The decision to delay Canelo Alvarez vs Sergey Kovalev for almost two hours while a UFC PPV main event played out has been panned by Floyd Mayweather’s advisor.
Leonard Ellerbe let rip on the fact fans who paid $400 plus to attend Canelo vs Kovalev at the MGM Grand were forced to wait for the card’s top attraction.
Canelo and Kovalev were ready to fight at 8:15pm local time and 11:15pm Eastern. Both then put their feet up and waited.
With UFC 244’s co-feature in progress which saw Darren Till and Kelvin Gastelum battle, Jorge Masvidal vs Nate Diaz was still some way off.
It ended up being a 100-plus minute stoppage for the event, which Dana White allowed to be screened at the venue after a last-minute phone call from Golden Boy.
Ellerbe aired his views on what transpired.
“That would have never happened with a Floyd/Showtime event. Never ever!”
Prior to that, Ellerbe had branded event ’embarrassing’ and stated he couldn’t ‘even imagine what both fighters are thinking’ as the pair lay on their respective couches in the dressing room.
Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza was even more critical. He questioned who gave it the green light.
“Stalling a Canelo fight so we can all sit in the arena and watch MMA on screens is insane.
“An insult to the sport of boxing in general and to Canelo & Kovalev in particular.
“Fans came to MGM to watch boxing. If they wanted to watch MMA, they would have stayed home and done so.”
Stalling a Canelo fight so we can all sit in the arena and watch MMA on screens is insane.
An insult to the sport of boxing in general & to Canelo & Kovalev in particular.
Fans came to MGM to watch boxing. If they wanted to watch MMA, they would have stayed home & done so.
— Stephen Espinoza (@StephenEspinoza) November 3, 2019
“8:45 pm PT/11:45 pm ET. Perfect time to move promptly into the main event….right? – 12:50 am ring walk?” – he added.
It ended up being 9:55pm before any sign of the fighters moving out of their dressing rooms became apparent. Fans were then treated to a trio of National Anthems before the ring walks.
At 10:15pm and 1:15am on the East Coast, the fight finally got underway.
Mike Tyson’s former trainer Teddy Atlas thought the whole thing was a farce.
“Bad decision by the brains at DAZN to disrespect the fans, the fighters, and the sport by waiting until the UFC fight was over before they let the fighters fight,” blasted Atlas.
Proof may be in the pudding for DAZN who will have to crunch the numbers of sign-ups once the dusted settles on Canelo’s late knockout victory.