You're fight isn't with mixed martial arts! How many times can we scream this at the folks who run boxing? Fix things internally, steal the positive ideas from MMA and your sport will be back on the upswing. Makes sense, right? If so, why, on a night when over 20,000 packed the Staples Center for a big boxing match, was HBO's Larry Merchant uttering some nonsense about a huge payoff Golden Boy Promotions accepted to have Oscar De La Hoya attend the Affliction MMA card down the road in Anaheim?
Merchant put forth this theory on why DLH wasn't at Staples watching his business partner Shane Mosley beat Antonio Margarito:
"A celebrity who is here in bronze only [referring to a bronze statue of Oscar De La Hoya that stands outside the Staples Center]. Oscar De La Hoya, the live version, is in nearby Anaheim, where his company got a $5 million fee from a t-shirt maker so that he would be personally involved the promotion of a mixed martial arts show. It would take that much, Jim, to get me to go to one of those things."
The notion of paying De La Hoya more than the entire Affliction 2 fighter payroll to attend the event and appear during the post-fight is so preposterous only someone with blinders on would present it as fact. It sounds like someone fed Merchant a bogus line and he let this stupid hatred of MMA that is so pervasive amongst "boxing people" cloud his judgement.
Read Merchant's statement closely -- "His company got a fee from a t-shirt maker so that he would be personally involved in the PROMOTION of a mixed martial arts show."
Even if you believe the payoff happened, did De La Hoya actually do anything to promote the Affliction 2 show and sell pay-per-views? He watched the event in person and attended two pre-fight press conferences during the week. If you were going to pay Golden Boy (a partner with Affliction) a huge sum, wouldn't you have him do a ton of radio and television interviews before the event? What value is there in having DLH on camera watching the card?
We couldn't find any boxing media members who thought that this payoff seemed feasible. Most thought that De La Hoya simply found a convenient way to avoid the loud boos that were sure to come from the Margarito fans at Staples. A prominent Latino MMA fighter told Cage Writer that De La Hoya has lost a lot of his Mexican-American fans because he quit on the stool last month against Manny Pacquiao. He went on to say that Latino fans expect Mexican boxers to be warriors and De La Hoya would've have garnered more respect had he been knocked out. By tending to his MMA interests De La Hoya also avoided addressing his fighting future with the assembled boxing media up the road.
Is it also so unbelievable that De La Hoya might actually be interested in getting more heavily involved in the promotion of MMA and wanted to see what the Affliction event, and more importantly, the Fedor Emelianenko-business is all about?
Photo on the left via Combat Lifestyle