Oscar De La Hoya: Did His Selfishness Cost Us The Fight Of A Lifetime?

Jeremy KaufmanSenior Analyst IAugust 16, 2008

            Reports have surfaced indicating that the proposed bout between Oscar De La Hoya and current pound- for- pound champ Manny Pacquiao will not take place, after each side was unable to reach an agreement for the payout split. According to the reports, which have been surfaced via ESPN within the past few days, Oscar De La Hoya was demanding a payout of 70% for himself, which would leave Manny with a total income of only 30% of the purse from the fight.

            Throughout the negotiation process, Manny’s people arduously worked to establish a fairer payout, but to no avail. As a result, the hopes for this potentially precedent- setting fight do no longer exist.

            Now, before I rush to judgment in regards to the way that Oscar De La Hoya and his people handled the negotiations process, I feel it’s necessary to analyze the situation from all perspectives in order to understand exactly why these two fighters were unable to reach an agreement.

            First, let’s take a look at things from Manny’s perspective. Manny is currently ranked the top fighter in the entire world, from any weight-class. Being in such a position, it would seem that Manny should inherently have the upper hand in negotiations for any fight, as he is the higher ranked competitor as well as the name that will likely draw in more fans, and as a result a greater revenue.

            Now, let’s take a look at things from Oscar De La Hoya’s perspective. In terms of status, he is considered to be among the most storied fighters to still be in the game today. In his prime, Oscar was a dominant fighter, and likely could have brought in payouts similar to the 70:30 ratio that he had demanded for the alleged fight between Manny and himself. However, Oscar isn’t in his prime anymore. His skill level and fight speed have diminished significantly, and he is essentially on the brink of retirement. It would appear that, with these circumstances in consideration, Oscar is simply in search of one more big payout before he leaves the game for good.

            Now, is that really fair, at all? Oscar, despite being the lesser fighter both in terms of current skill level as well as world ranking, feels that he deserves a payout that would more than double that of his dominant opponent. In the working world, that would be the equivalent of the old, washed up businessman being paid more than double the salary of the hot new company CEO who has sky-rocketed the company’s revenue since he took over the position. It doesn’t make sense in the working world, and it shouldn’t happen in the world of sports either.

            So, the next time you and your friends have a discussion about selfishness of professional athletes in today’s society, maybe lay off of A-Rod, Lebron, and T.O a bit, and take a look at Oscar De La Hoya instead.