Boxing: De La Hoya Wants to Work with Arum but Won't Beg
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The long-simmering cold war between two of boxing's biggest promotional outfits has derailed many a big fight in recent years—none bigger than the long-discussed superfight between pound-for-pound kings Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
Putting it simply, Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions and Bob Arum's Top Rank simply can't find a way to work together. And it's keeping the best fights from being made.
You can also, in all likelihood, add to that list a potential fight between Abner Mares and Nonito Donaire, the two best 122-pounders in the world, and a fight between Brandon Rios and Lucas Matthysse, who might be the top 140-pounders in the world.
The rivalry stems from the very acrimonious and, at times, highly personal feud between the men at the heads of both companies, De La Hoya and Arum. "The Golden Boy" was promoted by Arum for much of his early career before a highly publicized and nasty split in early 2001.
The break-up became ugly with incendiary accusations flung from both sides, including De La Hoya's 2001 remarks in which he accused Arum of intentionally holding back Mexican fighters, and Arum speculating that Oscar took a dive in his 2006 loss to Bernard Hopkins.
This has led to a great deal of frustration amongst boxing fans who are tired of the endless back and forth that is keeping the best fighters from facing each other.
It's a sentiment that de la Hoya understands, and he seems to share the fans' frustration.
"Golden Boy is willing to work with anyone to make the fights. We're obviously not going to beg, 'Hey Bob please work with us,'" De La Hoya told Bill Emes of BoxingScene.com
"The bottom line is, he doesn't want to work with us. What can we do?" De La Hoya said.
In reference to a possible showdown between Rios, who is promoted by Top Rank, and Matthysse, who fights for Golden Boy, De La Hoya said that he would be willing to meet Arum halfway—literally.
"I would love to see Brandon Rios against Lucas Matthysse. I'm willing to meet [Bob Arum] at the stateline because it's a long walk," De La Hoya told Emes in separate comments.
"I just read a comment that he doesn't want to work with us. Why? Let's make the fights happen that the public wants to watch."
And that's exactly the point. Boxing is a business like all other sports. And in order to make money you need to sell a good product, something a keen businessman like "The Golden Boy" certainly knows.
The sport will not die as result of this feud. After all, we've all waited with growing impatience, bordering now on the level of barely caring, for Mayweather and Pacquiao to face off in the ring.
Great fights have still and will continue to be made. But just because this hasn't signaled the death knell for the sport doesn't mean it's a good thing.
Few people will stop watching boxing if Brandon Rios and Lucas Matthysse don't meet in the ring. But many more might start watching if they do.
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