Oscar De La Hoya: ‘Pay-per-view is dead’
There were a few themes at the Thursday press conference to hype the Saturday scraps at the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden, but lead promoter Oscar De La Hoya probably chose the best one to accentuate.
The Golden Boy Promotions chief presided over the gathering, which featured The Ring Magazine/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez and his foe, super middleweight contender Rocky Fielding, as well as Matchroom Boxing Group Managing Director Eddie Hearn, the bossman who is fronting the DAZN stream push in the boxing realm.
“I’ve been all over New York, New York City this week and felt a huge, huge buzz,” Oscar stated. “And I want to start by saying, ‘Ladies and gentlemen: Pay-per-view is dead.’ I’m actually happy to announce that pay-per-view is dead.”
So yes, in case you are late to this party, which sees Canelo hop to 168 pounds, you can view the face-off without even reaching into your wallet. If you are not a subscriber, you can sign up for DAZN; get a free month and watch the Mexican ace do his thing. Then if you’d like, you can stay on board for $9.99 a month.
OK, so if we wanted to, we could debate the definition of the word “dead.”
De La Hoya’s friends at Showtime would beg to differ about the state of the construct, being they will be offering a Manny Pacquiao versus Adrien Broner-topped card in January on PPV. And De La Hoya himself went that route with his first mixed martial arts foray, the Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell scrap. However he’s hitched the Golden Boy wagon to DAZN, with his centerpiece diamond Canelo Alvarez taking home a massive stash of cash from the stream giant, a jumbo entity in other nations, and seeks to make the same imprint here. So while the Showtime gang looks to keep its place in the game by charging extra beyond the monthly fee, over on this side of the street, the DAZN capital pile is allowing this other play.
Yes, De La Hoya didn’t focus on the fight as much as one would expect and that’s for a couple reasons. One, Michael Fielding aka “Rocky” to everyone – but maybe his grandma – is not seen as a heavy-duty favorite to best the redhead. Then also Canelo is the attraction here; his star burns bright as the nighttime wattage in Times Square after getting the win over Gennady Golovkin in September. And really, he can attract legions of watchers to basically any fight he books. So Oscar doesn’t need to whip up a buying frenzy by (over)hyping the import or danger factor in a fight such as this one.
The Golden Boy bossman noted that this card is, as they tend to say these days, “stacked.” And indeed the card features a good array of talents and, yes, some of the A and solid B-players are booked into showcases in which they should not have excessive difficulty. Ryan Garcia is poised to restore his momentum and the David Lemieux tango against Tureano Johnson, at middleweight, could truly be a fun rumble.
“Free,” the event is a freebie, Oscar noted again, as he told the assembled media that the MSG crowd, which should number at a capacity of 18,000, will be well-rewarded with solid mash-ups.
And lest you were thinking that perhaps Canelo would stir the pot, sorry, folks. He was classy, working the room subtly with winks, nods and gracious smiles at fans, media and such. I saw him look at Fielding, offer a thumbs-up, a nod and a sportsmanlike smile, as De La Hoya played up Rocky’s bona fides as a pugilist. And Fielding returned the good cheer with a returned thumbs-up.
Now this wouldn’t be boxing if someone didn’t stir the pot. During one-on-one chats, De La Hoya touched on his recent beef with UFC bossman Dana White, stating that maybe White has been pissy because he wanted to enter the boxing sphere and hasn’t been able to pull it off. And as per usual, Hearn didn’t pull his punches but with that disarming dimpled charm. His IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua is ready to welcome WBC counterpart Deontay Wilder to England. Sign on and let’s do this, Hearn said. He also delved more into Oscar’s “Pay-per-view is dead” theme. He said the numbers for the recent Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder presentation were sub-dreadful and that he would have drawn five times as many buyers in the U.K. Watch this space for more on that…
Overall the vibe was collegial. Nope, there were no threats of beheading or staged shoving to move those last thousand tix. Canelo and Rocky dutifully faced off; Johnson and Lemieux looked ready to rock but didn’t get into a pre-fight fray and, of course, IBF/WBA female lightweight titlist Katie Taylor was the picture of dignity.
But not to worry, this is boxing. You want trash talk and shit stirring, just wait a day or two. You’ll get your wish.
Follow Michael Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.
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