Is there a better diplomat in boxing than Oscar De La Hoya? Days after promoter Bob Arum stopped coughing up mold spores long enough to weigh in on the UFC, the mostly retired boxer gave The Orange County Register a fair assessment of his event's chances against UFC 103 on Saturday. (De La Hoya is co-promoting the Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez bout, which airs opposite the UFC offering of Vitor Belfort versus Rich Franklin.)
"We have no problem with [going up against the UFC]," De La Hoya said. "Look, we have different audiences. We have our own marketing plan. They have their own marketing plan. We're almost sold out. I don't know about them, but Look, we have the '24/7' thing [on HBO] and tremendous sponsors behind us. They have great sponsors behind them. We're in our own worlds. Let them do great, we're gonna do great and everybody wins."
Are their audiences really so different? Although boxing fans often can skew older, there's undoubtedly an overlap -- and where those viewers lean will influence who earns bragging rights for the weekend. The last shows topped by Franklin, UFCs 93 and 99, sold an estimated 320,000-360,000 buys but were hampered by a notoriously fickle attitude from fans about tape-delayed UK events; Mayweather's last fight, versus UK star Ricky Hatton, sold 925,000 buys domestically. Mayweather's bout with De La Hoya scored 2.4 million, an industry record. But Mayweather's fight against a little-known Carlos Baldomir netted only 325,000 homes.
It will be a very interesting weekend.