“He’s a great hero,” said Alvarez, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico. “This is how boxing is. I have to accept it.”
Álvarez’s relatively small guarantee also indicated that DAZN, the live-streaming service that broadcasts the match, and Matchroom, the promotional team that organized the event, expected strong pay-per-view sales, which in turn would boost Alvarez’s payday.
It was difficult to gauge consumer interest in the event in advance.
Pictures of Alvarez and Bevol plastered on the Las Vegas Strip in the days leading up to the match, sidewalks are dotted with peddlers fighting merchandise — T-shirts, Alvarez headbands, miniature boxing gloves in the colors of the Mexican flag. On Friday afternoon, a crowd of boxing fans, mostly Alvarez supporters, packed the plaza outside the T-Mobile Arena.
But the crowd inside the building on Saturday night didn’t threaten the venue’s attendance record – 20,062 for the Ultimate Fighting Championship between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier in July 2021. The audience yawned through plenty of bottom cards, and they whistled scornfully as Montana Love beat Gabriel Goolas by decision in the co-main event. At times they were so quiet, helicopters could be heard flying over the surface of the arena.
The loudest applause on the bottom card came as Alvarez made his way to the ring, wearing a bright pink tracksuit with silver zippers and laces, with Alvarez’s initials printed on one side, and the Dolce & Gabbana logo on the other.
By 8:30 p.m., when Bevol’s first cornerstone entered the ring to wait for their fighter, two sections in the lower bowl of the arena contained patches of vacant seats, which filled up within minutes. When the ring announcer, David Diamant, took the microphone and walked toward the ring, the upper deck was still only half full.
They got something out of the ordinary on Saturday night: a scene of Alvarez taking on a real challenge instead of being the sport’s biggest star in his usual dominant show. Bevol, with his victory, became the first man in a long time to make Alvarez rethink his method plans.
“Twitter expert. Incurable beeraholic. Subtly charming internet ninja. Typical web enthusiast.”