Tuesday, September 26, 2023  |



One year after Canelo, Golden Boy’s reunion with HBO

Fighters Network


It was about a year ago, and the air outside was pleasant. We were in NYC, a bunch of boxing media guys, waiting for the redhead to show up.

His promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, made it into the meeting room at HBO headquarters, and walked around the table. Sun’s ray poured in, lit up his expression. We assesed: He shook hands, clasped hands to backs, played the promoter role. His eyes looked sharp, clear, focused. His gaze didn’t drop, he held your eye-check.

We looked at him, ruminated on the changing of the guard at Golden Boy, wondered what the near future would look for the Golden Boy, and his cinnamon-topped sidekick, the best and brightest hope for Oscar to approach the sort of success he enjoyed as a pugilist, in another arena, the promotional one.

The boss had come out of a fog, a self-induced, self-destructive one, manned up, admitted the error of his ways, and regained a glint of steel in his eyes.

This is my company…named for me..and the buck, Richard Schaefer, stops with me…and I will steer this ship and that is that.

I remember, I asked the first question, and I addressed it, not to the Mexican who turned pro at 15, and exuded a throwback stolidness, and stoicism, and apparent willingness to take on all comers that the sport, in this Mayweather era, had been lacking, but to Oscar.

Oscar, I said…things have been said, and there are some people underestimating you…thinking maybe you aren’t as committed to promoting as you were to fighting…but I myself am not underestimating your chances in this realm, I don’t think that’s a wise play…

Oscar had just done some shopping, and his manner, no holds barred, surprised some folks who’d maybe expected him to come back hat in hand. He’d gone to this side of the street, got a Canelo offer, took it to the other side of the street, compared offers. And chosen the better one, sentiment or “loyalty” aside. Art of the deal stuff, cut and dry, show me the money, talk soon…

So, Oscar, tell us, do you see yourself as becoming the top dog in the promotional sphere, and if yes, where does Canelo fit into the plan?

Oscar threw all glory to the boxer, and said he would be there for him, to help elevate him, in a manner which would benefit him, Golden Boy and fans.

I nodded, and basically, believed…but held off in making a full-on guesstimation on where Oscar and his company would be in a year.

This sport, this life, too complex to go there…

Now, a year later..and I dare say things have gone pretty well since. You recall when Canelo and Oscar and Golden Boy and HBO hammered out a deal of exclusivity, the Mexican had been handled with relative ease by Floyd Mayweather, when they tangled in September 2013. But with some time passed, more people realize that there is zero shame on getting handled by Floyd. He makes, or should I say made, A grade fighters look like C-listers.

Canelo’s character, in retrospect, looked that much more A grade, because he could have waited…ran off three more wins, maybe bought himself an extra $2 million. But no, he thought he could topple the king and he demanded a crack at it. Warriors do that, then, now, forever…you can be a boxer/businessman first and run every potential scrap through that filter, but it’s pretty certain your legacy will be viewed through that same filter. Warriors tread where others fear to step, look for viable outs… and maybe there are butterflies slam-dancing in their belly, but their visage bears no hint of anything other than proud resolve.

Canelo, Oscar told us, is that guy…

With Mayweather now off to concentrate on looking after his kids, and maybe get in some more betting on sports, and who knows what else, there is a vacuum to be filled. It will be a spell before the Floyd throne gets a new butt placed in it, and a majority of the subjects sign off on the new leader, before the new king can be crowned. But this Mexican is definitely in the mix…if he can take out the Puerto Rican ultra-vet Miguel Cotto in November his claim to the throne gets stronger..and beyond that, De Le Hoya has been sticking to his “best fighting the best” credo…so we can see Canelo stepping up again and getting into carpe diem mode again, and stepping to the line against Gennady Golovkin.

One year ago, the jury was out, on the Canelo-HBO-Golden Boy deal, and while there is still some deliberating to do, you get the sense those players all like their case, to this point. Come Nov. 21, we’ll get another step closer to a verdict.

On Thursday, HBO and Golden Boy Promotions issued a press release on the one-year anniversary of the network’s reunion with Canelo:

It was one year ago that Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya, HBO Sports President Ken Hershman, and Mexican superstar boxer Canelo ├ülvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) hosted a press conference in Los Angeles to announce a major new agreement granting HBO Sports exclusive rights to televise Canelo’s fights in the U.S.

Canelo’s road to HBO was paved by his perseverance and desire to become one of boxing’s best. He has never shied away from fighting the toughest fighters in his quest for greatness, earning the respect of fans, media, and even his rivals. On May 9, 2015, Canelo made his first appearance on HBO Sports since announcing his exclusive deal with the network and secured an impressive victory over the dangerous James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland before a crowd of more than 31,000 screaming fans at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Canelo vs. Kirkland registered the highest viewership for an HBO World Championship Boxing event since 2006 generating an average of 2.1 million views for the live airing of the event.
“I am pleased to celebrate my first anniversary with HBO. HBO is my family, and I am glad to be home. Together, we will continue to make history. I look forward to celebrating many anniversaries together with all my family members at Golden Boy Promotions and HBO. I will continue producing the best possible fights for my fans and will blindly dedicate myself to my best performances every time,” Canelo ├ülvarez said.
“The fans absolutely love Canelo. They are loyal and are the most passionate fans of any fighter in the sport of boxing today. Canelo’s exciting fighting style keeps them coming back, and he works hard to not let them down, both inside and outside of the ring. HBO is the best network for boxing, hands down, so I knew it would be the right home for Canelo and the best way for his fans to see him in action,” said Oscar De La Hoya.
“HBO Sports is thrilled to be the U.S. television home of Canelo Alvarez,” said Ken Hershman, President of HBO Sports. “He is one of the sport’s brightest superstars and our platform is ideally suited to maximize all of his goals and dreams. At only 25 years old he has so many incredibly exciting chapters ahead of him. We at HBO are looking forward to being an integral part of what will be a historic career.”
Canelo is a knockout artist known for his tremendous power and durability against the toughest opponents in the ring who made his professional debut at 15-years-old and quickly became one of the most popular fighters in the sport. His fan base spread quickly in his home country of Mexico as his style captured and enthralled fans. His fan base exploded, crossing the border in to the U.S. and ultimately spreading around the world. Canelo’s good looks and charisma outside the ring attracted a legion of fans from around the world rooting for him every step of the way on his journey to the top.
A former world champion, Canelo is eager to once again hold a title and will get the opportunity again on Saturday, Nov. 21 when he faces reigning WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Champion Miguel Cotto in a classic Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry battle. The event will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View. The epic battle is being called by many the most anticipated fight of 2015 and will also mark Canelo’s first Pay-Per-View appearance since his exclusive agreement with HBO.
For Canelo, this is still only the beginning. The way he sees it, the best is yet to come and the fans will be able to watch him every step of the way on HBO.



Follow Michael Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069