In an conversation with Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports, Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya talks about how bad a year 2016 has been for the sport of boxing, rating it worse than anything he’s seen before.
“I think 2016 should go down as one of the worst years in boxing history, maybe the worst,” De La Hoya said, firmly.
Although he may not be completely off-base with this assessment, the irony is that De La Hoya actively contributed to this disappointing year — failing to deliver a highly anticipated Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin fight and pushing it off until late next year.
Even still, De La Hoya isn’t completely to blame for what boxing fans have had to endure this year. HBO and Showtime have had long stretches on inactivity as far as boxing programming is concerned, Premier Boxing Champions appears to be in a downward spiral, and frankly there are just much fewer stars in the sport as there have been in years past.
But De La Hoya believes its up to the promoters, himself included, to do a better job at providing exposure for the talent out there to shine.
“I’ll be honest, you don’t see fighters being promoted like we’d gotten used to seeing,” he said. “When [Top Rank’s] Bob Arum promotes someone, you know it. When I promote Canelo, you know it. There is talent out there, but promoters need to step up to the plate and promote their fighters. We need to go to the highest mountain and shout about all these guys and what they bring to [the table].”
Ultimately I’m not so sure that better promotion is going to be sole solution to boxing’s current problems. What drives fan interest is making the truly compelling fights that fans want to see. Time and time again its proven that when the good fights are made, fans will tune in. But those fights come too far and in between to keep any sort of momentum building or to grow boxing’s audience.
There has been a slew of fights that Showtime has recently announced which have been well-received, but will that trend continue throughout next year? Looking back, it’s a little hard to be optimistic about that.