Marc Ratner: ‘Biggest Event In Boxing History’

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are supposedly interested in fighting each other on May 2, but we’ve been down this road before. This fight has slipped through our grasp far too many times over the years – to the point where time is running out. If these two all-time greats are to ever square off, it needs to happen soon.

But will it actually happen?

“In my heart, I want it to happen May 2,” UFC Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner said on Ferrall on the Bench. “I think every day it doesn’t (become official, the longer we’re going to have to wait). May 2 is awful close. All of a sudden, it’s February 1, and you need a little time to build this fight even more. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do fight that it could happen in early September.”

Just how big would a Mayweather/Pacquiao be? Big.

“It’s the kind of fight that they’ll do 2-3 million pay-per-view buys,” Ratner said. “The seats will be so expensive and they’ll sell it out. It’s the biggest event in boxing history by far.”

Ever?

“Ever,” Ratner said. “No question”

Scott Ferrall then asked Ratner for his all-time favorite Las Vegas fight. Would it be Mayweather/Pacquiao if it were to actually happen?

“Until they fight, I don’t know how good the fight (would) be,” Ratner said. “But my favorite fight goes back many years. One of my favorite fighters, Salvador Sanchez – he died at 23 – and it was a big Mexican champion against a Puerto Rican named Wilfredo Gomez. And the Puerto Ricans and the salsas and the mariachis, they were fighting before the fight. It was at the old Sports Pavilion at Caesar’s. It was one of my favorite memories.”

That fight, if you’re curious, took place in August 1981, and Sanchez won by knockout in the eighth round – less than one year before he died in a car crash.

Ratner’s most memorable boxing moment, however, occurred Nov. 6, 1993, when Riddick Bowe (then 34-0) fought Evander Holyfield (29-1) for the heavyweight championship. Bowe had defeated Holyfield a year earlier, and the fight was billed as “Repeat or Revenge.”

Well, in the seventh round, one of the most bizarre moments in sports history occurred, as James “Fan Man” Miller parachuted into the ring and delayed the fight.

“I was thinking about that yesterday,” Ratner said. “It was 1993, and I’m the executive director of the commission, and I’m thinking, ‘There’s nothing in the rule book that says what do you do now?’ I mean, the guy flies into the ring. He lands almost on Mayor (Marion) Berry from D.C. and Louis Farrakhan from the Nation of Islam. Now, if this would have happened in 2003, then we would have thought it was a terrorist or something. But Michael Buffer deserves a lot of credit because he kept the crowd pretty calm. If you remember, they were just beating this ‘Fan Man’ with the old brick cell phones, just hitting him on the head. It was just surreal.”

Miller was taken to the hospital, then to a detention center and released on bail. He committed suicide in 2002.

“But here’s the ironical part nobody knows,” Ratner said. “It’s the seventh round, this guy lands in the ring, and I know enough to go ask the timekeeper how much time is left in the round. That’s the first thing I thought of. Then I went around to the three judges and I said, ‘I don’t know if this fight’s going to continue, but you’re going to have to know where you are right now because you’re going to have to score this round.’”

The fight was delayed 21 minutes.

“Absolutely crazy,” Ratner said. “The crowd’s crazy. One judge scored it for Bowe, one for Holyfield and one called it even in that seventh round. If the judge who called it even would have scored that round for Bowe, then he would have kept his title on a draw that night – and it changed the course of heavyweight history.”

Ratner had never seen anything like it.

“No, nothing,” he said. “That’s the most surreal moment of my boxing career.”

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