Canelo Alvarez’s boxing exploits have been staged in the most notable arenas in the United States.
The four-division champion Alvarez has headlined at Madison Square Garden, AT&T Stadium, Staples Center, MGM Grand, T-Mobile Arena, Minute Maid Park and The Alamodome, among other venues in America.
Now that coronavirus has caused for the sport’s biggest breadwinner to continue his career for the time being in crowdless clashes — and take less cash doing so — the location of which his next fight will be staged in has taken lesser precedence.
Alvarez promoter and Golden Boy head Oscar De La Hoya said he’s looking to leverage his years-long relationship with the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, and that it is a “very possible” destination for Alvarez’s next fight, which presumably will take place on Mexican Independence Day weekend against an opponent still to be determined.
In a tempting twist and tease, De La Hoya also expressed that he may have an ace up his sleeve.
In what would be an unprecedented and unique idea, De La Hoya said he is trying to think outside of the box and is even considering staging an outdoor Alvarez fight in front of Mount Rushmore or on Alcatraz Island.
“You know, a venue like Fantasy Springs is very possible [for Alvarez’s next fight],” De La Hoya told the Palm Springs Desert Sun. “It’s something we’ve discussed internally … There would be a lot of excitement. I always go back to relationships and Fantasy Springs has been an amazing partner. We love the venue and it’s convenient. The fact that the gate is irrelevant, it makes all the sense in the world.
“So, if our options are Mt. Rushmore and Alcatraz and Fantasy Springs, I wouldn’t mind going to Fantasy Springs because it would be the most convenient for us because of our partnership with the casino.”
De La Hoya said a location for Alvarez’s next fight would be determined in the “next couple weeks.”
Golden Boy president Eric Gomez recently told ESPN that Alvarez’s next fight could either be staged in a ballroom, studio or a smaller venue.
De La Hoya has been in a promotional mainstay in the desert by bringing boxing to the Coachella Valley for years. The region has evolved into a boxing hotbed in its own right.
The ambitious idea of venturing out to exotic, nationally known locations would be a feather in the Hall of Fame fighter-turned-promoter’s hat.
His company’s return, headlined by Vergil Ortiz’s fight against Samuel Vargas on July 24, will also take place at Fantasy Springs Casino, a gambling venue owned by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians.
Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 knockouts) lives and trains in nearby San Diego during camp and resides in Mexico during his offseason.
As creative and desirable as staging shows at Mount Rushmore or on Alcatraz Island may be, for the sake of easiness and efficiency and not flip-flopping fight sites, Golden Boy is likely inclined to stick to Fantasy Springs Casino and follow a similar production blueprint that Top Rank has established in Las Vegas with its “Bubble” inside the MGM Grand since June with bi-weekly shows.
Considering crowds and gates are no longer a possibility for the immediate future due to the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, promoters are getting creative with how they are presenting their fight cards.
On Wednesday, Matchroom Boxing announced that it would mark its return to the USA by staging a show in the streets of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hearn will also be staging a series of outdoor shows next month in the yard of his Matchroom headquarters overlooking the city of London.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.