It is the best of times; it is the worst of times
It’s been quite a roller coaster ride for Golden Boy Promotions over the past few weeks. Recently they announced the May 6 bout between Mexican stars Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and then their deal with ESPN, which will begin on March 23. But last week, their founder Oscar De La Hoya was arrested for a DUI and their lawsuit against Al Haymon was dismissed.
“Yeah, it’s been interesting,” said GBP President Eric Gomez, last Saturday evening from the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, where they staged a card broadcast by HBO. A tumultuous week was capped off by their client Francisco Vargas being stopped by Miguel Berchelt for the WBC lightweight title.
Yeah, when it rains, it pours.
But Gomez remains bullish on the future of his company, “Of course, we’re going to have a great night of boxing. That’s what we’re concentrating on, what we do best and that’s what we do best – promote great fights. And I feel very very happy about what we accomplished today. It’s sold out; HBO’s very happy and I was just talking to (HBO ringside commentator) Jim Lampley and he said, ‘It’s crazy but we could end up with ‘Fight of the Year’ in January.'”
While last weekend’s card was overshadowed by the broadcast on Showtime, it was still a solid night of action for the viewing public. And yes, the “Golden Boy” did show up. Gomez isn’t just someone who works for De La Hoya but a lifelong friend. When asked if he had spoken to De La Hoya about his recent incident, he answered, “Yeah, every day. We talk; we’re very close and we talk. Look, that’s something that’s his personal life and I respect that and I think obviously it’s something that shouldn’t be out in the media and that’s it. We have to concentrate on what we do and what we do is great fights.”
(On Saturday evening, De La Hoya was not made available to the media.)
As for the $300 million lawsuit versus Haymon, Golden Boy really has no other choice but to move on with their own business.
“Look, good things happen when we concentrate on what we do best and that’s been my motto for the last couple of years. That’s what I’ve concentrated on. So all that other stuff I don’t worry about because it’s out of my hands,” said Gomez. “It’s out of my hands. There’s nothing I can do to sway it one way or the other. But what I do have control (of) is our business, these shows and trying to come up with these great match-ups and that’s what I want to concentrate on and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last couple of years and that’s what’s important.”
When it’s all said and done, this industry (which is often a business before a sport) is about the fights. In a rough week, the fights over the weekend provided a welcome respite from the ancillary issues.
“It always does, the work itself,” explained Gomez, who was named President of GBP last year, after working his way up the ladder. “When I’m at the office or at home negotiating fights or doing different deals, it’s always a refuge. Look, there’s always going to be outside distractions in anything, in your personal life, your family, your friends or whatever. But as far as boxing’s concerned, yeah, the business of boxing has always been a refuge for all of us.”
And what do you do when you’re on this roller coaster?
Hold on and enjoy the ride.
“I think we’ve made some great strides in the last couple of years and I go back to what I was saying previously: When we concentrate on what we know how to do best, we’re very successful and this ESPN thing is very big for us and we want to make it grow and we want to get it back to the ‘Friday Night Fights’ model, having these great fights. I think we’re on our way and headed in the right direction with that,” stated Gomez.
“And with the Chavez (-Alvarez) fight, look, we got it done. It’s going to be a great success, we feel, and after that, if Canelo is successful, then our plan is to fight (IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady) Golovkin in September. So it’s going to be a great year. I think the positives are going to outweigh the negatives but there’s always going to be things that come up outside of our control, or my control personally, and it’s just going to be like that but things happen to everybody,” continued Gomez, who is reasonably philosophical about their recent fortunes.
“Find me a person that has a perfect life. A professor, when I was going to college, (said) to me, one time, ‘If you ever feel completely comfortable, look around. You’re not confident.'”
LETTER OF INTENT FLURRIES
Last weekend’s card on Showtime had a bigger audience than HBO…Undefeated former WBC lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa Jr. is back in Indio, California, working with Joel Diaz…Speaking of Golden Boy, they announced two more dates for their “L.A. Fight Club” series at the Belasco Theater. On Feb. 17, Robert Manzanarez will make his Stateside debut and, on March 10, Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez will headline…HBO’s “The Young Pope” hasn’t let up…Doesn’t “Billions” start on Showtime soon?…So how did your favorite college football team make out in recruiting?…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.