Has a line been drawn in the sand between MMA and boxing?
Golden Boy Promotions doesn’t seem to think so, though comments made by longtime commentator Larry Merchant during an HBO boxing broadcast on Saturday have others seeing red.
Prized pugilist Oscar de La Hoya’s promotional leg officially dipped its toes into the MMA market on Saturday when it co-produced Affliction M-1 Global “Day of Reckoning” at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Apparently Merchant took offense to de La Hoya’s absence from his proceedings between Antonio Margarito and “Sugar” Shane Mosley at the Staples Center some 30 miles away (Mosley is repped by Golden Boy).
“Oscar De La Hoya … is in nearby Anaheim where his company got a $5 million fee from a T-shirt maker so that he can be personally involved in the promotion of a mixed martial art show,” said Merchant. “It would take that much to get me to go to one of those things.”
Bruce Binkow, Golden Boy’s Chief Marketing Officer, took Merchant’s comments in stride.
“It’s ridiculous [to say] that there was a $5 million dollar fee paid [for de La Hoya’s attendance],” said Binkow. “There’s a financial commitment obviously that Affliction made, and Oscar felt an obligation through his partners at Affliction [to attend]. I don’t know how more simple it can be and why it’s any more complicated than that.”
And while Merchant might be questioning de La Hoya’s lack of allegiance to the sport that made him a star, Binkow said the former champion’s decision to grace “Day of Reckoning” was strictly business.
“The [Affliction] pay-per-view date was set long before the boxing event, and Oscar didn’t feel right about offending his commitment to our partners in Affliction,” said Binkow. “I think it was a great night for both sports. There was packed houses at the Staples Center and the Honda Center, so we were thrilled with both events.”