On Saturday night, HBO boxing commentator Larry Merchant had some comments on Oscar De La Hoya that stunned fight fans around the world. De La Hoya is usually present on all boxing events, especially those that he promotes. However, due to a recent partnership between Golden Boy Productions and Affliction, De La Hoya was not able to attend the Antonio Margarito vs. Shane Mosley event. Instead, he attended the Affliction 2 "Day of Reckoning" event held at the Honda Center in Anaheim California that same night.
During the boxing broadcast, Merchant stated that De La Hoya was absent during one of boxing's most anticipated fights because "his company (Golden Boy Productions) got a $5 Million dollar fee from a t-shirt maker (Affliction) so that he would be personally involved in the promotion of a mixed martial arts show."
After being highly criticized by fight fans around the globe, he responded with the following:
"The $5 million was the number thrown out. There was not a discussion on how that precisely was allocated or how it was branded. Is it a little bit glib or short-handed to say that Golden Boy got $5 million and Oscar had to be there? Yeah. Yeah. I’m on television and I’m trying to tell a story as tightly as I can…. This is hard for someone with my experience to compute. When somebody says ‘$5 million sponsorship,’ I have a different interpretation. This never even occurred to me that Affliction was the guys behind this and that Golden Boy was just putting its brand on it and was not taking any risk and would make money on the end. This is a whole new financial model from what I’ve known in boxing…. I don’t know if there’s any conflict between [MMA] and boxing. Boxing had a great night on Saturday night and I don’t know what the MMA event did and I really don’t care. To me, it’s another game and if they can make it, good for them… The game itself is something I’m just not interested in.”