A Showtime boxing executive says Oscar De La Hoya was “deceitful” in his negotiations with the network regarding boxer Canelo Alvarez, who instead signed a big deal with rival network HBO.
Oscar’s Golden Boy Promotions on Tuesday announced Alvarez’s new partnership with HBO. Canelo, like many of Golden Boy’s fighters, had been fighting on Showtime in the past year. The Mexican boxer is a fan favorite and has the ability to sell out venues and generate over 300,000 pay-per-view buys. Outside of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, there are not many other fighters — if any — who have the drawing power of Canelo. That’s why the loss hurts Showtime.
Beyond that, Showtime boxing executive Stephen Espinoza says De La Hoya was deceitful during the negotiation.
“The announcement didn’t come as any surprise to me because Oscar has talked since July about wanting to having ‘Canelo’ fight Miguel Cotto in May with HBO fighters on the undercard,” Espinoza told the LA Times’ Lance Pugmire. “But the deceitful manner Oscar went about it … there’s no repercussions to this promise that was reneged on with a company you do business with.”
One of the reasons Oscar may have taken Canelo to HBO is because Showtime would not pay the $4 million license fee Golden Boy was seeking for Alvarez to fight Joshua Clottey in December. Espinoza did not think that would be a deal-breaker, but it may have been enough to sway De La Hoya towards HBO. He also said there was a verbal agreement that Canelo would sign with Showtime.
Another reason Canelo left for HBO is so he can fight in May and September on the same weekends as big Mexican holidays. This is how De La Hoya scheduled his pro fights, and it’s the same way Mayweather has done it. Mayweather, despite not being Mexican, is with Showtime, and that has prevented Alvarez from doing the same thing.
“There were many factors involved in making the decision but recouping the dates (was important),” Alvarez said. “I always wanted to fight on Cinco de Mayo (weekend) and in September (on the weekend of Mexican independence day) because being Mexican those are always the dates that are celebrated and I am excited to fulfill my dreams of continuing that Mexican tradition.”
Canelo is expected to fight Clottey in December and Miguel Cotto in May as long as all goes to plan.
Oscar moving Canelo back to HBO, where he fought from 2010-2012, is a huge step towards Golden Boy repairing its relationship with the network. HBO had problems with former Golden Boy exec Richard Schaefer and stopped doing business with the group. Golden Boy instead went to Showtime. But Oscar took control of his company after coming out of rehab, leading Schaefer to leave the company. He has put Golden Boy back in business with HBO, and his next step might actually be to work with Bob Arum’s Top Rank.
We make fun of Oscar here and there, but if he’s able to do business with both networks and set fights with Arum, then he’ll be doing a lot more good for the sport than bad.