AVILA INSIGHT: HBO and Golden Boy Ink Deal With Canelo

Oscar De La Hoya returned fire in the opening salvo against all those lining up against him. Kind of like one of those De La Hoya left hooks in his prime.

It was announced on Tuesday that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has signed a long term contract with HBO thus giving both leverage in their battle against rival Nevada-based promoters. No longer does a cold war exist. It’s full-fledged “Mayhem.”

As rival promoters stack their fighters on Showtime, the Los Angeles-based Golden Boy Promotions made its move by countering and signing a deal with HBO. It also allows them to be in a prime position for Alvarez to fight Miguel Cotto in either May or September should Cotto agree.

“I want those dates. They’re Mexican dates,” said Alvarez, who was pushed aside by Showtime to allow Mayweather to fight on those dates. “I want to fight on those Mexican dates. I want them.”

Though some experts deride Alvarez’s fighting prowess, the redhead from Guadalajara has proven to be a draw, especially with Mexican fight fans. The Cinco de Mayo date will perhaps be scheduled in San Antonio, Texas. But first, Alvarez will fight in December. No opponent or site has been determined.

Recently, De La Hoya has been meeting with Top Rank’s Bob Arum. You can imagine the advice he received from the old wizard. This recent move was right out of the Arum Playbook.

During a conference call, De La Hoya was asked if he gave Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza a verbal agreement?

“No verbal agreement,” answered De La Hoya. “I’m obviously doing what Canelo is asking of me.”

Canelo was part of the record breaking pay-per-view money during his fight with Floyd Mayweather. Since that fight, the Las Vegas prizefighter has not come close to approaching those PPV numbers of September 2013.

A civil war between Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank seems to be ended but it seems trivial when compared to what’s about to occur as several other promotion companies seek to grab a foothold. The ultimate prize is television contracts and the riches it can bring.

At the moment De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions leads the pack with television contracts with Showtime, Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes that allow the company prime exposure for its prizefighters.

Those struggling to shove their way in are Mayweather Promotions, Al Haymon Promotions, Main Events, K2 Promotions, Goossen-Tutor Promotions, Gary Shaw Productions, Don King Productions and new players like hip hop star Jay Z’s Roc Nation and Iron Mike Promotions. All want a piece of the television pie. It’s the key to exposure and that means big money fights.

Television remains the most important asset for any boxing or MMA promotions. A single prizefighting event on a network can result in 1 million to 20 million viewers. It’s exposure that can make or break a promotion company so obtaining television viewers can bump up a fighter’s salary.

Middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, who trains in Big Bear Lake and fights on Oct. 18, at the StubHub Center, vaulted from a good fighter with no recognition to a rapidly popular boxer because of exposure from HBO telecasts of his fights. K-2 Promotions convinced the network to telecast his fights and after two years saw that the Kazakhstan boxer had star appeal.

Back in the Golden Age of boxing before the 1950s, television fights did not exist. High-powered promotion companies barnstormed around target areas to attract fans around the country to their arenas. Fighters like Jack Dempsey, Max Baer, Joe Louis and others depended on newspapers and radio for exposure. Now, they battle for TV exposure.

It was rumored that Al Haymon, a boxing powerbroker with at least 40 high-profile prizefighters under his wing, has initiated plans to start his own television network that will feature his fighters like Lucas Matthysse, Robert Guerrero, Keith Thurman, Chris Pearson and others. The company has previously depended on Golden Boy to televise its fighters but now seeks to go on its own.

Golden Boy’s presumed alliance with Top Rank would give them added television power and the ability to match each of their stars like Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, Mikey Garcia and Amir Khan.

“I met with Bob Arum to bury the hatchet and down the road we can work together for the sake of boxing,” said De La Hoya. “There are a lot of great fights that can be made.”

About Alvarez, the president of Golden Boy said “we’ve always said there is something special about Canelo.”

Fights on television

Sat. PPV, 7 p.m., Demetrious Johnson (20-2-1) vs. Chris Cariaso (17-5).

Sat. Fox Deportes, 7 p.m., Javier Prieto (24-7-1) vs. Ivan Cano (22-6-1).

Sat. beIn Sports, 11 p.m., Omar Chavez (32-2-1) vs. Ramon Alvarez (19-4-2).

Mon. Fox Sports 1, 7 p.m., Joseph Diaz (11-0) vs. Raul Hidalgo (22-11).



-StormCentre :

Without Top Rank Oscar knows his business seriously risks being eaten alive by all the new players, market forces, and also the results of current/future legal actions; including that which may involve tsAH. Otherwise . . . .