that much about his foe for the night, 13-1 Missourian Josh Luteran. "I've seen a couple of tapes. I know his name is Josh something," the 22-1 fighter said, with his often-present accompanying grin.

Jacobs expects to be emotional on fight night, he said, as he has not fought since March 2011, because he was diagnosed with cancer after that, and the disease left him paralyzed for a spell, and near death. "I told my girlfriend that I may fight some tears," he said. "It has been an emotional roller coaster."

And what should Luteran expect from Jacobs after such a lengthy layoff, during which time he had to fight harder than he had during his tenure as a celebrated amateur (which included four N.Y. Golden Gloves titles) and professional? "He should expect to feel my year-and-a-half of frustration," he said, again breaking in to a wide smile.

Yormark said he expects the building, which just enjoyed eight sold-out nights from Nets partial owner Jay Z, to be a stellar venue for boxing. He said that the first Nets practice, on Sunday, indicated to him that the new building will provide an intimate atmosphere, which will heighten the drama of the fighting. Itskowitch said the next boxing date at Barclays is still being discussed, and January is a strong possibility.

Check back on the NYFightBlog for more on Jacobs as he opens up about his cancer battle, and more from Itskowitch, who talked about what might come next for the principals on the show.