Vindication for Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions
We are now on the eve of the highly anticipated middleweight championship match-up between Gennady Golokvin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It’s the biggest remaining match-up in what has been an eventful year for the sport of boxing. And it’s more than just a mere boxing match; it’s an actual event.
And for Oscar De La Hoya, the head of Golden Boy Promotions, “This is the best event I’ve promoted. It’s like, as an amateur I won a gold medal, the pinnacle of one’s career as an amateur fighter. This is what I live for; this is why I became a promoter. An event like this just doesn’t come by everyday.”
In the beginning of 2015, as there was a mass exodus of Al Haymon-advised talent from the company and the subsequent resignation of CEO Richard Schaefer, many pundits and observers not only wrote obituaries on GBP but started digging its grave. At that point, De La Hoya was beset by personal issues and the status of this promotional firm was uncertain.
But with Canelo as the franchise fighter, Golden Boy has steadied the ship and remained high atop the pecking order in the boxing business.
“I’m reborn. This is the fight that is like the stamp of approval, like, ‘Oh hey, now we believe Oscar’s back. Now we believe Golden Boy is back.’ Even though we were never going away, these are the types of events that make me want to come back for more,” said De La Hoya, on Wednesday morning, as he made the rounds with the media at the Copperfield Theater at the MGM Grand, where the final presser was held for Golovkin-Alvarez.
There were many cynics who believed this particular pairing would never happen or be delayed till much later. But De La Hoya stated, “I’ve always mentioned that, 2017, it was going to happen. Let Canelo become a middleweight. Let him grow into the weight. Let him fill into his man’s-strength.”
Alvarez (who did hold the WBC middleweight belt after defeating Miguel Cotto at a catchweight of 155 pounds) most recently faced Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at 164-pounds, which set up this showdown on Saturday.
De La Hoya admitted, “It’s quite satisfying to look at a few people and tell them, ‘I told you so,’ but yeah, these are the types of fights we must be making for the sake of our sport that I dearly love.”
Some have accused Golden Boy and the Mexican star of dodging “GGG” but, in reality, all they did was delay the fight till they knew they could maximize interest – and therefore revenue – and, till happened, they would not pull the trigger. (And yeah, letting Golovkin age a bit was probably considered too.) Whether you agree with that tact or not, the fact is many more fans and observers give Alvarez a much greater shot of defeating Golovkin than they did when this match-up was first discussed and this fight has reached the peak of its sellability in 2017.
Keep in mind, boxing is a sport dressed up as a business. And in this instance, both the athletic competition and commerce were maximized.
So is the “Golden Boy” – who was no stranger to big pay-per-view events – more nervous as a promoter than he was as an actual prizefighter?
“I’ve been in both situations,” said De La Hoya, who was a bona fide superstar. “I think, as a fighter, you’re obviously up there. You have control but you always run the risk of losing a fight or getting knocked out – when you’re in real fights. You run that real risk, unlike other fighters…”
(You can guess to whom he was referring there.)
“But as a promoter, you’re in control of everything; you obviously run the risk of, ‘What if something happens on pay-per-view night?’ But as a fighter, it’s more nerve-wracking,” said De La Hoya, who obviously has a vested interest in the outcome. There’s no denying he wants an Alvarez victory.
“I’m hoping,” he said. “It’s a 50/50 fight. I’m going for my guy Canelo but I just want a fight that my kids will be talking about for many years to come. Just the way we talk about (Marvelous Marvin) Hagler-(Thomas) Hearns today, I want my kids to talk about Canelo-‘Triple G’ many years down the road.”
Doors open for the weigh-in today at the MGM Grand Garden Arena at 10 a.m. PT and Golovkin and Alvarez hit the scales right around 1 p.m. PT…RingTV.com will provide live coverage…The Golden Boy card on Friday night at the MGM Grand Marquee Ballroom will begin at 3:30 p.m…How ’bout dem Indians, huh?…Don’t forget; this pay-per-view show starts at 8 p.m. ET)on Saturday…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.