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Weekend boxing rundown: Cotto and Guerrero headilne two major cards and what it builds to

By Jeremy Wall

Two boxing matches featuring aging stars against lesser opponents took place Saturday, June 6th on US television. Each fight ended differently for its aging star. On a Premier Boxing broadcast in the early afternoon on NBC, 33-year-old Robert "Ghost" Guerrero (33-3-1, 18KO) sneaked past Aron Martinez (19-4-1, 4KO) by split-decision. It was a close decision that Guerrero could have lost against an opponent he should have defeated easily. Where Guerrero looked past his prime, 34-year-old Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33KO) looked rejuvenated fighting Saturday night on HBO. Cotto stopped Daniel Geale (31-4, 16KO) in the fourth round, despite giving up around twenty pounds or so of weight by fight night. After the fight Cotto confirmed that his next match will likely be a superfight against Canelo Alvarez, which should be a good fight that draws well on pay per view.

Guerrero went into his bout against Martinez, 33, coming off a decision loss to Keith Thurman in PBC's debut on March 7th in an exciting bout where Thurman knocked Guerrero down in the fourth round en route to winning a one-sided unanimous decision. Martinez, on the other hand, had lost two of his last three fights and hadn't fought since April 24th, 2014, when he was stopped in the fifth round by Josesito Lopez. Guerrero was a 20-1 favourite against Martinez.

It was obvious that Martinez was brought in as a showcase opponent to rehab Guerrero's image after Guerrero's loss to Thurman in March. A win against Martinez would set Guerrero up as an opponent for another name welterweight under contract to PBC. Guerrero is a good opponent for creating stars because he is an action fighter who pushes the pace of the fight and is skilled enough to make a fight against a top ranked opponent interesting, but not skilled enough to win. He is kind of the equivalent of a pro wrestler who is good at selling and can make his opponents look like stars.

But Martinez nearly soured plans for Guerrero. Scores were 95-94 Martinez, 95-94 Guerrero, and 92-92 Guerrero. The crowd booed the result. The fight was ten rounds at welterweight. People were upset about the 97-92 score because Guerrero was knocked down in the fourth round. The knock down made Guerrero look pathetic because Martinez has only won four of his nineteen wins by knockout, so he has little power. But besides round four and maybe a couple of the earlier rounds, there were a large number of rounds that could have been scored either way. Guerrero made a comeback late in the fight and did enough to get the nod on two scorecards, which was fair.

The truth, however, is that even with the win Guerrero looked finished as an elite fighter, or at least as an opponent for elite fighters. I wouldn't go as far as to say Guerrero is a shot fighter, but he had a bad fight against an easy opponent after Guerrero was coming off a loss to Thurman. Besides the loss to Thurman, Guerrero has only lost two other bouts in his career. One loss was by split-decision earlier in his career to Gamaliel Diaz. The other was in 2013 by unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather. There is a big difference in losing a unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather and squeaking by with a split-decision over Aron Martinez.

For the win, Guerrero earned $1 million. Martinez only earned $80,000. Yes, Guerrero earned 1,150% more than Martinez. Al Haymon has an unusual setup with PBC where Haymon, despite being the de facto promoter, is the manager of the fighters and he outsources the local promotion to another company in order to avoid problems with the Ali Act (which might not be working because the Association of Boxing Commissions has recommended that the US Department of Justice look into PBC and PBC has been sued by Golden Boy for violating the Ali Act, among other laws). In this case, the promoter of record was Tom Brown of TGB Promotions. As manager, Haymon collects a percentage of the fighter's purse, which means some of that $1 million that Guerrero was paid probably went into Haymon's pocket. So the purse figures are at least somewhat misleading. PBC itself purchases the TV time on NBC and then makes money back by selling commercial time.

"I'm very happy with my performance. I thought I won the fight," said Martinez. "I thought the third scorecard was way out of line. It was a great experience fighting on NBC."

“We got the victory and now it’s time to move on to some big fights and give the fans the warrior type fights they deserve,” said Guerrero. “I’m an action fighter and I’ll continue to be so.”

The next possible opponent for Guerrero might be Danny Garcia (30-0 17 KOs). Garcia, 27, is the WBC and WBA Super Lightweight champion and considered the best boxer in that division, but in last two fights he has moved up to compete at catchweights of 142 and 143 pounds, respectively (the Super Lightweight limit is 140 pounds). This included his latest fight, a majority decision win over Lamont Peterson on NBC for Premier on April 11th.

Garcia has been announced as the feature attraction for PBC's second airing on ESPN, which takes place August 1st at the Barclays Center (the debut on ESPN takes place July 11th at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa with Thurman vs. Luis Collazo in a showcase bout for Thurman). Guerrero would be a good opponent for Garcia, since Guerrero would create an action fight, but would be unlikely to beat Garcia. But even if Guerrero doesn't face Garcia, there are plenty of other welterweights under contract to PBC.

"The great thing with Al Haymon, he's not scared to make a fight," said Guerrero. "That's one of the things about Al Haymon people need to know. If you're not scared to fight, and you ask for a fight, he'll go out there and make it. It's one of the things I love about him."

"[Al Haymon] has a great love of the sport," said Guerrero. "He wants to make the sport big again and bring it back to his heyday. The experience I've had with Al Haymon so far has been great. It's been awesome. He's a mystery man to everybody, because like he always says, 'It's not about me; it's about the fighters.' He wants all of the attention on the fighters.

"He has a team that does its job and he expects us to do our job, as well. One of the great things about Al Haymon is that he understands it's not about him. It's great to know that somebody is backing you who loves the sport the way you do and is 100-percent backing you and hopes you become a star in the sport."

“With Al Haymon now the fights can be made, you know, very quick – and there ain’t no back and forth arguing or (any) bad stuff going on – it’s just everything’s so smooth and everybody’s happy, so it makes life a lot easier. Inside the ring AND outside the ring.”

The fight took place at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA. The arena was nearly empty. The NBC broadcast started at 3pm ET with Marv Albert, Sugar Ray Leonard, and BJ Flores on commentary. That means in Carson the broadcast began at 12 noon PT and the non-televised portion of the show started late in the morning.

As far as production goes, this was the worst PBC show by far. People aren't going to come out Saturday morning for boxing. The empty arena looked awful on TV. Also, being that the StubHub Center is an outdoor arena and it was a sunny morning, PBC didn't have their high-profile production values and pro wrestling style ring entrances. The show airing so early in the day meant that PBC avoided game two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which also air on NBC, as well as the UFC show on Fox Sports 1 and the Cotto fight on HBO. But whoever through running the StubHub Center on Saturday morning was a good idea ought to have thought again. Bad production is a major issue for PBC because one of the company's key selling points is that they are bringing Olympic-level production values to boxing.

PBC did use what they called "Punch Tracking Techonology", which was the first instance I've seen of PBC using it. The tech refers to a microchip that is placed in a boxer's gloves that measures the speed (MpH) and power (lbs) or his punches. They only made reference to it once during Guerrero's fight. It could create interesting stars, but it is the sort of thing that needs to be used for a wide variety of fights in order to get a large enough sampling to datamine in order to lead to any genuine insight about boxing.

Although production was poor, the fights were good. The NBC broadcast included a prelim heavyweight bout between Dominic Breazeale and Yasmany Consuegra. Breazeale competed in the 2012 Olympics and is 6'7". But he looked terrible against Consuegra, a club fighter with a blown up record against terrible opponents. Breazeale knocked Consuegra in the third round, but lost the first round and would have lost the second until he scored a flash knockdown at the end of the round. Breazeale then knocked Consuegra down twice in the third to win the fight. Consuegra out landed Breazeale 58% to 43% in power punches and outlanded Breazeale in total punches by an even wider margin. Breazeale, 29, is from California and gave an articulate post-fight interview. He is well-spoken and with his massive size he has some star potential, but needs to improve in the ring before anyone can talk about him facing tougher competition at heavyweiight.

After the Guerrero-Martinez fight, the NBC broadcast included the first round of Jesus Cuellar defending the WBA Featherweight title against 39-year-old Vic Darchinyan. What PBC has been doing with many of their NBC broadcasts is closing the show out by airing a round or two of a prelim fight with the rest of the fight airing on NBC Sports Network, where PBC has also purchase air time, obviously at a much cheaper rate. The idea is clearly to get people to switch over to NBCSN to continue to watch the fights. It is a bit annoying because NBCSN is obviously not available in as many homes as NBC. I think the last ten or fifteen minutes of air time on NBC is better used by interviewing fighters who are competing in upcoming bouts on other PBC shows, or airing other hype material. Cuellar ended up retaining the title by knocking Darchinyan out in the eighth round.

Despite the show's production issues, there were ton of of new advertisers during the show's commercial time. Some of the earliest PBC shows only had Corona has a sponsor. Not now. PBC seems like it has been able to sell commercial time to a wider variety of companies, as on the broadcast I watched there were ads for many different products besides Corona. That is a good sign because it means that it is more likely that PBC's business model of buying air time and then making money off selling commercial time might be paying off.

Another positive sign is that the overnight ratings were also strong. The show drew a 0.95 overnight airing from 3pm ET to 4:30pm ET. It was up 12-percent from the May 23rd PBC afternoon show on NBC that had James DeGale beating Andre Dirrell. It was down slightly, though, from the overnight ratings PBC drew for afternoon shows on CBS on April 4th (1.1) and May 9th (0.9). The overnight ratings measure the live plus same-day DVR viewership for the top 56 Nielsen markets, which represents about 70-percent of US television households.

Although the rating was down from the debut afternoon show on CBS, that it improved from the prior afternoon show on NBC shows that people aren't continually losing interest in the product. It makes sense that ratings will be down from the early shows because of the hype around PBC's debut. But if ratings kept declining with each subsequent show, that would be a problem. PBC also had a rebound rating for its latest Spike TV show with Amir Khan beating Chris Algieri. The show drew an average of 772,000 viewers, up 36-percent from the previous airing on Spike (569,000 viewers), but down 11-percent from the Spike debut in March (869,000). The Khan-Algieri show inflated to 811,000 with the DVR +3 ratings and the fight itself drew a peak of 1.3 million with DVR +3.

The Spike number for Khan-Algieri was a lower number than what PBC would want considering Khan seems to be the frontrunner to face Floyd Mayweather on pay per view in September. But that the show increased over the dismal second outing on Spike, in combination with this weekend's increase over the last afternoon outing on NBC, shows that there is potential to positively move ratings.

"I've gotten more attention and more of a bump from fighting Thurman on NBC than I did for fighting [Floyd] Mayweather on pay-per-view," said Guerrero, who has recently told boxing journalists a story about who he was approached by an elderly woman in the parking lot of a Safeway who said she recognized him from watching him box Thurman on NBC.

one thing that hurts PBC in the long-term is the lack of destination fights. Combat sports work best when matches build to tentpole shows. So, you have your weekly shows build to your big monthly or quarterly tentpole show, which in turn build to your huge annual show. Pro wrestling has been doing this forever and UFC more or less operates in the same way.

PBC, however, doesn't quite yet have that setup. The early PBC shows were about introducing the product and its fighters and building to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, which was co-produced by Haymon (or, was totally controlled and created by Haymon, depending on who you ask). That fight shattered the pay per view buy rate record by drawing 4.4 million buys. Part of the reason was the amount of hype PBC shows dedicated to Mayweather-Pacquiao.

Now that Mayweather-Pacquiao is past us, PBC doesn't have a major tentpole show to build to. That might change, though, once they announce the opponent and the finalized September date for Mayweather's supposed last match in September. PBC broadcasts would then be used to build to that Mayweather fight. If Khan is indeed Mayweather's opponent, I still think they lost an opportunity by having Khan fight on Spike instead of NBC.

After Mayweather retires, however, PBC is left with a hole in needs to fill. My guess is that Mayweather will come back next year for one more fight, possibly against Pacquiao, in order to draw a couple million more buys on pay per view or so and break Rocky Marciano's record, assuming Mayweather wins in September. But even if Mayweather does return to fight in 2016, he is not going to fight much longer than that. Mayweather leaving now is a bit like Hulk Hogan leaving after WWF did WrestleMania III. It leaves a huge gap that needs to be filled and there really isn't someone there to fill out.

Not that anyone would be expected to hit 4 million buys or whatever on pay per view, but if PBC needs tentpole shows to build around, those tentpole shows in turn need a major star attraction to draw. Once Mayweather is gone, that star attraction is gone and it becomes much harder to have those tentpole shows. It then becomes much harder to sustain television ratings because getting people to tune in to watch TV is based in part on leading people along a storyline, whether it be a story that leads to a major fight on pay per view, or whether it is a story that leads to a season ending episode of Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, or whatever show you like.

There are a few other stars under contract to PBC and fighters with star potential. Adonis Stevenson is a major star at Light-Heavyweight, but the two biggest fights for him are against Sergey Kovalev and Bernard Hopkins. Kovalev is under contract to Main Events and Hopkins to Golden Boy, and neither promotion is going to allow Haymon to use his Wall Street hedge fund money to win a purse bid and then air those fights on pay per view (Main Events even pulled Kovalev out of a purse bid to face Adonis earlier this year in order to avoid losing to Haymon, who always wins his purse bids).

PBC also has Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, who isn't half the fighter his father was. They've also booked him poorly, as he is coming off a loss to much larger Andrej Fonfara at light-heavyweight on Showtime. Junior has been a television ratings draw for Top Rank in the past, but whether the loss to Fonfara hurts his drawing power remains to be seen.

There are others under the PBC banner who have star potential, but aren't there yet. This includes Thurman, Garcia, Khan, WBC Heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder (who I feel has the most star potential of any PBC fighter), Artur Beterbiev, Daniel Jacobs, the Dirrell brothers, Shawn Porter, Lamont Peterson, and Adrian Broner, among others. But whether any of these fighters becomes drawing cards is up in the air.

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Someone whose drawing power isn't up in the air is Miguel Cotto. Cotto fustigated the much larger Daniel Geale Saturday night on HBO in a fight that took place at the Barclays Center on the weekend of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. That means Puerto Rican fans were out in full force to cheer Cotto as he stopped Geale in the fourth round, knocking the much bigger Aussie down twice. Attendance was 12,157.

Cotto was heavily criticized both for taking the fight against Geale, as well as demanding that the fight take place at a catchweight of 157 pounds even though it was a WBC Middleweight title match. Geagle weighed in at the catch limit, looking gaunt. Cotto weighed in at 153.6 pounds. When Geagle was weighed by HBO the night of the fight, wearing street clothes he had rehydrated up to 182 pounds. Cotto declined to be weighed by HBO on fight night.

Despite having the size advantage, Geale was overpowered by Cotto. Cotto went to the body hard and threw more overall. Cotto landed 68 of 183 punches compared to 33 of 127 for Geale. Even though Geale looked huge in the ring compared to Cotto, he was a talent class lower than Cotto and it was clear from the first round that the question wasn't whether Geale could win, but simply how long he could last in the ring against Cotto.

Cotto is a small middleweight and more naturally suited to the welterweight or super welterweight divisions. Geale is a much larger fighter compared to Cotto and getting Geale as skinny as possible was the primary part of Cotto's game plan for winning the fight.

Cotto looked much better in this fight than he has since losing back-to-back fights to Mayweather and Austin Trout, both in 2012. Cotto had only fought twice since those losses, to Delvin Rodriguez in 2013 and Sergio Martinez in 2014. In his post-fight interview after beating Geale, Cotto claimed the improvement he has seen late in his career has been due to trainer Freddie Roach.

“I picked Geale because he’s a tough guy, and he’ll give us some rounds, and that’s what I want,” said Roach. “I didn’t want him to fight a stiffer opponent with his first fight back after a long layoff. I’d rather fight an old guy to give us some rounds and that can get us closer to our next fight. We’re the champion now and can fight at a catch-weight. Geale going into the ring with will be 175 pounds."

Geale was coming into the fight off a unanimous decision win over Jarrod Fletcher in December. Prior to that bout, however, Geagle was destroyed in three rounds by Gennady Golovkin. Cotto has been criticized for dodging both Canelo and Golovkin and defending the WBC Middleweight title against Geale when Golovkin proved Geale did not belong among the elites at middleweight.

Cotto in the past has drawn money, though, and this tune-up fight was about making money for both Cotto and his new promoter, Roc Nation. His 2009 fight against Manny Pacquiao drew 1.25 million buys on pay per view, exceeding the buy rate for Floyd Mayweather's fight against Juan Manuel Marquez the same year. Cotto drew 1.5 million buys on pay per view against Mayweather in 2012. His 2013 fight on HBO against Delvin Rodriguez drew 1.55 million viewers, one of the most watched fights of that year.

Cotto, however, drew a disappointing buy rate against Sergio Martinez for their bout in June 2014. The fight was projected to draw 500,000 buys on pay per view promoted by HBO, but the buy rate only came in at around 315,000 buys. A replay of the fight on HBO drew 970,000 viewers.

Earlier this year Cotto was signed to an alleged $70-million contract by Roc Nation, Jay-Z's boxing promotion. The Cotto-Geale fight was promoted by Roc Nation, the company's first show on HBO. Roc Nation had promoted two cards earlier this year, both airing as part of a time buy on Fox Sports 1, which also airs Golden Boy Boxing and of course, UFC. Roc Nation also has a time buy on June 20th on BET with Andre Ward returning to the ring to face Paul Smith in a showcase bout for Ward.

“Saturday night is the start of something new and fresh for the boxing industry,” said Michael Yormark, president of Roc Nation. “It’s a chance for all of us to show boxing fans, and sports and entertainment fans around the world that the action on fight night can and will live up to the hype.”

"[Cotto is] a world-class fighter. He’s a legend and a four-time champion. He’s someone who gives our boxing division instant credibility. He allows us to make big fights on HBO and PPV. That’s what we want to do.”

Yormark is the twin brother of Brett Yormark, CEO of Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets. Michael is also a former executive with the NHL's Florida Panthers (which in hockey circles is a bit like being a former executive of TNA, or something close to that). Roc Nation also signed Ward to a contract earlier this year, but hasn't signed any other name fighters. Jay-Z and Al Haymon have bad blood going back to Haymon's days as the country's toop R&B concert promoter.

To justify the gigantic amount of money that Cotto is being paid, they need an opponent that can draw on pay per view. That opponent is Canelo Alvarez.

"Let's do it," said Cotto in his post-fight interview "Before that, I want to spend some time with my family and enjoy them again, but then it's back to L.A. and training for Canelo." Hopefully Cotto's family vacation is short.

You can see where the battle lines are being drawn here. On one side is Al Haymon, with his big fight for the latter half of 2015 being the next Mayweather pay per view in September. On the other side is HBO, working with Roc Nation and Golden Boy on a Cotto-Canelo pay per view this fall. Whichever one of those two pay per views draws the largest buy rate is going to be a battle won by that side. But the war will continue.

"It's the biggest fight to be made now," said Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya of Cotto-Canelo, who was ringside for Cotto's fight. "Cotto was very impressive. He took [Geale out]. The fight between Cotto and Canelo is huge.

"It's the biggest fight in boxing after Mayweather-Pacquiao. But the difference is that with Cotto-Canelo, you are guaranteed action."

"It's a fight everyone wants to see," said Michael Yormark. "It's the fight we're going to make. We have the framework of a deal done. Obviously, we had to wait until tonight was over, but now we can focus on Canelo and Miguel's next fight, and we're looking forward to it."

Canelo recently drew a huge crowd to the Minute Maid Park in Houston a week after Mayweather-Pacquiao. Canelo knocked out James Kirkland in the third round. Now that Cotto has defeated Geale, Canelo will be Cotto's next opponent. The rumour is that the fight could take place at Cowboys Stadium, which would gave a hometown edge of sorts to Canelo, as Cotto's home base is normally New Yrok. The WBC has ordered Cotto to defend the WBC Middleweight title against Canelo, the latter of whom has only fought at middleweight once previously, against Erislandy Lara in July 2014 in a fight that Canelo won by split-decision.

"I was fighting at 157 for Daniel Geale and my weight was 153.6. We can make it at 155 [for Canelo], no problem," Cotto said.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has then said after Cotto fights Canelo, then the winner of that bout has to defend the title against interim WBC Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. That's a little tricker to put together. The issue isn't with promoters, as Golovkin is handled by K2 Promotions and fights on HBO. The issue is that no star fighter wants to step into the ring against Golovkin, who looks unbeatable at the moment because Golovkin has yet to draw the kind of money at the box office that would justify a fighter taking a huge risk with his record.

Cotto has said that he does not intend to let the WBC pick his opponents. If Cotto were to defeat Canelo, putting together Cotto-Golovkin might be hard because of the size difference and because the fight might not be able to draw enough on pay per view to be able to pay Cotto what he would ask to face Golovkin.

If Canelo beats Cotto to win the WBC Middleweight title, then it is somewhat of a different story. Canelo seems more receptive to facing Golovkin compared to Cotto, but Golovkin would still be favoured to defeat Canelo and thus remains the issue of a fighter being paid enough to justify risking his record against Golovkin. The result is that whether it is Cotto or Canelo who faces Golovkin, either way the pay day for one of them has to be huge enough to justify the risk of losing, because the risk of losing is huge in itself.

"Why not? After the Canelo fight, we'll see," a hesitant Cotto said in his post-fight interview regarding facing Golovkin after a bout against Canelo.

Meanwhile, Golovkin is rumoured to be facing Carl Froch, possibly in Froch's final fight and possibly at Wembley Stadium. "It would be at 168-pounds because of the respect for Carl and what he's achieved at 168-pounds," said Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions. "But ever since there were rumors that Eddie and I were talking about it, there was a huge reaction. But again it might be that Carl never fights again and you can't blame him for that. But if he does fight, Gennady is the most marketable fight that he can do. It would be on pay-per-view in the states and it would be a huge fight in the UK. Whatever the business model, there would be a lot of money in that fight."

Froch is a good opponent for Golovkin right now because Froch has some name value. Golovkin would be favoured to be Froch and a win in that bout might up Golovkin's profile enough to convince Cotto or Canelo that fighting Golovkin is worth is financially. More importantly, if Golovkin can draw huge money against Froch, that might convince either Cotto or Canelo that Golovkin can draw huge money against either of them.

There's a twist, though. Last week after leaving the Belasco Theater in LA, Oscar de la Hoya was approached by TMZ and asked about fighting again. "If I ever come back, and I think about it every day, I’ll fight Triple G,” De La Hoya told TMZ.

Let's not get too excited. De La Hoya is 42 years old and hasn't fought since losing to Manny Pacquiao in 2008. De La Hoya went 3-4 in his final seven fights. 42 is still young enough for a return for at least one fight, but people have been wondering why on earth he would want to fight Golovkin when everyone else is avoiding Golovkin.

I doubt De La Hoya's return will happen, but the fight makes sense from a business perspective. Golden Boy is not doing well. Al Haymon was a manager for a huge portion of Golden Boy's roster, most of which were not under exclusive long-term deals to Golden Boy. Haymon gutted the roster by taking his fighters away from Golden Boy to create PBC earlier this year. That has left Golden Boy really with only two major stars, Canelo and 50-year-old Bernard Hopkins.

Canelo is only 24. He's a Mexican icon in the tradition of De La Hoya and Cesar Chavez. He draws money. He is probably the future of boxing, or at least the future of the next decade or so of boxing. Golden Boy is very fortunate to have him.

Golden Boy is plainly desparate though, as seen by their massive anti-trust lawsuit against Al Haymon for violating the Ali Act, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and other laws. Without Canelo, they have Hopkins, who has maybe only a couple of fights left in him at most. Other than that, they have no other major stars, despte a TV deal with Fox Sports 1 that they ought to be using as a vehicle to create new stars.

The way it goes is this: Canelo will probably face Cotto. It will draw big money, maybe even bigger than Mayweather's fight in September, depending on how things go in the weeks leading up to both fights. Canelo will probably beat Cotto, although that isn't for sure. That will probably setup Canelo vs. Golovkin for next year. Golovkin will probably beat Canelo. He might even beat him badly. Since Golden Boy is so reliant on Canelo's future in order to turn a profit, they have to protect Canelo and any loss suffered by Canelo has to draw so much money to make that loss worth it.

That's where De La Hoya comes in. That's why he is thinking about Golovkin as an opponent if he comes out of retirement. Golovkin needs someone to make him into a star. De La Hoya coming out of retirement will draw money. With Golden Boy's roster so depleted right now, even though De La Hoya hasn't fought since 2008, he is still young enough that he is technically one of the biggest possible draws that Golden Boy has. His return against anyone would draw money. If he returns and faces Golovkin, he will lose and probably get knocked out. That is actually good for Golden Boy's long-term business because a loss at this stage in De La Hoya's career is not going to hurt his drawing power if he were to fight again after being knocked out by Golovkin.

Golovkin's drawing power, however, would be upped greatly with a win over De La Hoya. Oscar did the same for both Pacquiao and Mayweather, turning the two of them into box office draws by losing to each. He might be thinking of doing the same thing with Golovkin. If De La Hoya could lose to Golovkin and turn Triple G into a box office draw, that would justify risking Canelo against Golovkin because after beating De La Hoya, Golovkin would theoretically become a big enough draw that the money made by Golden Boy by co-promoting Canelo-Golovkin would be worth risking the future of their meal ticket with a bad loss.

The other option to turn Golovkin into a star would be a fight against Hopkins, although that doesn't seem to be talked about. Instead, Hopkins is talking about fighting James DeGale, who is a British star that recently beat Andre Dirrell on PBC on NBC. But DeGale isn't under contract to PBC, instead fighting mainly in Britain for Matchroom Boxing. DeGale doesn't make a whole lot of sense as an opponent for Hopkins, as DeGale would likely win and at super middleweight he would be far to large to face Canelo, who would be the natural opponent from Golden Boy after DeGale beat Hopkins. Golovkin makes more sense from a business perspective as an opponent for Hopkins.

But all of this is purely speculative and based on one line of dialogue between De La Hoya and TMZ. There is a good chance that De La Hoya will never fight again. But if you were wondering why he mentioned Triple G as his opponent if he returned, all of this is likely why. And De La Hoya returning to the ring is exactly the sort of desperation movie Golden Boy might make.

Jeremy Wall can be contacted at jeremywall1984@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @jeremydalewall.