I know that 2015 has just started and that we need to be patient regarding the prospects for the rest of the year, but so far this year has been more about boxing politics than anything else. We have had a few great fights manifest on the schedule, but this year may be remembered more for the fights that almost happened as opposed to the ones that actually get made.
The two big matchmaking fails this year are Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto-Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Just when it seemed like we’d finally get Mayweather-Pacquiao signed, sealed, and delivered. The fight came crashing back down to reality and fell victim to the same contingencies and prejudicial circumstances that plagued the fight from being made over the past several years.
The Cotto-Canelo fight seemed all but finalized in December. Many insiders were already strategically analyzing Mayweather’s options in an era of boxing where he is no longer the guaranteed extravaganza that represents boxing on Cinco de Mayo. Perhaps we should’ve seen the writing on the wall, but to watch Cotto-Canelo go up in flames hurt worse than the slow death boxing fans have had to endure over the years with the Mayweather-Pacquiao fiasco.
I just didn’t expect Cotto-Canelo to go through the same political disasters that ruined Mayweather-Pacquiao, and now it seems as though there are fights in boxing that are simply too big to be made.
So now Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya, and Canelo are following through with their plans to take back the Cinco de Mayo weekend, kind of.
It was announced last week that Canelo will indeed fight in May against James Kirkland. A fight that was proposed two years ago but ultimately shot down after Kirkland’s discontent with the terms of the deal and some promotional/managerial issues. To be honest, I’m not even sure anymore what Kirkland’s problems were in that instance because his entire career is starting to feel like one big haze of almost fights and career misses contingent on dissatisfaction with various members of his team.
Making the Canelo-Kirkland fight proves that Golden Boy is serious about taking control of the future, but they are still walking on eggshells with Mayweather.
De La Hoya told BoxingScene.com that even though Canelo-Kirkland has been contractually agreed upon, the date and venue are still not finalized because they are waiting to see if Mayweather-Pacquiao gets made. If the super fight gets made then Canelo-Kirkland will take place a week after the Cinco de Mayo PPV on regular HBO. But if Mayweather fights anyone other than Pacquiao then the fight will take place on May 2nd and go head to head with Mayweather-TBD.
De La Hoya is convinced that Mayweather won’t fight Pacquiao and will fight Cotto in a rematch, but he claims they are still waiting out of respect to fans that have been waiting on Mayweather-Pacquiao for years.
“I think that’s the fight that’s going to happen, the rematch between Mayweather and Cotto,” De La Hoya told Boxingscene.com.
If De La Hoya is serious about taking on Mayweather and dictating the boxing landscape then he needs to be more firm about taking over.
Obviously De La Hoya can’t make moves without HBO’s approval and as long as HBO is optimistic about a Mayweather-Pacquiao deal coming to terms then he can’t make guarantees, but if he is convinced that the fight won’t happen and serious about moving on Mayweather then he can’t make statements that weaken his position.
The truth is Canelo-Kirkland is a better fight than Mayweather-Pacquiao from a style standpoint. I understand that Canelo-Kirkland can’t succeed if it went head to head with Mayweather-Pacquiao, but the only way to put that fight in our rearview is to carry on without the hope of it ever coming to fruition.
De La Hoya told Boxingscene.com that they would move the May 2nd date for Mayweather-Pacquiao out of respect for the fans, but that isn’t completely true. He knows HBO won’t back anyone over Mayweather-Pacquiao. He knows the fans will choose the mega fight over Canelo, but the only way to force Mayweather’s hands is to continue forward with the understood notion that Mayweather is predictable and won’t deliver on the fight.
I’m satisfied with Canelo-Kirkland, it is a great fight, and it should provide fans with some excitement as long as it lasts. Of course, it lacks in comparison to the mega fights that could’ve been. If we can’t expect boxing’s biggest attractions to give us what we want then fans should get behind whatever fighter provides us with the most interesting matchups. And, in this case, Canelo is delivering in a major way and making a bigger statement than either Mayweather or Cotto.
De La Hoya should not hesitate and pounce on the opportunity he has. The fans will follow, and if the fans follow then HBO will follow suit.