Magic Johnson has presented an offer for Dodger Stadium to host the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin middleweight title fight Sept. 16, and promoter Oscar De La Hoya describes the bid as the early “front-runner.”
De La Hoya, after a conversation with Johnson, Dodgers chief financial officer Tucker Kain and Lon Rosen, the team’s executive vice president of marketing and communications, said he’ll pursue fuller details on the proposal, but is impressed.
“I can’t reveal details, but Magic Johnson made a very nice offer. It’s a nice package I have to consider,” De La Hoya told the Los Angeles Times.
“I like the fact that we were both in the ’92 Olympics, that we’re both L.A. boys, that we’re both entrepreneurs and that we’re both friends. So, it’s very intriguing.”
Rival pitches are expected this coming week from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for massive AT&T Stadium outside Dallas and from MGM Resorts for T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas — the sites of Alvarez’s past two bouts.
Wembley Stadium in London, which brought 90,000 to last month’s Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko heavyweight title fight, and New York’s famed Madison Square Garden are also interested, De La Hoya said.
Yet, Southern California serves as the training home to both three-belt middleweight champion Golovkin (37-0, 33 knockouts), in Big Bear, and former two-division champion Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs), in San Diego.
And both fighters have drawn large crowds to the Southland’s premier boxing venues — the Forum, Staples Center, Honda Center and StubHub Center — while building to this showdown.
The pay-per-view bout is being promoted as the most important boxing match since Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao in 2015, with a greater likelihood for far more toe-to-toe action.
Johnson, frequently spotted ringside at major bouts, expressed great enthusiasm about bringing Alvarez-Golovkin to the Southland, said De La Hoya.
Dodger Stadium has only hosted one major boxing match — the tragic, nationally televised 1963 bout when featherweight champion Davey Moore died after getting knocked down by Sugar Ramos and sustaining a fatal blow when the back of the head hit the bottom ring “rope,” which was a hose-covered steel cable.
“From everything I know right now, Magic and the Dodgers are front-runners,” De La Hoya said. “It’s an exciting fight. Everyone wants it.
“Magic said to me, ‘This is the fight that will definitely bring boxing back.’”
Dodger Stadium officials say that with additional floor seats it can accommodate a crowd of 60,000.
Beyond that, officials at the California State Athletic Commission are interested in bringing the bout to the state, educating promoters about how much less they would pay in live-gate and broadcast fees in California than in other states.
State commissioners have already crunched numbers, noting that on a $20-million gate, California would only require a capped fee of $135,000, compared with $1.75 million in New York, $1.6 million in Nevada and $630,000 in Texas.
If the promoters passed along those savings to the fighters’ purses, the state has also advised De La Hoya on how to craft contract language that can minimize the fighters’ payments to the Franchise Tax Board by limiting the state’s 8% income tax to pay-per-view buys made exclusively in California, not nationally.
Nevada and Texas wouldn’t require the fighters to pay any income tax.
“Taxes are a huge issue, but I’m sure there’s something to be done to get a break,” De La Hoya said.
That cause is aided by the fact that California regulators want the bout.
“With the quality and prevalence of boxing fans here, the attention these fighters will get from those communities is worth something, even a little more income tax,” California State Athletic Commission Chair John Carvelli said.
“We’d like to be able to host this once-in-a-lifetime event because we understand it’s so much more than a spectacle and we understand the importance to these amazing fighters, because of their background, their ethnicity, to know those people will show up and make this event one that is unique not only to California, but to boxing.
“Beyond that, we have worked hard to prove we have the best regulatory atmosphere in the world, to ensure we’ll have a fair event. And that’s what this is all about.”