Dan Rafael: Oscar De La Hoya


Manny Pacquiao is a heavy favorite to retain his welterweight title against Chris Algieri when they meet Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) in Macau, China (where it will be Sunday morning).

So if things go as many expect, and the PacMan comes through, then what? Of course, many hold out hope that his next fight will be the one we’ve all wanted for years against fellow welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.

But we’ve all heard the talk for years and even though Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who represents Pacquiao, said there are serious talks for the fight, let’s take it with a grain of salt for the time being until presented with more evidence than just Arum’s word.

So who’s next for Pacquiao if not Mayweather?

“There are a lot of opponents,” Arum said. “Let’s see how Jessie Vargas looks on the card.”

Vargas is defending his secondary junior welterweight title against former lightweight titlist Antonio DeMarco on the Pacquiao-Algieri undercard.

“What happens if Diego Chaves upsets Tim Bradley?” Arum said of the main event of his Dec. 13 HBO card.

Another possible opponent, and one more intriguing than either Vargas or Chaves, is unified junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia.

Garcia is promoted by Golden Boy, but there are no issues between the companies in making fights any longer. But Garcia is also managed by Al Haymon and that is a huge problem because HBO has essentially banned his fighters from the network. Garcia is also a regular these days on Showtime, although he has fought some of his most significant fights on HBO.

“What happens if Oscar [De La Hoya of Golden Boy] is right and he can free up Danny Garcia to fight Pacquiao? There are a lot of what-ifs,” Arum said. “We’re concerned about Algieri. He’s a top opponent. After that we’ll look around.”

Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, wants Mayweather but said Garcia would be a good second option.

“Garcia is a tough guy and one thing about Garcia is he will throw,” Roach said. “He is a heavy puncher. He knocked out Amir Kahn. I think he is a very good opponent for Manny Pacquiao. I think Manny would box a little more and not exchange as much.

“It's a fight I would like to see and a fight the fans would love to see, and that's what we want to give the people -- good fights.”

Notes: Future bright for Sadam Ali

November, 15, 2014
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A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya told ESPN.com he hopes to bring welterweight Sadam Ali (21-0, 13 KOs) back in early 2015 following his impressive ninth-round knockout of Luis Carlos Abregu on the Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev undercard on Nov. 8 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

“We’re hoping to get a date for him in the first quarter [of 2015] and fight him at the Barclays Center,” De La Hoya said of the arena in Brooklyn, New York, Ali’s hometown. “We will step him up and keep him busy. He had a great win. It was a real confidence booster. He has always shown boxing ability, but I have always known he could crack. We’ll let him enjoy the win, and we will put him on the fast track next year.”

• Promoter Sal Musumeci of Final Forum Boxing and the Gallery Studio Group announced that they are bringing live boxing to CBS Sports Network. The debut card will take place Dec. 13 (8 p.m. ET) at a site to be announced in New York and include heavyweight Charles Martin (18-0, 16 KOs) in the main event with light heavyweight (and Subway pitchman) Mike Lee (13-0, 7 KOs) in the cofeature. Opponents are to be announced for the fights, which are part of a time-buy on the network.

• Welterweights Alan Sanchez (14-3-1, 8 KOs), who has won nine of his last 10 fights, and Ed Paredes (35-4-1, 23 KOs) will meet in the 10-round main event of the “Golden Boy Live” card Dec. 4 (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes) at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, California, Golden Boy announced. In the 10-round cofeature, junior welterweight Manuel "Tino" Avila (16-0, 7 KOs) will face Jose Luis Araiza (31-9-1, 22 KOs).

Cotto-Canelo talks on track

November, 13, 2014
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Canelo Alvarez and Oscar De La HoyaDenis Poroy/Getty ImagesOscar De La Hoya doesn't expect ego to get in the way of making Miguel Cotto-Canelo Alvarez.
The inevitable showdown between middleweight world champion Miguel Cotto and former junior middleweight titlist Canelo Alvarez looms as boxing's biggest fight in the non-Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao category. And unlike Mayweather-Pacquiao, it's a surefire pay-per-view hit that very likely will be made for May 2.

Dare I say, Cotto-Alvarez will go down as the biggest fight in the history of the legendary Puerto Rico-Mexico rivalry that includes many famous fights, including Salvador Sanchez-Wilfredo Gomez and the two Cotto-Antonio Margarito fights.

Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya knows how big a fight it can be, is keen to make it and believes it will be finalized sooner rather than later. In fact, the camps have already had preliminary discussions on the fight as both sides want it, as does HBO PPV, which would televise it.

"That's the fight that's being talked about the most. Everywhere I go people are asking me about it left and right," De La Hoya told ESPN.com. "This is what's going to happen -- my next move is going to be to give [Top Rank promoter] Bob Arum [Cotto's promoter] a call and start discussing the fight with Bob."

Golden Boy has already had some talks with Top Rank president Todd duBoef and Cotto attorney Gaby Penagaricano.

"Nothing formal," De La Hoya said. "But since Bob is the guy at the helm [of Top Rank] I'm going to give Bob a call. This is the type of fight that can get made easier than most, certainly easier than Pacquiao-Mayweather. The reason I say that is because both guys want to fight."

There are, of course, some issues that need to be settled: the financial split, date and site, among others.

Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs), 24, who recently signed an exclusive contract with HBO, said a big part of the reason for leaving Showtime was because he wanted to fight major pay-per-view fights on the traditional Mexican holidays on which big fights are the norm -- Cinco de Mayo weekend and Mexican Independence Day weekend in September -- but was being blocked by Mayweather. Therefore, De La Hoya said, a Cotto-Alvarez fight would be on May 2 -- which is in line with HBO's preference.

"Second, do we go East Coast or West Coast," De La Hoya said, noting that Alvarez would prefer to fight on the West Coast, where most of his Mexican fans are, and Cotto would prefer to fight in New York, where he is a huge attraction because of the large Puerto Rican community.

"As far as where we go with the fight, whoever wants the fight the most, submit your bid," De La Hoya said.

When it comes to some of the more frivolous aspects of a negotiation -- name of the fight, who walks to the ring last and who is introduced last -- things sometimes get bogged down because of an ego battle. De La Hoya said there would be none of that in Cotto-Alvarez.

"Miguel Cotto is the champion and a great champion, and he is also a star, so he gets the champion status treatment, which means we're fighting for his belt. He walks second if he wants to, all that stuff. None of that will hold up this fight."

Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs), 34, won the middleweight title by scoring four knockdowns in a dominating 10th-round knockout of Sergio Martinez in June. With the win, Cotto became the first Puerto Rican fighter to win world titles in four weight classes and would be making his first defense against Alvarez.

"It's a matter of ironing out details, but in my opinion, nothing can put a stop to this fight, because the most important thing is that both guys want to fight each other," De La Hoya said. "Nobody is scared here."

Of course, there is still the issue of how to divide up all of the money the fight will generate.

"That will all be figured out," De La Hoya said. "Miguel Cotto is not going to let this fight fall through because they are not happy with the money, and Canelo is not calling off a fight because of the money. They will make the biggest purses of their careers fighting each other, even more than when they fought Floyd. This fight does a minimum of 1 million homes [on pay-per-view]. There is plenty of money to go around."

De La Hoya said he sees the fight as a simple 50-50 purse split. He believes Alvarez is the bigger draw but gives respect to the fact that Cotto is a star in his own right and also brings an immensely valuable commodity -- the title that Alvarez covets.

"Miguel Cotto fought Mayweather and did 1.5 million buys on pay-per-view. Canelo fought Floyd and did 2.2 million, 700,000 more than that," De La Hoya said. "Canelo has also done good numbers in his other pay-per-view fights. But you have to respect Cotto and consider he is the champion. I have no doubt this fight will get done.

"That's the beauty of ending the cold war [between Golden Boy and Top Rank]. We can make a huge fight like this together. And the fighters know that if they fight the big fights like this, the money is going to be there."
Abner MaresGene Blevins/Hoganphotos/Golden BoyAbner Mares is interested in squaring off with all-action Leo Santa Cruz at featherweight in 2015.
If Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya has his way -- and he sounded awfully confident -- fight fans will be treated to a featherweight showdown in 2015 between Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz, which could be one of the most fan-friendly fights that can be made.

"I'm looking for Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz to fight next year," De La Hoya told ESPN.com on Wednesday night. "That's the fight I want to do to. That's a helluva fight. I can see a trilogy. That's my main focus."

Mares is a former bantamweight, junior featherweight and featherweight titleholder. Since an upset first-round knockout loss to Jhonny Gonzalez that cost him his featherweight belt in August 2013, Mares has fought just once, a 10-round decision win against Jonathan Oquendo on July 12. Mares will be back in action on Dec. 13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on the Devon Alexander-Amir Khan undercard.

Mares (27-1-1, 14 KOs) doesn't have an opponent yet, but he is not expected to face a top-tier opponent. With a win, Mares said he he'd love to fight Santa Cruz.

"Where do I sign? It's a great fight all around," Mares told ESPN.com. "It's good for boxing and Southern California fight fans. I see it happening at Staples Center soon and [you] best believe I will win. But I definitely think Leo is a strong fighter that, to me, hasn't been tested."

Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs), a former bantamweight titlist and reigning junior featherweight titlist with three defenses on his résumé, would have to move up to featherweight, De La Hoya said. But Santa Cruz is expected to do so sooner than later anyway.

"The time is now," De La Hoya said. "Both guys are Los Angelinos and that fight belongs at the Staples Center. That's the plan I have when I sit down and talk to Al [Haymon, who manages both]. I'm looking at next week. It doesn't matter that there would be no world title [at stake]. It's the type of fight the fans want to see. That's what Golden Boy is about, making these types of fights. It's a great matchup and I am more than confident I can make that happen."

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Some look at light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev’s unification fight with Bernard Hopkins on Saturday night (HBO, 10:45 ET/PT) at Boardwalk Hall as a no-win situation for the Russian.

On the one hand, if Kovalev beats Hopkins, well, he was supposed to do it. After all, Kovalev is a 31-year-old destroyer in the prime of his career. Hopkins will be 50 in January and has been a pro for 26 years. Obviously, the end must be near.

On the other hand, if Kovalev loses, wouldn’t it be a complete disaster to lose to a guy old enough to be his dad, even if that guy happens to be a future Hall of Famer with two world title belts?

Kovalev said he hasn’t given it a moment of thought. His aim is simply to win whether Hopkins is 20, 40 or 50.

“I don't worry about who's saying these things,” Kovalev said. “I am just doing my job and doing the job for me, myself, not for them. This is my career. This is not other people's career.”

Main Events chief executive Kathy Duva, Kovalev’s promoter, said she doesn’t want to hear anything about Hopkins’ age being a reason for his loss, should he lose.

“I saw a poll, and basically the press is about 50-50 on this fight, so when this is over, I don't want to hear about how old Bernard Hopkins is, no matter what the outcome,” Duva said. “This is a great fight between two fighters. It is competitive, it's exciting.

“Bernard's never been stopped. Sergey has knocked out just about everyone he's fought. It is a tremendous, compelling fight, and I'm going to be very unhappy if the press decides that when it's over they're going to start raising the fact that Bernard is 50 years old, because they're not raising it now.”

Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya, Hopkins’ promoter and knockout victim to him in a 2004 undisputed middleweight world championship fight, agreed that it would be unfair to use Hopkins’ age as an excuse in the event he that he loses.

"People respect the fact that at 49 years old, he's still going strong,” De La Hoya said. “There's no sign of him slowing down. He's getting faster, he's getting stronger and he has more energy. He's toying with young fighters half his age. For Hopkins it starts outside the ring, he breaks you.

"I haven't counted Hopkins out since he beat me, even before that. Hopkins is a master at what he does.”
David Lemieux and Gabriel RosadoRich Kane/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsDavid Lemieux, left, is looking for a convincing victory over Gabriel Rosado.

Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin and junior middleweight star Canelo Alvarez may one day face each other in what would be a huge pay-per-view fight. But until that happens -- if it happens -- HBO, which has both under contract, has a vested interest in helping develop opponents for them.

That’s where HBO’s Dec. 6 “Boxing After Dark” tripleheader (10 p.m. ET/PT) comes in. The card, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, could go a long way toward helping develop opponents for them. But even if it doesn’t, it’s a quality show -- and if you’re a fan, it's a stunning bargain. At the kickoff news conference at the Barclays Center on Wednesday, Golden Boy announced that tickets start at $15.

The main event features Montreal middleweight David Lemieux, a big banger making his American debut, against entertaining gatekeeper Gabriel Rosado, who usually tests every opponent. Lemieux’s job is to beat Rosado convincingly. Fighters who defeat him probably can take the next step. Fighters who can’t, well, they’re probably not going far.

The 25-year-old Lemieux (32-2, 30 KOs) wants in on the big-fight sweepstakes, which means an eventual fight with GGG or Alvarez, who, sooner than later, will be a middleweight. Beating Rosado is a good way for Lemieux to start making his case.

"I'm really looking forward to this fight," Lemieux said. “My training camp has already started and I am in great shape. I want to take this opportunity to prove that I represent a real threat to the middleweight division. Gabriel Rosado is a tough fighter and he has fought a lot of talented boxers and has established his credibility. This will be a good test for me and I'm working really hard to deliver an amazing performance."

Said Camille Estephan, Lemieux’s manager, “I'm extremely happy for David to get this opportunity on the big stage in the U.S. against a very well respected Gabriel Rosado. We are not looking past this fight. Nonetheless, we believe David is capable of competing with the cream of the crop in his division."

Rosado (21-8, 13 KOs), 28, had his shot against Golovkin, who sliced and diced him en route to a bloody seventh-round TKO in January 2013. That loss started a poor run for Rosado, who is in an 0-3 (with a no contest) rut, including another cut-induced TKO loss to Peter Quillin in a title bout. Rosado won a non-official boxing match by sixth-round knockout of Bryan Vera in the Big Knockout Boxing event in August when they fought in a “pit.”

Rosado is happy to be getting another opportunity on HBO, where he faced Golovkin.

"A fight like me against David Lemieux is what HBO is all about, and the type of fight the boxing world craves," Rosado said. "I'm both excited and motivated to fight again on the East Coast. I'm from Philly and I know my fans will be in Brooklyn to represent [Philadelphia] alongside my New York fans. Records can be deceiving and I believe David Lemieux will learn that first hand, and I'm hungry to get back in the mix with the best in the middleweight division."

The junior middleweight co-feature pits Hugo Centeno Jr. (21-0, 11 KOs), 23, of Oxnard, California, and James De La Rosa (23-2, 13 KOs), 26, of San Benito, Texas, in a 10-rounder. Perhaps one will emerge as a fighter to watch at 154.

"I'm really excited about this great opportunity,” Centeno said. “I will take complete advantage of it and showcase my talent.”

De La Rosa scored his biggest win Sept. 13, a 10-round decision against Alfredo Angulo on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana II undercard.

"Here I am again on the big stage, this time against Hugo Centeno Jr. on HBO," De La Rosa said. “I'm dedicating this fight to my mentor Emanuel Augustus, who I'd been sparring against since I was 14 years old. People know he came to put on a show and I'm coming to do the same Dec. 6 in Brooklyn."

Augustus is hospitalized in critical condition after recently being shot in the head in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

"The winners of these two fights will find themselves positioned for huge match-ups in their next bouts, while the losers will experience a major setback," said Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya, whose company is putting on the card and promoting the top two bouts.

The third fight is an even match between junior welterweights Thomas Dulorme (21-1, 14 KOs), 24, and 30-year-old Hank Lundy (25-3-1, 12 KOs). While not an official eliminator the winner very likely could propel himself into a world title opportunity.

“This is a great opportunity for me to showcase my talent against a very good opponent,” Dulorme said. “I know a victory against Lundy will open up many doors for my career. I'm coming to win and win convincingly for my fans back home in Puerto Rico.”

Said Lundy, “This is what we've been waiting for, to fight on a big stage -- HBO. This is a great opportunity to show the world Hammerin' Hank is the best-kept secret in the 140-pound weight class. On Dec. 6, I'm coming to New York to put on a hell of a show. As a Philadelphia kid, everyone knows that I've fought hard. Nothing comes easy. The fans know I'm going to bring it.”
Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya is putting his money where his mouth is.

For the past several months, since assuming day-to-day control of the company in the wake of the resignation of CEO Richard Schaefer in June, De La Hoya has preached nonstop about his desire to work with all promoters and networks to put on the best fights possible.

[+] EnlargeOscar De La Hoya
AP Photo/Alex MenendezOscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions will have a hand in promoting a pair of rival cards in Las Vegas on Dec. 13.
So far, so good.

He has repaired his relationship with longtime rival Top Rank, and they have begun to make fights together, including the Sadam Ali-Luis Carlos Abregu welterweight bout and Mauricio Herrera-Jose Benavidez Jr. interim junior welterweight title bout, even if the companies have not yet made a big-time main event.

Golden Boy also negotiated Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev with Main Events and has repaired its battered relationship with HBO while continuing to work with Showtime.

Hopkins is moving back to HBO to face Kovalev on Nov. 8, Golden Boy also signed Canelo Alvarez to the network in a recent deal, it has Herrera on HBO's Dec. 13 card in Las Vegas, and it is promoting a Dec. 6 card on HBO that will be headlined by middleweight David Lemieux against Gabriel Rosado.

But Golden Boy is still doing business -- even if it is a bit strained -- with Showtime, where it is promoting a card on Dec. 13 headlined by Amir Khan versus Devon Alexander.

That card is also in Las Vegas and will go head-to-head with the HBO card headlined by Timothy Bradley Jr.-Diego Chaves on which Herrera will appear.

"It was something that we could not avoid, but we will make it work as best as possible," De La Hoya told ESPN.com.

Golden Boy would have preferred to have the Dec. 13 card in San Antonio, as originally planned, but it was pushed to Las Vegas by Showtime.

"This is a testament to what I have said before about working with anybody," De La Hoya said. "When I took control of the company, that is what I said, and I mean it. So I have to be at The Cosmopolitan with Mauricio Herrera on HBO watching him fight a Top Rank fighter [Benavidez], and then I have to run across the Strip in Vegas to the [MGM Grand] and go and sit down for the Showtime fights we are doing.

"We're willing to work with anybody and anywhere as long as we can make fights."

De La Hoya acknowledged the delicate balance he is dealing with on Dec. 13 but said he was up front with Top Rank and HBO about it and that he is doing what is best for the boxers involved, as well as for Golden Boy.

"Yes, it puts us in a tough position as a promoter, but we are working with everybody," he said. "The great thing is we talked to HBO about going to Las Vegas [with Showtime] on their same night. I talked to [Top Rank president] Todd [duBoef] and said we had a problem and explained everything to him. There were no surprises for nobody. We're gonna have a lot of boxing on TV and in Vegas that night. Hopefully the Cosmo is packed, and hopefully the [MGM Grand] is also packed.

"Regardless, it will be a helluva night on HBO and Showtime and a great night for boxing. I just want to make the best fights. I have said this before and I will say it again, and you can quote me on this: Ego is not my amigo."
Randy Caballero earned his shot at a world title by going overseas and he'll also have to win it overseas.

Caballero (21-0, 13 KOs) will challenge England's Stuart Hall (16-3-2, 7 KOs) for a vacant bantamweight world title at the Salle des etoiles in Monte Carlo on Saturday (ESPN3, 1 p.m. ET).

Caballero, of Coachella, California, has fought 18 of his 21 professional fights in Southern California, mostly in Indio, but had no qualms about going to Japan in April for a world title elimination bout. He knocked out Kohei Oba in the eighth round of a very impressive performance in Kobe to become the mandatory challenger for the 118-pound title.

And now he will be fighting for the belt on the other side of the globe in Monaco.

"This is the moment every fighter dreams of, and I would have gone anywhere to fight for that title," the 24-year-old Caballero said. "Stuart Hall is a former world champion, he's hungry to get that title back, but he's not hungrier than me. I've worked harder than anyone for years, and this is my time."

The fight wound up in Monte Carlo because Dennis Hobson, Hall's promoter, beat Caballero promoter Golden Boy in a purse bid, allowing him to control the site of the fight. He made a deal with South Africa's Rodney Berman to put it on his card in Monte Carlo.

Hobson won the rights to the fight with a bid of $261,750 to Golden Boy's $127,000. For a vacant belt the split is 50-50, meaning Caballero will earn a career-high $130,875.

"Every boxer dreams of becoming a world champion, but only those who work hard and are willing to go the extra mile -- like traveling half way around the world to fight for a title -- will persevere," Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya said. "Golden Boy Promotions is committed to putting on the best fights possible for fans all over the world, and I fully expect 'El Matador' and Stuart Hall to deliver on that promise."

England's Paul Butler won a split decision against the 34-year-old Hall on June 7 to claim the 118-pound title, but rather than defend it he vacated to move down in weight, leaving Caballero and Hall as the leading available contenders to vie for the vacant belt.

British middleweight contender Martin Murray (28-1-1, 12 KOs) headlines the card against Italy's Domenico Spada (39-5, 19 KOs) in a 12-rounder. If Murray wins, he could challenge world titleholder Gennady Golovkin, who will be ringside, in February in Monte Carlo.

The rest of the card will also be part of the ESPN3 stream:

• Strawweight titlist Hekkie Budler (26-1, 9 KOs) of South Africa will make his second defense against former world titleholder Xiong Zhao Zhong (24-5-1, 14 KOs) of China.

• Light heavyweight prospect Eleider Alvarez (15-0, 8 KOs), a Colombia native living in Montreal, will square off with South Africa's Ryno Liebenberg (16-0, 11 KOs) in a 12-round bout.

• British middleweight Nick Blackwell (15-3, 6 KOs) will face Belarus' Sergey Khomitsky (29-11-2, 12 KO) in a six-rounder.

Stiverne-Wilder deal getting closer

October, 15, 2014
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The long slog to make the mandatory fight between heavyweight titleholder Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder is inching closer to the finish line.

[+] EnlargeBermane Stiverne
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesHeavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne moved one step closer toward seeing his bout with unbeaten Deontay Wilder become a reality.
One of the open issues in making the fight was for Stiverne to come to an agreement with his promoter, Don King, on their side of the deal. On Wednesday, they did, according to Stiverne manager Camille Estephan.

"I made a deal with King that we're very satisfied with financially," Estephan told ESPN.com. "But we are still very anxious to get a date for the fight and a site. I can't speculate about Wilder but I think it's time for him and his team to stop talking and make the fight."

A specific date and venue is key and one of the reasons why Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya, whose company represents Wilder, said they couldn't sign a contract from King. Even though De La Hoya said they had made a financial deal, the date and site were not set.

Estephan said the biggest thing on the Stiverne side was working out the money.

"Don still doesn't know the site or the date but in our agreement the fight is supposed to be either in December or in the first quarter of next year," he said. "I have made a proposal to Don to bring the fight to Quebec City [Stiverne grew up in Canada]. He likes it but he can't give me a commitment yet.

"But I wanted to get our deal done. We are satisfied. We did what we had to do. We don't want to wait anymore. One of the reasons we're very happy to make a deal for the fight is because this is the fight we want and Bermane wants to make a statement in this fight and increase his market value with a good performance against an undefeated, American Olympic medalist."

A purse bid for the fight has been delayed multiple times as the sides have worked toward and agreement.

Gomez re-signs with Golden Boy

October, 4, 2014
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Junior welterweight Frankie Gomez, one of Golden Boy's top prospects, re-signed with the company on Friday.

It was an important move for promoter Oscar De La Hoya as Gomez is one of the few potential top fighters the company has who is not controlled by adviser Al Haymon.

Gomez (18-0, 13 KOs), who was a star amateur, has had his ups and downs as a pro but he is only 22 and seems to be turning the corner. Despite his perfect record, he has had legal issues and also had his dedication called into question by the company because he came into some fights out of shape. But those things seem to be behind the East Los Angeles product.

Gomez, nicknamed the "Pitbull," is coming off his biggest victory, a shutout 10-round decision against fringe contender Vernon Paris on July 25.

"This is clearly a huge opportunity for me because extending my contract with Golden Boy Promotions tells me that they have full confidence in me and I'm 100 percent loyal to Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions," Gomez said. "I have the experience and I'm ready to face bigger challenges and win my first world title."

De La Hoya was happy to keep Gomez -- with whom he shares a Feb. 4 birthday with -- with Golden Boy.

"Frankie Gomez is a natural talent and that's why I have no doubt that he'll be the next superstar and next world champion from East Los Angeles," De La Hoya said. "The truth is that we are very happy to continue promoting Frankie and help him to continue on his quest for a world title."

Big opportunity for Abregu, Ali

October, 3, 2014
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The peace accord between Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank has quickly yielded its first fruit -- the first non-purse bid fight the companies have done together since 2011: an interesting welterweight match between 2008 U.S. Olympian Sadam Ali, still looking for his breakout fight, and battle-tested contender Luis Carlos Abregu.

They will hook up Nov. 8 (HBO) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in the fight that will open the broadcast, which will be headlined by the much-anticipated light heavyweight unification match between the great Bernard Hopkins and offensive machine Sergey Kovalev.

"The cold war is officially over, but that peace will now extend to the ring when two of the top contenders in the 147-pound division go head to head in Atlantic City," Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya said. “I have made a promise to the fans that nothing will stand in our way of putting on the best fights our sport has to offer. Consider this monster matchup between a Top Rank fighter [Abregu] and a Golden Boy Promotions fighter [Ali] another example of making good on that pledge.”

For Ali (20-0, 12 KOs), it’s a chance to finally be on the big stage as he makes his HBO debut; Golden Boy returns to HBO after an 18-month exile.

"This is the big fight I've been asking for, and I'm ready to perform on Nov. 8," Ali said. “Abregu is a seasoned veteran. He hits hard and he comes to fight. It's the type of win that will put me in the title picture, and I can't wait to put on a great fight for the fans and bring the win back to Brooklyn."

Argentina’s Abregu (36-1) has had his HBO opportunities, suffering his lone defeat on points to Timothy Bradley Jr. in 2010 and scoring a seventh-round knockout of highly touted prospect Thomas Dulorme in 2012.

Now Abregu aims to put himself in the same conversation as some of his talented countryman.

"I've been sitting back watching my fellow Argentinian brothers Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse and Diego Chaves all get their opportunities to fight in the U.S., and now it’s my time to show the boxing world the best fighter from Argentina is me," Abregu said. “I have been avoided by Manny Pacquiao, Brandon Rios and Ruslan Provodnikov, so I thank Sadam Ali for stepping up to fight me. Nov. 8 I will show the fans why I am the best and most exciting fighter from Argentina. Viva!"

Oscar opens up about Canelo deal

September, 29, 2014
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Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya said the main reason Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez opted to return to HBO when he signed an exclusive multifight agreement with the network last week -- and dumped Showtime, his TV home for the past five fights, in the process -- was because he wanted to be with HBO.

Alvarez, a former unified junior middleweight titleholder, received a handsome offer to remain with Showtime but "Canelo didn't want to hear it. He wanted to be with HBO," De La Hoya told ESPN.com on Sunday night. "The big problem I had was Canelo wants to fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend and he wants Sept. 16 [weekend]. Those are the big Mexican holidays, and he doesn't want to be second to nobody.

"I was stuck between a rock and hard place. Saul wanted to go with HBO, and HBO really wanted him. When you have a 24-year-old fighter who knows that he is the next superstar and has it in his head that he wants to go to HBO, it's a difficult position for me to be in because, obviously, we do a lot fights on Showtime."

Pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., whose win against Alvarez in September 2013 set numerous all-time boxing revenue records, is in the midst of a six-fight contract with Showtime and is its priority, not Alvarez. And Mayweather has been fighting on the May and September pay-per-view dates, even when he is not facing a Mexican opponent. Alvarez wants to fight on those dates, and HBO plans to help De La Hoya make that happen.

"I have to do what Canelo asks me to do," De La Hoya said. "I'm not going to jeopardize my relationship with Canelo. The biggest factor for him was being second to nobody. So that's what I did -- I made the deal with HBO, where he won't be second. You're dealing with someone who is 24 years old. He's a superstar in Mexico and realizes his potential in the States. He has another 10 years to go, and he wants to capitalize as much as he can."

When the deal was finalized, Showtime Sports chief Stephen Espinoza lashed out in several interviews, saying De La Hoya was "deceitful" and had reneged on a verbal agreement to sign Alvarez with Showtime.

De La Hoya said that is "100 percent not true, but I'm gonna take the high road and not even go there because, obviously, the ultimate decision was leaving it up to my fighter, and the ultimate decision was made to go to HBO. HBO came with a huge offer, but the deciding factor wasn't the huge offer. It was in Saul's head that he wanted to be with HBO."

Although HBO and Golden Boy did not make the terms of the deal public, sources told ESPN.com it's a three-year deal that calls for at least one live HBO fight per year, with the others ticketed for HBO PPV.

Alvarez is supposed to open the deal Dec. 6 on regular HBO at a location to be determined, perhaps Houston. No opponent is signed, and, although former welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey has been linked to the fight, De La Hoya said Alvarez could face brawler James Kirkland, who recently turned down a fight with Gabriel Rosado for Nov. 8 on HBO's Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev telecast.

"Absolutely, it's a possibility. Maybe Kirkland," De La Hoya said.

De La Hoya was due to be in New York by Monday night and said he planned to meet with Alvarez and HBO this week to talk about the particulars of the December fight.

De La Hoya added that he hopes the Alvarez deal with HBO won't negatively impact his dealings with Espinoza and Showtime, which has been the exclusive home to Golden Boy's major fights since HBO booted the company off the network 18 months ago -- before ironing things out in the past few weeks.

"I have Leo Santa Cruz signed to Golden Boy, I have Deontay Wilder signed to Golden Boy, I have 'Kid Chocolate' [Peter Quillin] signed to Golden Boy. We have business to do," De La Hoya said, naming three boxers who have been regulars on Showtime. "But I didn't have those fighters calling me every day saying they wanted to be with HBO, so we have business to do and fights to make. This is nothing personal.

"When I said I wanted to work with every promoter and deal with all the networks and make good fights, I think this is another indication that I am dead serious."

Oscar: No Stiverne-Wilder deal yet

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
7:23
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Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya's message was very clear: Don't believe everything you hear.

Contrary to an announcement by the WBC, which said De La Hoya and Don King had reached an agreement for the heavyweight title bout between Bermane Stiverne and mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder, De La Hoya told ESPN.com on Sunday night that no deal had been reached.

[+] EnlargeBermane Stiverne
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesHeavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne's mandatory defense against Deontay Wilder could be headed toward a purse bid.
Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs), who is promoted by King, is due to make his first defense against the Golden Boy-promoted Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs). A purse bid had been scheduled for Sept. 12, but when the camps told the WBC they were getting closer, it was postponed. If no deal is reached, the purse bid is scheduled for Wednesday.

De La Hoya said he and King have spoken several times but "the problem is we're not getting any closer. I want to make an agreement and we'll see what we can do, but there is nothing agreed to. There is no deal."

De La Hoya was scheduled to fly to New York on Monday for Canelo Alvarez/HBO-related business but said he would again reach out to King, whom he said he has been unable to get in touch with for the past few days.

"I just wanted to clarify there is no deal done, and I have no idea if there will be one," De La Hoya said. "I talked to [WBC president] Mauricio [Sulaiman], and he told me King told him there was a deal. So I rolled my eyes and said, 'That's Don King for you.' The truth of the matter is Deontay Wilder is a Golden Boy fighter, and no deal can be made without talking to me or me giving the authority to talk to [Golden Boy vice president] Eric Gomez.

"Don made an offer. I'm not gonna say the offer but the proper protocol is to give me a site and a date, and that's what I am waiting for. He didn't tell me when and where the fight would be. We're OK with the money, but we want to get the fight done this year. Without a site and date, what would keep Don from just changing things? So without a site and a date in a contract, we have no deal whatsoever."

De La Hoya said he hoped that they would be able to work it out before Wednesday's purse bid.

"I'm confident it won't go to a purse bid," De La Hoya said. "It's actually easy -- if you want to get the fight done, you get the fight done. But it won't get done if Don King can't give me a date or a site."

What about a television network? HBO and Showtime surely would have interest in one of the heavyweight division's most significant fights.

"He hasn't given me that, either," De La Hoya said, adding he is willing to work with any network that offers an acceptable deal. "My motto is I'll give the opportunity to anybody. Since when is competition not healthy?"

Lawsuit vs. Canelo headed to mediation

September, 24, 2014
Sep 24
4:28
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The big news of the week as it relates to Canelo Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions is that they are headed back to HBO after Alvarez signed a multifight contract this week for the network to once again televise his bouts on both the regular network as well as HBO PPV.

Alvarez had been fighting on rival Showtime for the past two years in the wake of a falling out between HBO and Golden Boy, one that stemmed, in large part, from HBO opting for the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight on HBO PPV in September 2012 (on Mexican Independence Day weekend) instead of supporting an Alvarez fight.

Getting less publicity than Alvarez’s new deal, however, is the ongoing lawsuit filed by All-Star Boxing promoter Felix “Tuto” Zabala Jr. against Alvarez and Golden Boy.

The crux of the suit, filed in Miami-Dade circuit court in Florida in early 2011, is that Zabala contends that he signed Alvarez to a four-year promotional deal in 2008 and that Golden Boy interfered and stole the fighter. Zabala is seeking millions in punitive damages.

These kinds of cases typically move at a snail’s pace, but there has been some movement in the Alvarez one. The sides are scheduled to meet for mediation in Miami on Friday. If there is no resolution via mediation, a trial is scheduled to begin on Dec. 8, two days after Alvarez is tentatively scheduled for the first fight of his HBO deal.
LAS VEGAS -- When Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya paid a visit a couple of months ago to the Los Angeles home of Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, it was to put the years of animosity behind them, not to talk any specific business.

After all, for many years they had been a great team. Between De La Hoya's work in the ring and Arum's brilliant promotion of him they made hundreds of millions of dollars together and tons of big fights.

[+] EnlargeBob Arum, Oscar De La Hoya
Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesAfter years of division between them, promoters Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya are looking to potentially work together.
But the relationship ultimately went south, De La Hoya went out on his own, and the Top Rank-Golden Boy so-called cold war raged. It had a detrimental impact on boxing over the past several years because the companies refused to match their fighters against other, depriving fans of numerous fights we all wanted to see.

When De La Hoya decided he wanted to make amends and open the door to working together, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer was adamantly against it. He didn't trust Arum and didn't like him either. It was a major bone of contention between De La Hoya and Schaefer and one of the many reasons Schaefer resigned from Golden Boy in an acrimonious split in early June.

With Schaefer gone, De La Hoya reached out to Arum for the initial meeting, which went well as they reminisced about the many good times they had together.

On Thursday, things turned more serious as De La Hoya -- in Las Vegas because Golden Boy is co-promoting Saturday night's Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana rematch at the MGM Grand -- paid a visit to Top Rank's offices and met with Arum and Top Rank president Todd duBoef, Arum's stepson.

Unlike the meeting to bury the hatchet, this one was about business, their first in many years.

"It was a good meeting," De La Hoya told ESPN.com inside the media center at the MGM Grand on Friday. "[We are] just basically opening the doors to working together, to possibly making fights that are worth watching."

So, any fights in particular?

"Well, obviously Canelo came up," De La Hoya said of Canelo Alvarez, Golden Boy's biggest star, whose eventual showdown with middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, who is aligned with Top Rank, seems inevitable and is boxing's biggest fight not involving Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao. "I told Bob that I'm gonna sit down with Canelo next week. He's flying to L.A. and I'm going to sit down with him. So I have no news there. But we talked about Mikey Garcia, we talked about other fighters. We were just talking boxing. We talked about Abner Mares, various fighters and fights that we could possibly make."

De La Hoya said there are plenty of fan-friendly matches the companies can make with each other and that he is hopeful they will be able to do them. Since De La Hoya has taken over the day-to-day operations of Golden Boy in the wake of Schaefer's resignation, he has preached that the only important thing to him in boxing is to make the best fights for the fans. He can now make it more than just talk -- as long as Arum is up for it also. Arum has said multiple times that he is also willing.

"The way it ended was I told Bob, 'I'll give you a call next week,'" De La Hoya said. "We're gonna see what happens this weekend, we'll see what Canelo wants and then we'll talk.

"There was no dialogue before, so the fact that we are having dialogue, the fact that the doors are open, we're on the right path."

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