In an interview piece filled with Oscar De La Hoya's usual shtick, the former fighter and Golden Boy Promotions founder tells USA Today that boxing's Cold War is over (it's not), and that Canelo Alvarez vs Miguel Cotto is now potentially a bigger fight than Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao (it's not).
On the Cold War, De La Hoya says that now that he and Golden Boy are willing to work with Top Rank once again, that means it's just done. This is simply not true, as we've pointed out before.
"There's exciting fights to be made and we have a lot of work to do. But the fact that we've knocked on the door, and the door has opened, with HBO, with Bob Arum, there's no more cold war going on. We're now on speaking terms with Bob. It's a great start. Rome wasn't built in one night, but I'm confident and optimistic we can start making these big fights and finally granting the fans' wishes for these mega-fights."
The problem now is that fighters represented by Al Haymon -- which is a lot of name fighters, many under the Golden Boy banner -- do not fight Bob Arum's Top Rank fighters. It's as simple as that. The Cold War is still happening. It's just not the Top Rank vs Golden Boy Cold War from before. In the time between those two companies last working together and today, when they say they will but have not yet, Al Haymon's influence and reach has grown enormously.
Haymon supposedly has a deal with NBC for 24 fight cards and may be looking to cut HBO (a network where he doesn't have fighters anymore) and Showtime out of the loop. Golden Boy just took Canelo Alvarez back to HBO for a multi-fight deal, and their other big, non-Haymon star, Bernard Hopkins, returns to HBO on November 8.
It's great that De La Hoya is willing to work with Arum again, because it could produce some good fights. But the idea that boxing's great divide has ended because of this is an idea that works only on totally outdated information. If this were 2010, sure, this would be the end of the Cold War, more or less. But it's not. A lot has changed. And Al Haymon is now by far the most powerful adviser or promoter or manager or anything else in American boxing. He has a deep reach, far deeper than Golden Boy, and deeper than Top Rank, too. He controls a lot of fighters' destinies and careers.
As for Canelo-Cotto, well, here's what Oscar said:
"Like every fan out there, I'm waiting patiently (for Mayweather-Pacquiao). But my patience is starting to run out and now I'm smiling over Cotto-Canelo, which I know can fill that void. ... When Cotto-Canelo gets made, I see no reason why it can't come close to the two million mark in pay-per-view buys. Yes, you have to give credit to Miguel Cotto, he's a great fighter. But you bring in the Canelo factor and it brings pay-per-view fights to a whole new level."
Canelo-Cotto will be a huge hit on pay-per-view if it happens next year. There's no doubt about that. But remember that Oscar also once predicted that Mayweather-Ortiz would break his PPV records with Floyd. Didn't come close. On this count, it's pure promoter talk. Oscar thinks Canelo-Cotto is bigger because it's a fight he can make happen, or at least try to. He has nothing to do with a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, which is absolutely still the bigger bout, with no downplaying of Canelo-Cotto meant. That's a huge fight I think we all want to see, too. But it's not Mayweather-Pacquiao, even given the decline of interest there.
I think Oscar is plenty sincere in his desire to see good fights and make them happen, but he's got a roadblock he can't do much about with Haymon. It's the same roadblock that Top Rank has, too. A lot of things still are not going to happen unless some relationships change or whatever. Haymon appears set on taking over boxing in full, or as close as he can get. Meanwhile, Arum is still operating the way it's always been done (and doing fine), and De La Hoya learned a lot of what he knows about this game from Arum, so he's going that way, too.
I'm not even saying I think someone's right or wrong, from a general standpoint. Oscar is Oscar, Arum is Arum, we know the way they try to sell certain ideas. And the similarities in their approaches are no coincidence. But Al Haymon stands in their way, and he's not playing by the old rules. There are still giant walls of ice out there in the boxing world.