Alvarez-Golovkin Provides Boxing Purists Chance To Escape Last Month's Money Fight
Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin face off Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in a bout that is as "highly anticipated by boxing purists" as Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor was to UFC fans, according to Tim Dahlberg of the AP. Boxing is in the "midst of a renaissance of sorts," and this fight "shapes up as the most anticipated fight of the year in boxing." It is "not too much of a stretch to say it might be the best middleweight clash" since Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns in '85. Boxing fans will "open their wallets for this bout." It "won't sell as much" as Mayweather-McGregor, but it "still figures to do huge pay-per-view numbers." The fight is a "showcase of all that's good about boxing" (AP, 9/12). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jim Chairusmi noted the fighters have global fan bases that are "drooling over their fight," but it "isn’t getting nearly the attention" of Mayweather-McGregor. Neither Alvarez nor Golovkin is "nearly as familiar to U.S. sports fans as Mayweather and McGregor." However, boxing fans "appear to be buying in." Tickets for Alvarez-Golovkin "quickly sold out," something that the Mayweather-McGregor card in the same venue "failed to do, although tickets for that event were priced much higher" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/14). In Las Vegas, Jesse Granger notes the fight "hasn't been preceded by continuous jawing between the fighters, or backpacks of money being thrown in the air, or expletive-lined suits." Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya: "This event needs no hype whatsoever. This is a fight that's a can't-miss event" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 9/15). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said because the build-up "isn’t there” for Alvarez-Golovkin, that “doesn’t mean the result won’t be there.” It is possible for boxing "to take back its position" in the sports world by "giving you a great fight” (“PTI,” ESPN, 9/14).
BUYING THE HYPE: In Phoenix, Greg Moore noted the fight has the "potential to be the sort of fight that books are written about." This is the "closest thing to a Super Bowl we're likely to see in boxing any time soon." It is "not the same level of event, but it's a far better fight" than Mayweather-McGregor (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/14). ESPN's David Jacoby said Alvarez-Golovkin will be a “real fight, one of the biggest boxing matches of the past years." Jacoby: "For certain it will not be the sort of show that we had with McGregor-Mayweather” (“Jalen & Jacoby,” ESPN Radio, 9/14). YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Iole wrote the bout "won’t come close to the massive pay-per-view numbers" for Mayweather-McGregor, but that had "nothing to do with the quality of the fight." This will be the one mega-bout that "lives up to its promise and delivers the high-level of skill, momentum swings and Hagler-Hearns-type ferocity once that bell rings." This is the "rare bout that has received support from the boxing community at large" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/11). In Las Vegas, Ed Graney wrote there is no certainty PPV numbers "will decrease in any manner because of Mayweather-McGregor." One would assume the fight Saturday "could do in the range of 1.5 million buys." It was "probably always going to do that many, whether the other event took place or not" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 9/14).
BRIDGING THE GAP: USA TODAY's Martin Rogers noted Alvarez is a "major star within the sport," but De La Hoya "feels he has been held back in terms of growing a crossover following by linguistic factors." While he is "comfortable conversing in English among friends and away from the spotlight, he refuses to do so on camera or in interviews." Having Alvarez speak in English would "not automatically make him must-see viewing, and there are plenty fans who would be loath to see the fighter turn off his gentlemanly persona to adopt the kind of brash and often boorish antics of Mayweather or McGregor." Yet De La Hoya "feels that English mastery would greatly enhance his boxer’s earning potential." De La Hoya: "When you go out there and speak to corporate America, you can go on TV shows and speak English it adds an extra value to you and who you are. It’s important" (USA TODAY, 9/13).
MADE OF GOLD: ESPN.com's Dan Rafael noted nearly three-and-a-half years ago, many people "pronounced Golden Boy Promotions dead." The critics said that it would "never survive the resignation of longtime CEO and co-founder Richard Schaefer" in June '14 following his "falling out with De La Hoya." De La Hoya "named himself CEO, rid the company of Schaefer allies, convinced partner Bernard Hopkins to remain and eventually promoted" Eric Gomez to president. Then he and his staff "went to work rebuilding the company following the devastating departures of an enormous amount of talent." Since Schaefer's exit, De La Hoya has "shored up the company and while it still has not fully reloaded after losing so many top fighters, it has plenty of talent and remains a stalwart of the promotional business." The biggest move was "re-signing Alvarez, one of the biggest revenue generators in boxing." De La Hoya "re-established his relationship with HBO ... after Schaefer had taken the company's business to Showtime." He "found a deal at Spanish-language Estrella TV for a regular club show to develop young fighters in Southern California," and, in January, he "struck a deal with ESPN for a minimum of 42 cards over two years with a network option for a third year." De La Hoya "clearly takes pride in the fact not only is the company still around but as busy as ever" (ESPN.com, 9/13).