In an apparent attempt to save what’s left of boxing, Anschutz Entertainment Group has purchased a “significant ownership stake” of Golden Boy Promotions, owned by Oscar De La Hoya. The move comes on the heels of De La Hoya’s recent decision to buy 20 percent of the Houston Dynamo, a Major League Soccer franchise owned by AEG.
So AEG is funding De La Hoya’s sorry boxing promotion and De La Hoya is taking the Dynamo of AEG’s hands. Is this an even give and take? Or is De La Hoya, one of the great middleweights of his time, and his promotions company being propped up by Anschutz?
The boxer has promised to fight only two more opponents before retirement, which leaves his promotions company without its most profitable fighter. De La Hoya’s stable of punchers (Sugar Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, Bernard Hopkins, Winky Wright) are all well past their primes. It’s obvious that Golden Boy needed a serious infusion of cash in order to survive long-term.
This agreement has been in the works for some time. De La Hoya first fought at AEG-owned Staples Center in 2000 and recently defeated Steve Forbes at the AEG-owned Home Depot Center on May 2, 2008. He now has a scheduled rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and the smart money is on the fight taking place at Staples Center rather than in Las Vegas. Also look for Golden Boy fighters Moseley, Hatton, Hopkins and Wright to step in the ring at AEG venues from London to Shanghai; AEG owns and operates dozens of stadiums and arenas around the world.
Though the financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, AEG CEO Tim Leiweke says the deal is “a big commitment.” It must be, AEG has announced its plan to build a 7-foot bronze statue of De La Hoya outside of Staples Center. So while sports fans gather around statues of Magic Johnson and Wayne Gretzky, they can glance over and say: “Hey look! It’s the physical manifestation of AEG propping up Oscar De La Hoya.”