The Cold War between boxing’s two super powers, Top Rank and Golden Boy has robbed fans of some of the best possible fights. The two companies haven’t co-promoted a fight since the Gamboa-Ponce De Leon fight in September of 2011. Before then, the last fight mega fight they co-promoted was Ricky Hatton-Manny Pacquiao in May of 2009.
When Gamboa-De Leon took place, there was a glimmer of hope that the cold war was thawing and quite possibly both companies would be working together making the best possible fights, since both have the deepest and the best stables. However since then, it seemed like the freeze was back on. With counter programming like the September 15th date, where not only will each company be promoting a big event on a separate network, they’ll be rivaling each other in the same city of Las Vegas. It has also spilled over to Bob Arum, the head of Top Rank, stating that Showtime has become a Golden Boy Network and that every other promoter is shut out. If you don’t know by now, Stephen Espinoza, the man in charge at Showtime is Golden Boy’s former lead attorney. The back and forth jargon between the two has led many to believe there is no end in sight for the cold war.
Enter in another opportunity for the two companies to have their fighters fight one another: On July 20th, Top Rank won a purse bid and won the rights to promote the final WBC eliminator to Jr. Middleweight Champion Saul “Canelo’ Alvarez’ title between Vanes Martirosyan, who is promoted by Top Rank and Erislandy Lara, who is promoted by Golden Boy. Top Rank’s bid of $405,000 beat Golden Boy’s bid of $326,000.
Now the countdown begins, to see if a deal could be worked out to make this fight possible. Bob Arum has every intention of making this fight. “Well, we won the purse bid and it’s a good fight. We’re looking to move forward with it,” said Arum
Sources close to the Lara camp have mentioned that a fight like this will not happen unless there’s a written guarantee that the winner gets the next crack at Canelo, the same reasoning used by Martirosyan in the past, in regards to turning down other eliminators. However, Arum says there no need for such a thing because, “Well it’s a final eliminator. That’s exactly what that means. The winner has to get a fight with Alvarez, if not the kid loses his title.”
If things were as easy as that to draw up, the state of boxing would be in a great place, but we’re not. Add to an already cold reality that these two companies have worked together twice in the last 3 years, Lara recently signed to power broker advisor/manager, Al Haymon. Whether or not that may be a problem when it comes to making a Martirosyan-Lara fight, Arum said, “We didn’t see it as a problem when we placed the bid, might it be a problem down the road, maybe. But it’s not our problem.”
The working relationship between the 2 might be as broken as the relationship between Top Rank and Golden Boy. The Mayweather-Pacquiao failed negotiation has brought out finger pointing and quotes galore from both sides.
With all that being said, there still is a shot, and a tiny glimmer of hope, that we may have a Top Rank fighter fighting a Golden Boy fighter. When speaking to Arum on whether a possible fight between these 2 could lead to future bouts involving both companies’ fighter, Arum said, “I don’t have any problem working with them and maybe they don’t have a problem working with me, but it has to make sense like in any other deal we make.”
Maybe it doesn’t make sense to work with each other all the time but once every few times might help, but boxing fans aren’t holding their breath. Not helping that situation is the counter programming, not only done by Top Rank and Golden Boy but by the two biggest networks HBO and Showtime. Seemingly more and more every day, fans talk about one company aligning themselves to one of the networks.
But like in most cases, for things to get better, it has to start somewhere, doesn’t it? Imagine a fight between Brandon Rios and Danny Garcia or Mike Alvarado and Lucas Matthysse, or Rios-Matthysse and Alvarado-Garcia? What about Nonito Donaire fighting Abner Mares? Or a technical showdown between Guillermo Rigondeaux and Anselmo Moreno? Even a future showdown between Mikey Garcia and Gary Russell Jr would be viable.
The list can go on and on and on to the obvious and long awaited Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, if you’re still much interested. Obviously, you get where this leads and the outcome would be great for the sport. But it has to start somewhere, and maybe a Martirosyan-Lara clash could be the bridge that would connect Top Rank, Golden Boy, and even Al Haymon.