The boxing business is still reeling from last month’s Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, a super-hyped but ultimately dull bout that has badly damaged the sport’s prospects and made life more difficult for the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, the iconic L.A. boxer-turned-promoter.
The owner of downtown L.A.’s Golden Boy Promotions Inc., De La Hoya said potential new fans attracted by the big-event nature of that bout might now be less inclined to buy pay-per-view events in the future, creating a new challenge for him and other promoters.
“That fight caused more damage than good and you have to question if it will have turned people off our sport,” said De La Hoya, who took to Twitter after the May 2 fight to apologize to boxing fans, saying viewers didn’t get their money’s worth.
But while the Olympic gold medalist and East L.A. native knows the sport has been beat up, he doesn’t think it’s down for the count.
Golden Boy promotes one of the sport’s rising stars, redheaded Mexican righty Saul “Canelo” Alvarez , and De La Hoya said he has a strategy to use Alvarez to recapture the hearts – and wallets – of fight fans.
In immediate terms, it’s hard to call the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight a flop. The clash between the sport’s only two current superstars at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas broke every revenue record in boxing history, reportedly generating more than $400 million in sponsorship, ticket and pay-per-view sales.
But still, De La Hoya said, the long-term effects of the widely panned fight could well be negative.
“There are about 2.5 million households that we know from past events will buy pay per view,” he said, noting that his own 2007 fight with Mayweather drew about that many pay-per-view customers. “But his fight with Pacquiao did a little over 4 million homes and that means 1.5 million were potential new viewers who will have been left disappointed.”
But he believes those floating fans can be persuaded to buy a fight again if they are given the action and personalities they want to see. And he believes Alvarez is the kind of explosive fighter who can deliver those results.
“We believe he can carry the PPV industry on his back for the next 10 years,” De La Hoya said. “The guy is already James Dean and Elvis rolled into one back in Mexico, and he can become a superstar in America, too.”