Oscar De La Hoya bullish on Golden Boy Promotions and boxing in 2017
Miguel Cotto is the newest addition to the Golden Boy Promotions stable. This was made official at a press conference at the Congo Room at L.A. Live on Wednesday afternoon. Last week, it was announced that Cotto – who had been in RocNation Sports purgatory since November of 2015 – would face Yoshihiro Kamegai on Aug. 26 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California (on a card that will be televised by HBO).
It was then revealed that Cotto and GBP had entered a “multi-fight” agreement.
2017 has been a good one for Golden Boy Promotions and its founder Oscar De La Hoya was in a good mood at this media gathering. From his perspective, things are looking up for his company and the business of boxing, overall.
“I’m extremely happy, I take a look at fights like (Anthony) Joshua-(Wladimir) Klitschko; you take a look at (Keith) Thurman-(Danny) Garcia. You look at ‘Canelo’ (Alvarez)-(Julio Cesar) Chavez, how it sold over a million homes (on pay-per-view). You take a look at (Errol) Spence (Jr.) with (Kell) Brook, 30,000 people in attendance, ‘Triple G’ (Gennady Golovkin) with Canelo,” said De La Hoya on Wednesday.
And now he is in the Cotto business, which also means working with Cotto Promotions (and Oscar announced they would be doing a few cards from Puerto Rico on their ESPN series). The bout with the game Japanese brawler figures to be a fun – if one-sided – summer contest.
“Look, Kamegai is a sleeper and it’s the StubHub Center.. He’s used to fighting outdoors with all that crowd there. I remember him fighting Robert Guerrero in a tremendous, tremendous fight. So it’s panning out to be one of the better years for boxing. But that’s the whole idea – bringing boxing back,” said De La Hoya, putting his promoter’s hat on.
Recently De La Hoya made waves, via Facebook, by coming out strongly against the much-discussed Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor money grab, that looks more and more like it may become a reality.
But what do they say about living in glass houses? De La Hoya being a promoter himself is fully aware that boxing, if nothing else, at the end of the day, is a business. And Canelo-Chavez effectively served as a $75 infomercial for the big fight on Sept. 16. And this is probably why De La Hoya spoke out so loudly on this event – it may cut into their business if it takes place in the same month.
Question is though, as his post went viral (and was discussed in such outlets like the Washington Post), did he actually help that event gain more traction by focusing his attention on it?
De La Hoya chuckled and stated, “No, look, as a boxing community, we have to realize that 2017 has been one of the best years for boxing in a long time and we must continue to stay on that train. Look, I could’ve made Canelo-Golovkin and wait two years. I made it for the fans. I made it for the sport of boxing and I just hate to see another step back or a black eye for boxing because this fight they’re talking about (Mayweather-McGregor) doesn’t live up to its expectations – which it’s not.
“It’s going to be another 12-round snoozer for Mayweather.”
Bottom line is De La Hoya can really only control his own company and, being one of the most influential power brokers in the business, he has a responsibility to move things forward. Boxing had been in a malaise and things reached a nadir in 2016. Things seem to be trending upward for boxing across the board.
“It’s been lackluster and an uphill battle ever since the Mayweather and (Manny) Pacquiao fight,” said De La Hoya of the May 2015 super-dud. “And now I hear rumors that Mayweather and McGregor might be fighting. Who knows when but what I want to do is be a pioneer and help the sport out and bring it back to the glory days and the only way we’re going to do that is matching up the best against the best.”
So could a Cotto-David Lemieux be a possibility for later in 2017?
“He wants to fight anybody at ’54 to ’60,” said GBP President Eric Gomez. “He’s willing to go up to ’60; he wants to do great things and he wants to go out with a bang. So obviously, for us, we’re going to try and secure the biggest names for him.”
Or perhaps the winner of the Sept. 16 showdown?
“He’s willing to do that, as well,” answered Gomez, who believes Cotto is “not going to retire anytime soon. Look, for us, obviously we’re very excited. Anytime you can add a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer to your roster, it’s big. And we’ve always been friendly and cordial with Miguel and his team and, to be finally working together, him working with us, Golden Boy, directly under contract. It’s great. We’re very excited. We’re very happy.
“He’s going to be here for awhile. Obviously, look at his level and stage of his career. Every fight is fight-to-fight. One loss and it can be over, so we’re going to take it fight-by-fight but he wants to fight for awhile.”
Although Cotto did say he looked at Dec. 31, 2017 as “my last day as a professional boxer,” fighters have been known to change their minds.
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