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Oscar De La Hoya gives update on Canelo return, says fighters today price themselves out

The Golden Boy promoter believes fighters are often asking for too much right now.

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Canelo Alvarez is hoping to be back on Sept. 12, but if promoter Oscar De La Hoya’s recent chat with Cynthia Conte is any indication, it might be wise not to get your hopes up, and there are understandable reasons for that.

Under Canelo’s historic deal with DAZN, he’s guaranteed an average of about $33 million per fight right now. That is a huge figure, and without a live gate whatsoever to help offset some of that cost, it’s an albatross of a figure.

De La Hoya himself didn’t put it that harshly, but he admitted it’s a serious issue.

“If you take that fight to Las Vegas, to T-Mobile Arena, is it gonna be open to the public? We just don’t know yet,” he said. “We know that Bob Arum has been doing smaller shows, I believe with no audience, or maybe some audience, but it’s really not gonna be enough people to generate the monies that are being paid out. That’s a big problem. That’s one of our big concerns. How do we pay Canelo, and how do we pay his opponent? And plus, you have to expense out the four fights that are on the undercard and all the testing that we have to do. It’s a major concern, but we’ll figure it out.”

De La Hoya’s concern, again, is understandable, and it’s reason enough to seriously doubt that Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KO) will fight in September, because frankly there’s no good reason to suspect Las Vegas will be allowing a 20,000-seat venue to fill up in about two-and-a-half months.

That also means that anyone hoping for a third fight with Gennadiy Golovkin in September — even though it’s been plainly stated by everyone that’s not happening — should put that on ice.

“A fight with Gennadiy Golovkin, we need a gate. We need people, we need a crowd,” De La Hoya said. “And until we know what Las Vegas is gonna do, we can’t pull the trigger on anything regarding a Canelo fight. Believe me, we’re working every single day, trying to see what we can come up with and to make sure that everyone is happy, and to make sure that when Gennadiy fights and Canelo fights, it’s the best thing for everybody.”

Oscar did say that Canelo isn’t trying to avoid anyone, but that he doesn’t want to name any names right now, which is fair, as everything would be pure speculation even from the inside at this point.

“Canelo wants the very best all the time. He wants to fight anybody. We don’t have any opponents nailed down, and I even hate mentioning names, because if I mention a name, they add another zero to their negotiations, so I’m not going to say any names.”

De La Hoya also went on something of a “kids these days” rant, regarding what he feels is fighters pricing themselves out of big opportunities.

“When you don’t want to fight somebody, you price yourself out, and unfortunately, a lot of these fighters are getting a lot of bad advice,” he said, which echoes recent statements he made about Ryan Garcia.

“They’re not realizing that we’re living in different times. You can’t be making the same monies, it’s just impossible. You gotta actually subtract a couple of zeroes instead of adding them. And just because you have an offer to fight a Canelo, let’s say, it doesn’t mean that your market value just skyrocketed. It just means you’re going to make more money than you’ve ever made, but be reasonable. A big problem has been these fighters are just pricing themselves out.

“Look, when I was fighting, I fought for the glory and the honor and to fight everybody and anybody. It didn’t matter. When I fought Felix Trinidad, I made a huge purse, but then my next fight after that, I fought I believe in El Paso and made, I don’t know, 30 percent of what I made with Trinidad. You have to be flexible, you have to be understanding, that the market has changed, the market is different.”

De La Hoya’s memory is a little faulty here, though there is also some accuracy in what he’s saying, albeit missing some context. He only fought in El Paso once in his career, against Patrick Charpentier in 1998. He fought Trinidad in 1999, and his next fight after that was against Derrell Coley at Madison Square Garden in Feb. 2000.

De La Hoya had a reported $21 million purse against Trinidad, and $5 million against Coley, which is actually only about 24 percent, not even 30, but it wasn’t a change in market, certainly not anything like what we’re dealing with now. It’s just that Coley wasn’t a star and De La Hoya-Coley was a bounce-back fight, while De La Hoya-Trinidad was a huge fight. He made a smaller purse because it was a smaller fight and he was trying to get a win after a controversial loss. In his first bout with Shane Mosley, which followed the Coley fight, De La Hoya was back up to a guaranteed $15 million purse, and after losing that one he was back down to $5 million to fight Arturo Gatti.

De La Hoya continued on with a series of questions about money and legacy.

“Does the money matter or does the legacy matter? That’s what fighters have to ask themselves, you know? Do I really want to be world champion or do I just want to make money and get out of the sport? Do I want to give the fight fans the best fights possible, the best of me, or do I just want to make the money? I think a lot of fighters today just want to make the money, which is not fun for us, because we just want to make the fights.”

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