Golden Boy promises 'new direction' for boxing
Stacked undercard for Marquez-Diaz July 31
Story & photo by Chris Cozzone
You’d think that boxing promoters would’ve caught on years ago, in making an entire fight card competitive and a pay-per-view telecast actually worth its price tag.
Only after years of losing a chunk of its 18-to-30-somethings to UFC’s top-to-bottom competitive lineups, are promoters beginning to see the bigger picture.
Better late than never, I suppose.
On July 31, from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Golden Boy Promotions, one of boxing’s two mega promoters, hopes to buck the trend of lame-to-lackluster co-features by stacking its four-fight PPV telecast with solid match-ups.
Supporting an already potentially explosive main event, the rematch from 2009’s Fight of the Year, between Juan Manuel Marquez (50-5-1, 37 KOs) and Juan Diaz (35-3, 17 KOs), are three solid matchups. In the opening HBO-PPV bout, Jorge Linares (28-1, 18 KOs) takes on Rocky Juarez (28-6-1, 20 KOs) in a crossroads lightweight bout; followed by a ten-rounder between former champs Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (26-1-1, 18 KOs) and Joel Casamayor (37-4-1, 22 KOs); and a 12-round WBO middleweight title fight between undefeateds Daniel Jacobs (20-0, 17 KOs) and Dmitry Pirog (16-0, 13 KOs).
“This is going to be the first of many steps in the right direction,” Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer proclaimed on Wednesday. “We don’t want this to be a standalone, but to start a trend.”
“This is about getting the most bang for your buck,” agrees promoter Oscar De La Hoya. “We wanted to spend the money to give fight fans a treat.
“We’re not fooling anyone here – all of these fights can go either way. There are no mismatches and all of these fights are exciting. We didn’t care about how much money we made for this one.”
De La Hoya and Schaefer claim the $4 million collective purse for the July 31 card will make it impossible to net a profit, but that they are looking at the bigger picture.
“We didn’t care about budgets for this one,” says Schaefer. “We cared about how much bang you are going to get for your buck.
“We do hope, however, that we are going to be proven right. We encourage fans to support this show. I give you my word that this is going to be the norm, not the exception. But if the fans aren’t going to support it, it becomes a huge loss for us – we are trying to sell an event, top to bottom.”
Because Golden Boy is the sole promoter, it’s easier to arrange a competitive lineup, say Schaefer and De La Hoya.
“When you have two promoters on a card, splitting the spots and matching fighters from respective stables, it’s hard to do a card like this,” explains Schaefer. “When you do a card that is all Golden Boy, you don’t have to get approval from other promoters.”
While that may be true – one needs only to look at UFC for proof – co-promotions, on the other hand, ensure several must-see matches demanded by fight fans, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao being the most obvious example.
“With other promoters involved, it makes it difficult to make the right fights,” says De La Hoya.
Whether sole promotions or co-promotions are the way to go, is open to debate; that all four matches are competitive, however, is less disputable.
Linares, says De La Hoya, is up for a stiff test in Juarez, who “continually falls short.”
“We don’t know if he’s gonna break through,” De La Hoya says of Juarez’s inability to fight the first half of a fight the same way he does the second half.
Linares, on the other hand, is compared by De La Hoya to Amir Khan, who came back from a knockout loss to become a world champion.
Guerrero vs. Casamayor “has fireworks written all over it,” says De La Hoya. “It’s evenly matched – Guerrero’s youth and Casamayor’s experience.”
As for Jacobs and Pirog? The Golden Boy calls it a coin-toss, Jacob’s power and speed against Pirog’s aggression.
“These fights represent boxing the way it’s supposed to be,” says Schaefer. “This is what the fans deserve.”