With boxing seeing some of the best action it’s had in years over the last 12 months, 2015 proved to be an exciting and a renaissance year for the sweet science.
This weekend, the boxing calendar came to a dramatic close when WBA interim heavyweight champion Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz (24-0, 21 KOs) — fighting for Golden Boy Promotions — closed the show with two vicious uppercuts against Bryant “By-By” Jennings (19-2, 10 KOs) in HBO’s final fight of 2015. The Ortiz knockout made him a player in the wide open heavyweight division, but it also put an exclamation point on a resurgent year for Golden Boy Promotions.
Oscar De La Hoya’s promotional company not only solidified itself as one of the top promoters in the sport, but it also presented some of the most watched, entertaining and fan-friendly fights in the sport in 2015. Golden Boy promoted fights across the globe in the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Puerto Rico to make a major impact in the international boxing landscape while expanding their ever growing stable of fighters.
No matter how big Golden Boy’s stable of top notch talent becomes, 2015 clearly established its top dog for the foreseeable future will be Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs).
The 25-year-old Alvarez had a phenomenal 2015, which opened with a Knockout of the Year performance against James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland on May 9 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Besides showing the world he has come full circle since his loss to Floyd “Money” Mayweather in September of 2013, Canelo proved he is a bona fide superstar with major drawing power by drawing over 30,000 in a stadium venue for the second time in his career.
For more proof of Golden Boy’s biggest star firmly cementing himself as the top draw in boxing’s post-Mayweather era, all one has to do is look at the numbers.
Canelo fights drew top viewership for HBO and some of the best numbers the network has seen since Mayweather was the face of the network. With his win over seasoned veteran Miguel Cotto, which drew 900,000 pay-per-view buys in November, Alvarez threw his name into the mix as one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighters while unofficially becoming the new PPV king.
Now that Canelo is the newly crowned WBC, Ring Magazine and lineal middleweight world champion, expect for Golden Boy and Alvarez to cash in 2016 with two major bouts for the rising star on Cinco de Mayo weekend in May and Mexican Independence weekend in September.
If the stars align for Alvarez and Golden Boy, his September matchup could be against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin — arguably the biggest match boxing can offer.
While Golden Boy was busy making Canelo a household name, it was also developing some young talented fighters for the future as well.
Both Diego “Golden Kid” De La Hoya and 2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph “Jojo” Diaz Jr. are up for Prospect of the Year honors while leading a strong roster of future stars in the Golden Boy stable.
The undefeated and fan-favorite Diego De La Hoya — cousin of Oscar De La Hoya — had a breakout year in 2015. Besides winning the vacant WBC youth super bantamweight title and beating former world title contenders Manuel “Suavecito” Roman and Jesus “Estrella” Ruiz, the younger De La Hoya began developing a big fanbase because of his action-packed style.
Just one day before Miguel Cotto took on Canelo, Diego De La Hoya shined with a unanimous decision victory over Giovanni “Lloviznas” Delgado to put the boxing world on notice that he’s primed for another big year in 2016.
Similar to Canelo, Diaz Jr. has the charisma to match his superior boxing skills to potentially become a star. This past weekend, Diaz Jr. put a spectacular end to his calendar year by securing the NABF featherweight title with a second-round TKO victory over Hugo “Olimpico” Partida.
After fighting five times in 2015, expect Golden Boy to offer Diaz Jr. more high-profile matchups in 2016.
If Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy can sustain this momentum in 2016, they could possibly hold the keys to the future of boxing.