Less than three months from now the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada may double as a funeral home for one of this generation's finest fighters. Shane Mosley, the same man that was widely recognized as the world's best lightweight some 13 years ago, will face Canelo Alvarez at junior middleweight in a fight made possible by the people at Golden Boy Promotions. The same people that claimed they were going to work to clean up boxing, and change the game.
When Oscar de la Hoya began his promotional company it was naturally met with some derision. Many fighters attempt such a task with limited or completely absent success. Oscar started by promoting small cards to get a feel for the business, and eventually (spoiler alert) they have grown to be one of the biggest promotional companies in the sport. In short, regardless of how little he now has to do with the finished product, he did follow through with his goal to have a legitimate promotional company. Bravo for him.
However, something has become startlingly clear over the past few years: Golden Boy Promotions is no different than any other promotional company. They protect their prospects just like other promoters. They have put on some terrible pay-per-view undercards just like other promoters. They can even bullshit just like other promoters.
Richard Schaefer, the real leader of Golden Boy, is fond of telling us how the next pay-per-view is going to shatter records, and the next HBO doubleheader is the best pair of fights on the same night since the Queensbury rules were adopted. His boss, Oscar, is also fond of this method of stating every fight is going to be huge. Galaxies will collide , stars will mate to create superstars, and the black holes will shrug. Blah, blah, blah.
Their next target for hyperbole is their May 5th pay-per-view card that will be headlined by Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto facing off in a main event that is about four years too late. Better late than never, I suppose, but I can't get quite as excited about the whole thing as I would have been circa 2008.
Nevertheless, I am still looking forward to the fight, and feel it will be better than many people anticipate.
The issue I have with this pay-per-view, however, is the simple fact that the main supporting bout is going to be the aforementioned Alvarez-Mosley matchup. I hate this fight, and everything that it stands for. Basically, we can tell that the point of this execution, er, exhibition is to allow Alvarez the "honor" of having a star's name on his ledger.
I can imagine the conversation between the Golden Boy executives on this one:
Schaefer: OK we need to make sure this card is stacked so we can draw as many buys as possible to keep Floyd from getting pissed at us. Any ideas?
Person A: Well we could put Canelo on the undercard again.
Schaefer: He's been on an undercard before?!
Person B: Yeah, he was on the undercard when Mayweather fought Ortiz. He fought that guy that won The Contender or something. Uh, I think his name was Garcia, Gonzalez, Guerrero.....anyways he was Mexican.
Schaefer: Shit. That didn't sell like we had hoped.
Person A: Did we ever release the numbers on that? How did it do?
Schaefer: It broke records.
Schaefer: Look, Oscar has been tweeting his nuts off about how we are going to shake the world up. We've got to deliver something this time.
Person B: I thought you were going to say something to him about that?
Schaefer: I did. It was that or the fishnets.
Person B: Jesus.
Schaefer: Hey, what's Shane Mosley doing?!
Person A: Uh, I don't know. He looked terrible in his last fight. It was against Pacquiao.
Schaefer: Who cares? He's a big name isn't he, and that's all that people care about.
Person B: Well what about someone a little younger like Delvin Rodriguez?
Schaefer: Can you picture it? Sugar vs. Cinnamon. Can Alvarez become the first Mexican to defeat Sugar Shane Mosley?! He has lost to an Asian, blacks, and a Puerto Rican but not a Mexican! It practically sells itself! I'm calling Doug and Mike right now so they can break it!
And there you have it. That is how this sausage got made.
[ Related: Canelo vs Mosley Breakdown ]
But maybe I am being a little bit too hard on Golden Boy. It is often said that part of loving someone is knowing when to let him/her go. Perhaps this is simply Oscar's way of euthanizing Mosley. They were once rivals, then became business partners, then somewhat became rivals again when Mosley went to Top Rank for the Pacquiao fight. Now they have come together again, once more.
Maybe this fight is Oscar's way of saying, "Look, Shane, you've been getting dominated lately, and you need to stop before you get seriously hurt. I needed my whipping from Pacquiao to straighten me out. You need this beating to help you figure out that you are finished. This is gonna hurt me more than it's gonna hurt you. Cheow."
But, sadly, this is clearly not the intent of this fight. The intent, as stated earlier, is to place Mosley's name on Alvarez's record alongside pugilistic giants like Kermit Cintron, Alfonso Gomez, and Matthew Hatton.
The reality of boxing is an awfully tough one. In the NBA when a player is no longer his old self he begins to miss shots, have poor timing, and get outran by younger, fresher legs. Eventually, he gets cut and never plays again. In boxing when a fighter can no longer keep up like he could in years past, he simply gets brutally concussed for everyone to see. It is not subtle, and it never seems to get any easier for fans to absorb the fact that their once favorite fighter is just as mortal as they are.
Bret Hart, one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all-time, likes to say that wrestlers get treated like a horse in the Old West. Promoters ride them, getting all of their use completely out of them, and then shoot them in the head (figuratively) when they have no more to give.
Ah, but this is where boxing is different. Boxing promoters do indeed ride fighters until they are completely used up. The difference is once the boxer is dead they just dust him off and prop him up anyways for another fight.
But don't worry. If you have a problem paying over $60 for this card just tell Oscar on Twitter. They listen to the fans.