Oscar de la Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, had a lot to say on Wednesday about the September 17 pay-per-view showdown between Canelo Alvarez and WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith at the famed AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.
[On fighting in Texas] Texas has been a natural choice for us, and for all Texas fans who love Canelo Alvarez, and the fan base are some of the most loyal for every fight. The fans have shown up in huge crowds wearing red and green, cheering Canelo and chanting his name. Texas is Canelo’s home away from home, and Canelo versus Smith will be a homecoming celebration for Canelo. We have witnessed some of Canelo’s most epic fights in Texas, from his match with Austin Trout at the Alamo Dome where he filled up 45,000 seats, and obviously when he fought James Kirkland, which was named Knockout Of The Year, at the Minute Maid Park in front of 31,000 screaming fans.
[On fighting at AT&T Stadium] Cowboys Stadium is a stadium created for larger-than-life fighters, just like Canelo. And the two other fights that have been fought there were headlined by legendary Manny Pacquiao. We’re excited to announce that ticket sales are going extremely, extremely well. It’s outpacing Manny Pacquiao’s last two fights, which we’re extremely excited about knowing that we will have a full house at the Cowboys Stadium. Tickets are still available, priced from $750 all the way down to $40.
[On the decision to not to fight Golovkin right away] It’s basically the team’s decision, you know? I mean, Canelo knows his body. His trainers know his body, and the bottom line is Canelo is a 154-pound fighter. The fact that he fought at 155, people expect him to go up and fight at middleweight, and that’s not the case. He’s a 54-pounder, and he’s going to go up to 160 when his body feels ready. People will always talk and will always want the very best when you are on top of the world, and that’s what Canelo is right now. He’s on top. He is the star fighter in boxing, and people want him to fight the very best. And he has always fought the very best. And fighting a Golovkin is going to be no exception. He’s going to fight him, but when he’s ready to move up to 160.
[On the next move for Canelo] This is a tough fight with Liam Smith. It’s not a walk-over fight. It’s a tough fight. And first things first, we’ve got to get past him and then we’ll deal with future fights. But as of right now, everything is geared to fighting against Liam Smith and being successful.
[On what the stadium will be scaled for] I don’t know the exact number. I do know that the building can be scaled for as many as over 80,000 people. So, like I said, ticket sales are going incredibly well. We’re outpacing the last two Manny Pacquiao fights that were held at AT&T Stadium. So Jerry Jones is extremely happy. The fans are happy. We’re happy. And I’m sure that Canelo and Liam Smith are going to be really happy when they see the turnout at the arena…Canelo has a tremendous fan base, and ticket sales show it. He has millions and millions of fans around the world, and ticket sales are proving that.
So I believe that it’s not IF he outsells the Pacquiao fights at the AT&T arena. I think the question is going to be WHEN he outsells the Pacquiao ticket sales at the arena. I strongly believe that at the age of 26 years old, Canelo is a bigger star and a better fighter compared to any fighter out there today.
[On a passing of the torch to Canelo as the certified boxing superstar] Well, the passing of the torch has already taken place. With Mayweather being retired and Pacquiao being retired, Canelo is the face of boxing now. He’s proven it with ticket sales. He’s proven it with Pay-Per-Views, and he’s going to prove it once again by outselling Manny Pacquiao at the AT&T arena. So I believe this is just the beginning for Canelo, and he has a long future ahead for himself. We can’t wait to be part of it.
[On why Texans love Canelo] Texas loves boxing. I mean, just like any other part of the world, people love Canelo and they want to see Canelo because he brings excitement to the sport. He brings exciting fights. And this fight here with Liam Smith is going to be a toe-to-toe, “right in the center of the ring” type of action fight. That’s why people love Canelo. He works hard, he’s a serious fighter, and he brings a lot of action to the table.
[On the number of expected PPV buys for Canelo-Smith] We really can’t say how many Pay-Per-Views he’s going to sell, but we’re expecting a big number as always. We strongly feel that Canelo’s star power is only growing. And as we get closer to the fights, we’ll have a better indication. But we always gauge our numbers by how many tickets we’re selling in the arena. And as you know, we’re outpacing Manny Pacquiao in ticket sales at the AT&T Arena. So we expect a really strong number come September 17.
[On the Canelo-Smith PPV Undercard] We at Golden Boy pride ourselves in giving the fans the most exciting and the best fights possible, and that’s exactly what we’ve put together. See, the fight fans in Dallas, Texas, or across the globe want to see action, and that’s what Canelo brings to the table. Canelo brings action, excitement, and our undercards are obviously no exception. Our undercards are always full of excitement and great fights.