Middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez and challenger Amir Khan will christen the new 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for boxing.
Golden Boy Promotions announced Friday that it has finalized a deal with the MGM Resorts International-owned arena, which opens in April and sits just off the famed Las Vegas Strip, to host Alvarez-Khan on May 7 (HBO PPV).
"The new T-Mobile Arena was clearly the perfect venue choice to host the battle that will be Canelo vs. Khan on May 7," Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya said. "Boxing in Las Vegas is truly an exciting event, and the fans with tickets to the fight will be in for a treat watching the fight in this new, state-of-the-art venue."
But while De La Hoya was finalizing the May 7 site, he also spent three hours Thursday meeting with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones about the possibility of AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, hosting a future Alvarez fight -- perhaps a much-anticipated matchup with unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin, which many view as the biggest fight to be made in boxing.
"I walked into the stadium and I was dreaming that I was still fighting," De La Hoya said. "Boy, that stadium is incredible. Jerry has been wanting to meet with me for quite a while now. With his stadium and Golden Boy and Canelo, I strongly believe it will be a perfect match down the line to stage a fight with Canelo there.
"We didn't talk about a specific fight, but we discussed Canelo. With Jerry Jones' machine there, he expressed that by bringing Canelo, he could sell the place out. That's how strong the Hispanic market is in Dallas, and Jerry Jones recognizes that."
As far as getting the May 7 site situated, Golden Boy was open to offers from various venues, although it had already cleared the date with the Nevada State Athletic Commission to hold the fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, T-Mobile Arena's 16,500-seat sister facility, where Alvarez has fought several times. But the commission recently approved Golden Boy's request to switch to T-Mobile Arena while the promoter and MGM Resorts worked to finish their deal.
"As the newest sports and entertainment venue in Las Vegas, T-Mobile Arena was designed to host major boxing events, including the first-ever fight featuring Canelo vs. Khan," said Richard Sturm, president of entertainment and sports for MGM Resorts International. "Fight fans will have the opportunity to experience prefight activations at Toshiba Plaza as well as the arena's multiple food and beverage options. We are excited to welcome the two fighters back to Las Vegas and look forward to a great event in May."
Mexico's Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) will be making his first defense against former unified junior welterweight titleholder Khan (31-3, 19 KOs), a welterweight contender from England whom he will meet at a catchweight of 155 pounds on Cinco de Mayo weekend. Alvarez won the middleweight world title by decision from Miguel Cotto on Nov. 21 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas -- another MGM Resorts International property.
Should Alvarez win -- and if heavy favorite Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) defeats mandatory challenger Dominic Wade (18-0, 12 KOs) on April 23 at The Forum in Inglewood, California -- they have been mandated to meet next. De La Hoya said AT&T Stadium certainly would be in the conversation as a site for Alvarez's next bout, but he did not commit to the Golovkin fight being next for Alvarez.
The Alvarez-Khan winner has 15 days to commit to facing Golovkin or risk being stripped of the WBC belt.
"Eventually that fight is going to happen, no doubt about it, but we're focused on May 7 and Amir Khan," De La Hoya said. "At the end of our threee-hour conversation, Jerry and I concluded that we will further our conversations on May 8. In the meantime, Golovkin has a fight at The Forum and Canelo is fighting May 7. Is the [Alvarez-Golovkin] fight going to happen? Absolutely. But we don't know when yet. But will it happen? Absolutely, yes.
"Bringing Canelo to Dallas is a no-brainer. We discussed bringing over Canelo. We did not discuss any specific opponent, but he said he would love to have Canelo in his stadium. We really clicked. It was quite a conversation."
Last year, Jones hosted Golovkin and Tom Loeffler, his promoter, at a Cowboys game, so he knows how big Alvarez-Golovkin would be. AT&T Stadium has hosted two previous fights, both in 2010, when Manny Pacquiao won world title bouts there. He easily outpointed Joshua Clottey to retain his welterweight title, followed by a one-sided thrashing of Antonio Margarito to win a vacant junior middleweight title and set the boxing record by claiming a world title in his eighth weight division.
"Jerry said to me, 'You bring Canelo, he sells the place out," De La Hoya said. "Coming from him, he knows what he's talking about, and he was very confident in saying it."
De La Hoya said he and Jones also discussed the prospect of holding fights at the new Cowboys training complex he is building in Frisco, Texas.
"We talked about doing other fights, maybe an HBO fight, maybe a series of fights," De La Hoya said. "But he also said he wants Canelo this year."
De La Hoya said Alvarez would fight on Sept. 17 -- Mexican Independence Day weekend -- and again in December.
"Canelo wants to do three fights this year," De La Hoya said. "First is May 7. We feel May 7 -- with the new T-Mobile Arena having Canelo there in the first sporting event it adds a lot of value to the show, and we believe it will be a no-brainer to sell it out. Then, maybe we will head to Dallas."