Boxing purses and promoters: Broner fires back at Oscar (Analysis)
Last week, fight legend and promoter Oscar De La Hoya was critical of the purported $3.5 Million Al Haymon will presumably pay welterweight champion Errol Spence for facing Lamont Peterson in January.
Appearing shocked, Oscar uttered:
"How much [is Spence earning]?"
"...I don't know against who," De La Hoya told FightHype.com.
" If he's making $3.5 million against Peterson, good luck."
"If I was promoting Spence, you don't think about the money first...the money will come...you want to build momentum."
But, boxing star Adrien Broner disagrees
Never at a loss for words, the colorful Broner, in response to De La Hoya, told FightHype.com:
"He ain't paying a lot...ain't nobody getting no big checks over there [Golden Boy Promotions]...of course they gonna give it to Canelo...if I had a red beard, they'd give it to me too..."
"Oscar ain't gonna pay nobody's bills."
Perhaps the 'red beard' reference pertains to Canelo's Irish background and the fact he's a white-skinned, red-headed Mexican, making him quite unique in the sport?
Uniqueness can help propel a fighter's stock and there's no fighter in boxing who understands the importance of standing out more than Broner who has 'pulled out all the stops' to make himself different.
So yes, Eric 'Butterbean' Esch was far more popular than a lot of quality world champions. And had Taishan Dong become a heavyweight powerbroker, he would have been more well-known than Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. After all, 7'0" Chinese boxers are quite rare.
But Alvarez, and Irish-looking Mexican or not, has earned his keep - and his purses. Uniqueness can only get a fighter so far, AB. Canelo is one of the best in the world at his craft.
But back to the core of Broner's rebuttal
I'm not convinced the 'take-the-money-now' approach is ideal; At least not longterm.
There's something to be said about proving yourself, putting butts in seats and building momentum over the long term instead living for the day.
Keep in mind, Canelo, as new world champion, didn't earn $3.5 Million straight away. In fact, he only earned $1.2 Million for facing fight legend Shane Mosley on the Mayweather vs Cotto PPV.
After being showcased with an all-time great on PPV, Canelo would earn just $2 Million for his following bout with Josesito Lopez. In fact, Alvarez wouldn't earn a guranteed $3.5 Million until his bout with fan favorite James Kirkland, some 3 years after the Mosley fight.
To Oscar's point, he kept defeating top opponents and 'organically' raised his stock. Now he's receiving $8-10 MIllion plus per fight, regardless of the opponent.
Errol Spence is a 'freak of nature' in the ring but folks outside of the boxing fraternity are unfamiliar with him. As a result, his purse (if it's $3.5 Million) is inflated and his manager will likely take a loss because Spence's opponent, Peterson, isn't exactly mainstream star either.
Should Spence face Keith Thurman, a champion whose stock and accomplishments are higher than Lamont's, the former might think he deserves double the purse he received for Peterson.
At this moment, however, Spence wouldn't get $7 Million for facing Floyd Mayweather, the biggest draw in the sport's history. In fact, $3.5 Million might be pushing it.
And when was the last time Spence fought, again? Canelo was fighting 3 and 4x annually.
Al Haymon appears to be investing in Spence, over-paying him now and hoping he'll reap the rewards of his investment when or if Spence becomes the next Floyd Mayweather.
Problem: If there's any fighter I'd gamble on, it's Errol Spence, Jr. No disagreement whatsoever there. However, Haymon and his Premier Boxing Champions have yet to create any mainstream stars.
For example, Haymon advises an awesome American heavyweight who is a world champion and boasts a record of 39-0, 38 KOs yet nobody outside of boxing and the state of Alabama knows who he is.
And that brings us to Part 2
Oscar is exactly right - Spence needs a promoter. Every elite-level fighter does.
"I strongly believe a fighter needs a promoter," Oscar De La Hoya told FightHype.com.
The cultivation process in boxing can't be underestimated. Unlike NFL, NBA or even UFC, boxers don't have a world famous brand to fall back on.
Example: A pro football star could have the personality of a rock, but the NFL brand - and his play of course - will make him a big star.
Not the case in boxing.
Perhaps Mr. Haymon and his team have devised a brilliant plan for Errol Spence and Deontay Wilder? If they succeed, it'll would help boxing succeed so I'm hoping they will.
My question to Mr. Haymon and Broner would be: If Oscar is wrong, what, exactly, is the strategy for building Spence and Wilder into mainstream stars and profitting from the presumed investment in Errol?
Whatever the strategies that have already been implemented don't seem to have worked.