Friday, October 1, 2010

Oscar-Worthy Ambitions

Few sports exhibit the same cutthroat business model of boxing. Perhaps the solitary nature of the sport compounds the ruthlessness, but in fact most other sports seem to emphasize, at least on the surface, creating and maintaining a level field of play - salary caps, conduct policies, universal governing organizations, etc.

Boxing has always operated under the guidance of its own Golden Rule: he who has the gold greases the palms of those who make the rules.

However, Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar de la Hoya is apparently looking to reform that idea.

In a September 27th interview with Broadcasting & Cable, De la Hoya ruffled quite a few feathers by claiming the sport would be much better off with Golden Boy Promotions as the sole promoter and distributor of boxing, directly referencing and praising the business model of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and what it has done for mixed martial arts.

Fellow promoters Gary Shaw and Bob Arum seemed angrily annoyed by the interview; Arum suggested Oscar's ideas would be illegal, and Shaw claimed he'd warned HBO about Golden Boy's attempt at a monopoly.

All feigned outrage aside, the question becomes whether or not a UFC-like business model would even work in the sport of boxing -- or, more accurately, who that model would be good for.