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Selling the Mayweather vs. Mosley Fight

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The Floyd Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley May 1 fight in Las Vegas is "historic" according to the hype. That was made clear at the fight's press conference in Los Angeles on Thursday when various promoters likened it to Ali vs. Foreman or one of numerous Sugar Ray Leonard classics.

And they said it with a straight face. Among those spouting the hyperbole was the president of Golden Boy Promotions, the home of Sugar Shane Mosley and a former fighter himself. You might know him, Oscar De La Hoya? He lost to both of the contestants in this mega-fight and now promotes one and has an interest in the other if and when he fights Manny Pacquiao.

As if that weren't enough, De La Hoya and his fellow exec at Golden Boy, Richard Schaefer told the assembled crowd (the presser was open to the public) that this kind of fight only comes along once in a generation. But it wasn't over yet, not even close.

De La Hoya announced that

"You have the two best fighters on the planet today fighting on May 1."

That's where the cringing started and the crowd didn't react as I'm sure he had hoped. No one booed or threw things but there was no particularly positive reaction either. Among the assembled media we looked at each other and just rolled our eyes.

The elephant in the room was the name that was never spoken: Manny Pacquiao. Even Floyd Mayweather must have felt obliged to make some reference to why he was fighting Mosley in Vegas rather than Pacquiao in Dallas next weekend.

Mayweather is a crusader now. He's fighting for truth, justice and clean boxing. He gratuitously threw out the following,

I'm trying to clean up my sport", Floyd said. "That is why we are both (he and Mosley) taking random urine and blood tests.

The stated goal of the promotion companies is to sell three million pay-per-views for this fight. That would blow away anything numbers Pacquiao has pulled in for his bouts and surely will be used in any new negotiations between the Mayweather and Manny camps. Maybe they are thinking of trading the demand for blood testing for a larger share of the gross revenue rather than the 50/50 split.

To accomplish the PPV goal the hype and talking points were added to the Procter & Gamble-like marketing plan outlined by Schaefer. Pay-per-view discounts are available with the purchase of six and twelve-packs of Tecate beer and De Walt power tools sold at Home Depot. They've already got a soap opera up and running so why not use consumer products to sell it. Hey, it's historic, right?

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