By Keith Idec
Oscar De La Hoya announced Monday on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” that the middleweight championship showdown between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on September 16.
De La Hoya, whose company promotes Alvarez, had narrowed down the possible sites to T-Mobile Arena and the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The date for Alvarez-Golovkin was established last month, when the fight officially was announced.
“Keep in mind everybody wanted this fight,” De La Hoya said. “It’s the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. So everybody wants to go to Vegas, have a great time, watch a great fight with Triple-G and Canelo. I mean, it’s gonna be a train wreck – let me tell you."
AT&T Stadium could’ve accommodated many more fans for the HBO Pay-Per-View fight – as many as 100,000 – but the gate revenue from T-Mobile Arena will be comparable because ticket prices will be significantly higher. T-Mobile Arena, which opened last year near the famed Las Vegas strip, holds slightly more than 20,000 fans for boxing.
The long-awaited Alvarez-Golovkin fight finally was announced May 6 at T-Mobile Arena, immediately after Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) dominated Mexican rival Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-3-1, 32 KOs, 1 NC) in a 12-round fight that was not competitive.
T-Mobile Arena is co-owned by MGM Resorts International, an extremely deep-pocketed company that owns numerous casinos and resorts in Las Vegas. Eric Gomez, Golden Boy Promotions’ president, told ESPN.com that MGM Resorts International made “an incredible pitch and incredible offer.”
De La Hoya revealed he also received strong offers from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Madison Square Garden excutives to hold Alvarez-Golovkin at the “Mecca of Boxing” in Manhattan. Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) has drawn capacity crowds to the Garden for his eighth-round stoppage of Montreal’s David Lemieux in October 2015 and his narrow win over Daniel Jacobs on March 18.
Two of Alvarez’s past three fights have taken place at T-Mobile Arena. AT&T Stadium was considered a realistic option because Alvarez’s first fight there – a ninth-round knockout of comparatively unknown Liam Smith – drew an announced crowd of 51,420 on September 17.
“I did receive [an offer] for a crazy amount of money,” De La Hoya said. “The offers were just amazing from Madison Square Garden. So I was contemplating it because look, you mentioned right now Muhammad Ali with Joe Frazier – crazy fight. And then obviously my good friend, Jerry Jones, who wanted this fight. I talked to my great friend, Magic Johnson, who wanted to stage the fight at Dodger Stadium. Why not, right?
“But ultimately, it’s like the entertainment factor. People wanna go to parties after the fight. You wanna stage the pre-fight parties, the weigh-ins. People can … I’m gonna open up venues, probably 12, 15 venues in Las Vegas, where people can watch this fight amongst your friends and other fans of the sport. Closed-circuit TV, I mean we’re gonna open up like 35,000 seats. So people can go out there to Vegas, have a great time and watch a great fight.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.