You can begin and end your research with the latest pound-for-pound boxing rankings, the ones that include just one fighter among the Top 10 representing Golden Boy Promotions.
Canelo Alvarez isn’t just the face of the company. He’s the torso and arms and legs and spirit of it.
For that, it’s not merely important he beats Miguel Cotto tonight.
It’s critical for a certain bottom line.
Alvarez is a global star at 25, so even if he should lose the WBC middleweight fight at Mandalay Bay Events Center, it’s not as if he won’t again be involved chasing championship belts in main events.
But a defeat would certainly damage the pursuit of Oscar De La Hoya to continue rebuilding a stable of fighters in which much talent was lost to reclusive but supremely powerful manager Al Haymon, in which several of the sport’s top names walked away from Golden Boy and landed with Premier Boxing Champions.
De La Hoya has filed a $300 million antitrust lawsuit against Haymon based on the Muhammad Ali Act, which forbids a manager from acting jointly as a promoter for his fighters. But while that plays itself out in the courts, the president of Golden Boy Promotions also understands the importance of the money train that is Canelo not being derailed.
The last thing De La Hoya can afford tonight is any sort of crash.
He doesn’t need the golden goose getting its neck snapped.
“This fight is bigger than me, bigger than the company, bigger than the fighters,” De La Hoya said. “It’s important first for boxing. It’s important for the fans. What do we have after Floyd Mayweather Jr.? What do we have after Manny Pacquiao? Everyone says I’m riding everything on Canelo. Do I want him to win? Absolutely. We have a true superstar, and by signing him to a multi-year contract extension (in September), that alone will allow us to sign more fighters.
“But we need a fight that’s going to bring us back to the glory days of intense, action-packed fighting. This is that fight. Our company knows how to produce and promote and build champions. That’s what we do best. It might take a little more time, but we’re going to build the next generation of great fighters. But this fight isn’t about that. It’s about so much more.”
It was a legitimate question throughout the boxing world, how Golden Boy Promotions might get along once co-founder and former chief executive officer Richard Schaefer resigned from the company in June of 2104. Schaefer was at the forefront of several record-breaking promotions and the one to develop relationships with television executives and sponsors and casinos and Haymon, longtime advisor to Mayweather Jr.
Schaefer was the closer on all big deals.
But he has been gone for some time now and De La Hoya seems more and more intent on overcoming those A-list fighters he has lost to Haymon, convinced a group of a young talents can eventually trump the defections of such champions as Deontay Wilder and Keith Thurman and Leo Santa Cruz.
“(Schaefer) was obviously a very talented executive, but I don’t know if his departure was the only reason a lot of the talent was drained away from Golden Boy,” ESPN boxing writer Dan Rafael said. “No question, their numbers are depleted, but young fighters still know who Oscar is and will still gravitate to him because of his fame. That will always be a part of them coming to Golden Boy.
“Make no mistake, Oscar is running things. He is in the office on a daily basis. He is on the road with fighters. He is very involved with who they sign. I have known him for 15 years and have never seen him as engaged with things as I do now. Obviously, Canelo is their biggest star. It’s not even close. He’s the moneymaker. His career isn’t over if he loses this fight, but it would make it harder to go out and make the next one.
“Golden Boy will still be in business if he loses. But if he wins, the money will keep rolling in and getting things done will be easier.”
So it is critical amid the journey De La Hoya has drawn for his company, important for him and matchmaker Eric Gomez and executive Robert Diaz and everyone else who has stood behind the vision of resurrecting Golden Boy Promotions.
They need Alvarez to win tonight.
They need the golden goose to find a way.
Ed Graney can be reached at email@example.com or 702-383-4618. He can be a heard on “Seat and Ed” on Fox Sports 1340 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Twitter: @edgraney