All of which makes it especially puzzling why so much time has elapsed between main events here.
According to those most responsible for bringing the “Capital Showdown” card to D.C., economics is at the top of the list. The District is at a significant disadvantage in that regard when matched against Las Vegas or Atlantic City, the world’s top fight destinations, which have revenue guarantees for promoters.
A casino, for instance, agrees to an up-front fee to promoters in part because it can pass along tickets to its high rollers and induce ticket sales from hotel guests. The lure of a championship prize fight also attracts more patrons to that particular casino to gamble.
The other distinct advantage of staging a boxing match at a casino is that it provides all the necessities, from lodging and food to the ring itself, to the promoters, the fighters and their camps as well as virtually all the amenities. That includes self-contained areas for news conferences, the weigh-in and the all-important post-fight party.
In non-gambling cities such as D.C., the work of a promoter is considerably more demanding. Apart from hotel, food and transportation arrangements for the fighters and their entourages, promoters also must create, among other assignments, a marketing budget tailored to that particular city, whereas in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, the casino incurs that expense.
“There’s extra work, extra challenges, and let’s face it, extra risks,” said Richard Schaefer, chief executive of Golden Boy Productions, the company founded by former world champion Oscar de la Hoya that’s one of several handling the Khan-Peterson bout. “As a promoter, it’s easy to go somewhere where you get the site fee from a casino. Whether there’s somebody there or nobody there, you know what you’re going to get. Here, we’re actually starting in the negative. We’re starting in the minus.”
The Khan-Peterson fight may not have happened in D.C. at all, though, if it weren’t for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who invited Khan to a White House dinner for prominent Muslim athletes on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Khan, a Golden Boy client, enjoyed that first visit so much that he began considering the District for his final fight of the year.