Previous events were held in such world famous cities as Glasgow, Scotland and Moscow, Russia. So why is the next World Boxing Super Series event, slated for April 27, being held at the Cajundome in Lafayette.
That's one question the event’s organizers kept hearing when they were in town this week to begin production preparation for the tournament’s next stop.
The World Boxing Super Series semifinal doubleheader featuring New Orleans native Regis Prograis against WBA super lightweight champion Kiryl …
“It’s an amazing venue,” Maximillian Page of England said. He's the commercial manager for the event's promoter, Comosa AG.
“The team seems really good. The team seems really professional. It was just renovated a couple of years ago. The building fits our production perfectly.
“If we get the number of people we hope to get in there, it’s going to be a great atmosphere. This is definitely one of the best buildings we’ve seen.”
Page visited Lafayette on Tuesday, along with attorney and series organizer Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing in Davie, Florida.
“The people here have been great,” Margules said.
“The people we’ve talked to have told us that it’s a great sports town, a great party town and when people get invested in something, they really like it,” Page said.
The four-hour live television event will put Lafayette’s culture in the spotlight along with the fighters. In the week leading up to the fight, camera crews will be following each of the four main-event fighters 24-7 to provide a snapshot of their stay in Cajun Country.
“And it’s been great working with the Convention guys,” Page said. “They’ve been great. They realize what we bring to a town and how we like to work it. And if this show is successful, we’ll be back.
“Hopefully, we’ll be back in a few years without a local fighter. We want to build a brand so strong.”
There are two primary reasons promoters even knew about Lafayette’s Cajundome as an option: Promoter Kerry Daigle of Warriors Boxing, who is an Opelousas native; and WBC Diamond light welterweight champion Regis Prograis.
“Literally, he (Daigle) has been bothering me for 20 years to bring a big boxing show to Lafayette,” Margules said. “I said, ‘Kerry, I think we might finally have the opportunity to finally do that.’ ”
Prograis (23-0), meanwhile, is a New Orleans native who fled to Houston during Katrina. That makes Lafayette a perfect in-between venue for him to hold a super-lightweight semifinal co-main event bout against Kiryl Relikh of Belarus (23-2).
The other co-main event will be Filipino-American Nonito Donaire (39-5) against South Africa’s Zolani Tete (28-3) in a bantamweight semifinal fight.
“This really is what I’ve been waiting for my whole career,” Daigle said. “This event is going to leave a legacy of boxing in Louisiana.
“I really believe these two fights are going to be two of the fights of the year in the country this year.”
Setting up the best fights and establishing the best fighters is what the World Boxing Super Series is all about.
As any pro boxing fan will tell you, once the boxing alliances got to three and four, it got too confusing. No one really knew who the true champion was and the sport became more difficult to follow.
“Basically, it was a bunch of unrelated events,” Margules said. “This tournament provides boxing fans with a series of related events. It’s a bracket, just like the NCAA Tournament. That’s what fans love to follow.”
Margules, Page and the rest of the event organizers try to identify the world’s eight top boxers in the three weight classes that make up the Super Series — bantamweight, super-lightweight and cruiserweight — and then put them into a bracket format.
The winner receives millions in prize money, along with the Muhammad Ali Trophy, which was presented by two of Ali’s daughters in the first year of the Series last year with the family’s blessing.
So the winners of the semi-finals card in Lafayette in April will advance to the finals to be held in September or October at an undetermined site.
“There are no easy fights,” Margules said. “Sometimes it’s up to the bravery of the fighters. I go to a world champion and I say look, ‘I’ve got two other world champions in an eight-man tournament. I’ll tell you who to fight and there’s going to be brackets.”
Donaire recently claimed the WBA bantamweight title with an upset quarterfinal win over No. 1 seed Ryan Burnett of England.
“It’s a lot easier to win a world title than to win three fights against world champions in this tournament,” Margules suggested.
In other words, perhaps a true undisputed world champion.
“And even if it’s disputed, there’s really no argument,” Page said.