Photo by Ethan Miller for Getty Images
by Gautham Nagesh
A tumultuous month for boxing was punctuated late Sunday night, when promoters Bob Arum of Top Rank and Oscar de la Hoya of Golden Boy announced an end to years of hostilities.
The pair will collaborate on a series of cards in the coming months matching their top fighters in every division. The cards will take place at major stadiums and coliseums throughout the country. The first show will feature Top Rank cash cow Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez at Cowboys Stadium on Cinco de Mayo; the last wil be headlined by the long-awaited showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather at the Superdome in New Orleans in August.
Most stunning is the news the shows will air not on Pay Per View, but over broadcast television to maximize the potential audience. Several networks have already begun bidding on the rights; the promoters are also counting on strong revenue from both tickets and advertising.
"We know it’s a risk, but we’re confident that if we put out the best product, the fans will come back to boxing," Arum told reporters at a press conference in New York.
"We’re trying to look beyond the short-term in hopes of growing the sport’s overall audience," added de la Hoya.
Other fights that have already been signed include Nonito Donaire vs Abner Mares, Mikey Garcia vs. Gary Russell Jr., Brandon Rios vs. Adrien Broner, Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Tim Bradley, Mike Jones vs. Lucas Matthysse, Gennady Golovkin vs. Peter Quillen, and Chris John vs. Juan Manuel Lopez. Brian Viloria vs. Ivan Morales has also been discussed, if an agreement on a catchweight can be reached.
To top it off, both promoters announced they will stop recognizing the belts handed out by the WBC, WBA and other sanctioning bodies, relying instead on a combination of rankings from Ring Magazine and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. Both cited the rising sanctioning fees and increasingly unreasonable demands from officials at the alphabet bodies.
"A room at the Four Seasons is one thing, but I’m not going to give Jose Sulaiman’s son a permanent job at Top Rank,” Arum said. “I don’t care who you’ve bribed, nepotism will only get you so far. I need those jobs for my daughter and son-in-law.”
"The last time I partied with [WBA President Gilberto] Mendoza, the pictures ended up all over the tabloids. Not cool,” spat de la Hoya.
"What’s going to happen if we stop paying those sanctioning fees? Nothing. Any jackass can order a belt and crown themselves a champion. We’re finally saying enough is enough."
Editor’s Note: Happy April 1st!
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