UFC on FOX 5 marks the point where the UFC finally figured out how to properly matchmake their big FOX cards. The last UFC on FOX had Shogun vs Brandon Vera. Compare that to this card, which has Shogun vs Gustaffson, Henderson vs Diaz for the lightweight strap, and BJ Penn vs Rory MacDonald. Now that’s a line up! It balances amazing fights with star power in what will surely mean ratings gold for the promotion. Unless some kind of competition comes along and screws everything up. Competition like a Manny Pacquaio fight?
Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times reports that we’re getting close to having a finalized Manny Pacquiao fight for late this year, and that it’s come down to two possible opponents: Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley. This is no surprise now, given that Miguel Cotto has announced a December 1 fight against Austin Trout.
Pacquiao is officially fighting on December 8, in Las Vegas, most likely at the MGM Grand. Marquez has reportedly come close to landing the fight recently, but Bradley is still there waiting, ready to to go. There is unfinished business in both matchups, as Marquez felt robbed last November against Pacquiao, and Pacquiao felt robbed in June against Bradley.
Also in the running: Floyd Mayweather, although I take any mention of that fight as mere lip service with no real possibility of occuring. But wouldn’t that be a kick in the teeth? It would be like 50 Olympics or 1000 Avengers or 5000 whatever else the UFC is currently blaming their shit numbers on.
It’s kinda funny how when the UFC schedules a big fight on the same night as a boxing event, it’s portrayed as a complimentary thing setting up a full night of graet combat sports action for fans. Yet when boxing puts one of their cards on a date with a big UFC event, we all suck in our breath and worry about the effect. Goes to show you how counter-promoting can be good or bad or just a wild card variable you don’t need when desperately trying to show you can rake in primetime network ratings.
In the end, I don’t expect this to negatively hit UFC numbers. As usual, Manny Paquiao won’t even begin his march to the ring before midnight, after the UFC’s event ends. No one else in the boxing world is going to be able to compete with the buffet of amazing talent UFC on FOX 5 is delivering. The UFC won’t be able to blame boxing if the ratings come back flat on this one. Unless Floyd Mayweather steps up and fights Pacquaio. In which case you can forget about the UFC pulling any oxygen out of that weekend. Hell, they’ll be lucky if they get many mentions during the month.