THREE PUNCH COMBO: BOLD PREDICTIONS — The first edition of the three punch combo for 2017 features some bold predictions for the upcoming year. As we saw in 2016, the only certainty in boxing is to expect the unexpected.
Canelo-Golovkin Happens With a Twist
In 2014, Oscar De La Hoya retook his promotional company and announced boldly that he was committed to making the best fights in the sport. According to De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions would work with anyone and put any of their fighters on the line in order to make the best possible fights. However, when an opportunity arose in 2016 to make a super fight between his company’s best asset in Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, De La Hoya wavered and ultimately passed on the mega fight. De La Hoya clearly wanted to milk as much out of his cash cow as possible and did so with two pay-per-view events in 2016 that featured Canelo in bouts he was heavily favored to win.
But De La Hoya knows that he can only milk Canelo for so long before having to expose him to more risk. Public pressure is mounting as fans did not respond well to Canelo’s choice of opponents in 2016. De La Hoya is backed into a corner and knows it. The fight between Canelo and Golovkin is going to happen in 2017 but Oscar will get something more out of it for his company.
As part of the deal for Canelo-Golovkin, expect Golden Boy Promotions to get future dates on HBO Latino. My guess is that Golden Boy will get at least one card a month for a year. De La Hoya needs an avenue to develop his stable and HBO wants badly to make Canelo-Golovkin. HBO delved recently into using HBO Latino to showcase the sport and the time seems right to expand upon this avenue.
In this scenario, the biggest fight in boxing in 2017 gets made and a new series is started that should produce solid fights. In the end, everyone, including the fans, wins in this common sense deal.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. Comes Back Against…
Is there anyone involved in the sport of boxing who thinks that Floyd Mayweather Jr. will never fight again? It seems inevitable and Mayweather himself was dropping not-so-subtle hints in 2016 of a looming comeback.
The longest layoff of Mayweather’s career was nearly two years (651 days to be exact) between December 2007 and September 2009. This was after his first retirement. He turns 40 in February and I suspect will not want to be out of the ring much longer than he was during the first retirement. This puts 2017 in line for the comeback.
Who will Mayweather face? He has made it clear he wants to be paid quite handsomely. Thus, the opponent must have a name and bring in serious drawing power. Some would say this would be UFC star Conor McGregor. But I see no chance of such a fight and see the banter between the two as just good publicity. McGregor has never boxed professionally and the bout would be seen as a total mismatch that would logistically be difficult for any boxing commission to give its stamp of approval.
Mayweather will instead turn to an old foe that fits the provision of being a big name with big drawing power. That old foe is Miguel Cotto.
Cotto has a fight scheduled in February against James Kirkland, an opponent that Cotto should show well against. This is also the last fight of Cotto’s deal with Roc Nation. Al Haymon, Mayweather’s longtime advisor, does not have a good relationship with Roc Nation. But with Roc Nation out of the way and Cotto a free agent, the path to make such a fight is clear.
Cotto himself is no doubt looking for one last big payday. He could conceivably turn to a rematch with Canelo Alvarez but, as noted above, Canelo will probably be preoccupied in 2017. Mayweather is the only other fighter that could draw the big payday and spotlight that Cotto seeks.
The first fight between Mayweather and Cotto was entertaining as well as relatively close. The rematch could easily be sold to the public and do well on pay-per-view. It just makes too much sense not to happen and I suspect sometime in the fall of 2017 to see Mayweather return to the ring to face Miguel Cotto.
Al Haymon’s HBO Ban is Removed
In 2013, Al Haymon was banned from HBO after he engineered Floyd Mayweather’s move to rival Showtime. Since then, a handful of Haymon fighters have appeared on HBO in a one-off exception to the ban. But for close to four years, Haymon and HBO have not really done business.
There is evidence the relationship is thawing as another one-off deal was recently made. This time, it is for a very significant fight – a middleweight unification bout between Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs. Both HBO and Haymon could have swerved and not made this fight but they got it done for HBO PPV in March.
With the announcement of Golovkin-Jacobs, HBO and Haymon signaled that they both realize they need each other. HBO has the largest budget in boxing and Haymon needs their dollars as his other avenues have had mixed results, to say the least. Haymon has one of the largest stables in boxing with some of the sport’s most talented and marketable fighters and HBO needs to be able to tap into his stable to maintain the quality that their subscribers expect from them.
My guess is there won’t be an official announcement from HBO that the ban is removed but they will put on a Haymon card later this year. It may even be a crossover card featuring Haymon fighters along with Top Rank fighters. But Haymon, the businessman, will work his way back to HBO out of necessity, much like HBO will work again with Haymon out of the same necessity.
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