As we near the September 17 mega-event "Star Power: Mayweather vs. Ortiz" emanating from both the boxing capital of the world, Las Vegas, and the celebrity capital of the world, Los Angeles, the connection between the squared circle and the silver screen comes even more into focus.
This fight card is called "Star Power"and the eight fighters featured on the HBO Pay-Per-View televised event carry on the proud tradition of fighters rubbing elbows with Hollywood's elite, romancing stunning starlets and flashing smiles that can make female fans' knees buckle.
Atop the bill is Mayweather, who rocketed to A-list celebrity status when he competed on ABC's Dancing With The Stars in 2007. Claiming rapper and actor 50 Cent as one of his closest friends, Mayweather's fights regular draw ringside observers that include the likes of big name stars such as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Jay-Z and Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Sean Puffy Combs, Denzel Washington as well as top dollar athletes in Tiger Woods, David Beckham, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley. You name them, he pulls them.
Headlining the L.A. portion of the show is Canelo Alvarez, who was at one time engaged to model/actress/sports reporter Marisol Gonzalez. Alvarez's opponent is Alfonso Gomez who rose to fame with Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard by his side on the inaugural season of NBC's The Contender and, playing in the hip-hop/rock band Hy3rid, has straddled the fence between boxing and the entertainment industry ever since.
Canelo brings the added element of pop-idol-like appeal among female fight fans; crossing over to sex symbol status like no boxer has since Oscar De La Hoya (who just happens to be the promoter of "Star Power"). Once in a generation, if that, a fighter comes along who makes the girls shriek like something out of Beatles concert. Alvarez possesses that quality.
However, Canelo is far from the only fighter on this card with a fan base that includes the fairer sex. Mayweather's sparkling smile has caught the eye of the ladies since he rose to fame in his late teens, Ortiz has drawn comparisons to De La Hoya himself because of his good looks and the fighters who will open the pay-per-view broadcast, Jessie Vargas and Josesito Lopez, both have Latino heartthrob potential.
For all of the star fighters who've romanced in Hollywood circles, countless more have "bromanced" in those circles. Former light heavyweight champ Jose Torres was best friends with Ryan O'Neal (who starred in the 1979 boxing movie The Main Event). Sugar Ray Leonard palled around with many of Hollywood's heavy hitters and famously told Michael J. Fox, before anyone else, that he intended to come out of retirement and fight Marvin Hagler.
Tyson is now an actor of sorts himself, appearing in The Hangover and The Hangover 2, but long before that, he ran with many of the biggest names in television, film and music. In fact, his friendship with Tupac Shakur was the subject of a 2010 documentary entitled One Night In Vegas.
The connections between the worlds of boxing and entertainment are numerous, and they will be on display again when "Star Power" spans the distance from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Many of Tinseltown's top draws will be seated ringside at both MGM Grand and Staples Center. So much so that the ring announcers at the venues will likely spend as much time introducing the celebrities as they do the fighters.
HBO analyst Larry Merchant has famously referred to boxing as "the theater of the unexpected." What is not unexpected is that boxing will provide great theater, and attract the most famous names and faces from the celebrity world.
"Star Power: Mayweather vs. Ortiz" is a mega-event taking place on Saturday, Sept. 17 from two world-class cities with three world titles at stake. Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz will face off in a 12-round fight for Ortiz's WBC Welterweight Title from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Canelo Alvarez and Alfonso Gomez will do battle in a 12-round fight for Alvarez's WBC Super Welterweight Title from Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif.
Also live in Las Vegas, will be Erik Morales vs. Lucas Matthysse in a 12 round fight for the vacant WBC Super Lightweight Title and an opening fight featuring undefeated rising star Jessie Vargas against top contender Josesito Lopez. The mega event is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, DeWalt Tools and AT&T. Alvarez vs. Gomez is presented in association with Canelo Promotions and Morales vs. Matthysse is presented in association with Box Latino Promotions and Arano Box Promotions.
The HBO Pay-Per-View telecast beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 92 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View, a division of Home Box Office, Inc., is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For Mayweather vs. Ortiz fight week updates, log on to www.hbo.com.
Fans in the United Kingdom can watch the fight live on Primetime, channel 480 on Sky, Virgin on Demand and streamed live via the website primetimelive.co.uk at 2:00 a.m. BST (Sunday, September 18).
Tickets for Mayweather vs. Ortiz are priced at $1,250, $1,000 and $600, not including applicable service charges, with a total ticket limit of ten (10) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
Tickets for Alvarez vs. Gomez, priced at $300, $150, $75 and $50, are on sale now and available for purchase online at ticketmaster.com, via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone lines at (800)745-3000. Tickets are also available at Staples Center box office.
Seven of the MGM Resorts properties will host closed circuit viewing of "Star Power": Mayweather vs. Ortiz." Tickets for the closed circuit telecasts at all venues are priced at $50, not including handling fees. All seats will be general admission and are on sale now at each individual property's box office outlets or by phone with a major credit card at 866-799-7711. Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. Tickets for the viewings at MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay will also be available through Ticketmaster by calling (800) 745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
NCM Fathom will broadcast "Star Power: Mayweather vs. Ortiz" in high definition live to more than 380 movie theaters nationwide at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT. Tickets to see the fight on the big screen are available at participating theater box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com
Episode #2 of the all-access reality series "24/7 Mayweather/Ortiz" premieres Saturday, Sept. 3 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. Episode #1 is available at HBO ON DEMAND and HBO GO in addition to multiple replays on the network. The four-part series premieres on three consecutive Saturday nights before the finale airs the night before the welterweight championship showdown in Las Vegas.