Oscar De La Hoya, who is Canelo Alvarez’s promoter, explains that if he were in the same position as Alvarez, he would have also pulled off the May 4 card that will be headlined by the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Robert Guerrero.
Photo: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime
As most boxing fans are well aware, Alvarez was originally slated for a 154-pound title unification fight on that show in Las Vegas, but made the decision to back out of that in favor of headlining his own show, which is slated to take place Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio. His opponent will be the estimable Austin Trout, whose claim to fame, as it stands now, is a victory over Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden in December.
Alvarez’s position all along, as far as he explains it, was that he was not particularly interested in being the main support for Mayweather’s fight, but it was his understanding that a bout with Mayweather, which would have produced by far the largest purse of his career, would be taking place in September.
Mayweather is the type who doesn’t seem to want to commit to anything in writing, looking to leave his options open, and apparently he was not ready to put his name on the dotted line toward such a thing. At that point, it became a matter of whether Alvarez was willing to place himself in a certain position without having any assurances.
Obviously, he did not.
This, Alvarez is engaging in a branding exercise of sorts; his evaluation, and that of his handlers, is that being the top dog on his own show was better than being second banana at someone else’s party. It is his way of demonstrating that he can garner big ratings and a big live audience without having to be someone’s foil.
And he may wind up much better off because of it.
De La Hoya certainly seems to think so. He told ESPN, “The fact that Mayweather did not want to sign the contract to fight Canelo in September, I think I would have done the same thing — set my own card — to show the fans that I can tell Mayweather, ‘I don’t need you.’ It was the right choice.”
It’s not exactly the worst choice for De La Hoya’s company either. While the Mayweather-Guerrero fight may carry the banner of Golden Boy Promotions, it only takes a fee as designated by Mayweather’s promotional “organization” (and not necessarily with any back end money) while the Alvarez-Trout fight card is one that is controlled by Golden Boy, with former world champion Jesse James Leija handling the local promotion. At this particular time, Alvarez is a Golden Boy fighter, while Mayweather is pretty much his own man, with De La Hoya’s outfit along for the ride.
Tickets have ben selling briskly and all indications are that the fight is going to meet with a lot of success. So Oscar is taking a reasonable course, dedicated to developing his own man into a brand-name superstar, able to take the Latin audience with him wherever he wants. And toward that end, De La Hoya has even pledged to make Alvarez the headliner at the show he is putting on in mid-September, in conjunction with Mexican Independence Day.
De La Hoya knows that Alvarez can make a major leap forward with the fight against Trout, and that eventually, Mayweather may have to turn in his direction if he wants to be compensated more handsomely than usual. If Alvarez can keep improving his own “hand,” he may be able to raise the stakes to his benefit as this poker game moves forward.
At the very least, he’ll be able to bluff with even more alacrity.