Golden Boy Promotions has grand plans for Las Vegas including a new office and a big fight at the city's hottest new venue

LAS VEGAS — Childhood friends and boxing business partners Oscar de la Hoya and Eric Gomez were two of approximately 18,600 people who watched U2 open the $2.3 billion venue The Sphere.
It quickly became apparent to those attending, and all who saw images and videos on social media, that the concert may have been the hottest ticket in town.
Digital boards inside scaled 170,000 square feet — the size of 42 IMAX cinema screens combined — aired displays that seemed hallucinogenic.
It wasn't long before de la Hoya and Gomez looked at each other. A light bulb went off above one another's heads — the arena would be perfect for an in-your-face sport like boxing.
It all fits a grand plan that Golden Boy Promotions says it has for Las Vegas, which extends beyond Saturday's headline bout between Gilberto 'Zurdo' Ramirez and Joe Smith Jr. at the swanky, mid-strip venue The Cosmopolitan.
"It's beautiful, and one of the newer casinos here on the strip," Golden Boy president Gomez told us.
Gomez and Golden Boy founder de la Hoya told ProBox TV this week that their Los Angeles-based firm wants to expand into Vegas, build an office here, and host more bouts in the Fight Capital of the World.
It's easy to see why.
Boxing has enjoyed a banner year in the city of sin, going back as far as David Benavidez's big win over Caleb Plant, Devin Haney's competitive 12-rounder with Vasiliy Lomachenko, and, more recently Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez's comfortable win over Jermell Charlo.
And that's not even including the highly-anticipated welterweight clash between Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr., and the best-selling boxing event of the year involving Gervonta Davis and Golden Boy star Ryan Garcia.
Golden Boy returns to Vegas for the first time since Garcia lost to Davis and, judging from the way their executives are talking, it won't be long before they host another event here.
Their calendar is already shaping up nicely:
  • Zurdo vs. Smith — October 7, Las Vegas
  • Rocha vs. Santillan — October 21, Los Angeles
  • Garcia vs. Duarte — December 2, San Antonio

"We will be announcing Vergil Ortiz very soon, and we're excited about bringing [him] back in a higher weight division," de la hoya told ProBox TV this week.

"We have a great stable of fighters, we're working on Jaime Munguia and he's right there ready to fight the very best. So, at the end of 2023, and in 2024, we will bring the heat. We want to put all promoters on notice, let's work together, let's make these big fights happen."

Golden Boy Promotions wants some of those fights to take place in Vegas, just like Zurdo vs. Smith.

"Vegas has always been a great theater for boxing — arguably the Mecca," Gomez told ProBox TV. "You know, we love being here, Oscar pretty much built his career in Vegas, and so it hits home for Oscar, personally, and all of us at Golden Boy."

Another way it hits home is because de la Hoya has bought property in Las Vegas. The boxing legend bought a $14.6 million luxury home in 2022 and will move in soon, now that it is close to completion.

It begs the question whether the next step is a Golden Boy chapter in Las Vegas, too.

"Yes, definitely," Gomez said. "He's playing with the idea of something here and I think it would be great for us to expand."

Mixed martial arts market-leader UFC, which is headquartered in Las Vegas and owns a tremendous amount of commercial real estate in the city, intends to take a show to The Sphere on the weekend closest to Mexican Independence Day next year.

UFC boss Dana White, though, may have to look over his shoulder as he may not win the race for the first combat sports event at the futuristic venue.

Not if Golden Boy — and, potentially, Top Rank — have their say.

"Oscar and I were invited to the U2 concert and we were fortunate enough to be there and to experience it," Gomez told us. "It's unlike any arena in the world. The technology there is incredible.

"We would love to do something with them, and they're very interested. You know, they [Madison Square Garden Sports] have a rich history of boxing. And there are so many possibilities with that arena. A lot of ideas are just, you know, swirling around in our heads."

De la Hoya loves the idea, too.

'There will be nothing like' a boxing event at The Sphere

"At the opening with U2 I was imagining a boxing show inside The Sphere," the promoter told us. "There will be nothing like it.

"Anyone who has the privilege of going to The Sphere and watching a fight for the first time, it will be the best event you will ever attend — mark my words. That Sphere is something else. I've never seen anything like it."

On the technology and graphics that could be customized for a boxing event, de la Hoya said: "It will literally feel like the fighters are punching at you, when you see them on the big screen inside. It's pretty incredible."

It's clear that Golden Boy want to make a push to create more shows in Vegas, much like Premier Boxing Champions and, to a lesser extent, Top Rank, have done throughout 2023.

But there is a small but increasing trend of certain events landing in Saudi Arabia.

Is de la Hoya concerned, then, that just as he's about to make a play for Vegas, there is, perhaps, more money to be made in the Middle East. And could this threaten the sport in America?

"I'm not concerned at all and, on the contrary, if the Saudis make these big fights happen, on pay-per-view, the public can watch — the better for us," he said.

"They're paying a lot of money, so that's great for the fighters and great for the sport. Tyson [Fury] vs. [Oleksandr] Usyk, Tyson vs. [Francis] Ngannou … these are events that boxing needs, and good for them for making all that money," de la Hoya added. "If they want to make big fights happen overseas, more power to them."

As for the biggest shows the United States can make, de la Hoya is challenging all of his rival promoters to come together for, what he says, is the benefit of boxing.

"I sat down with Bob Arum yesterday to [try and] make big fights," he told us. "He has Teofimo [Lopez], he has Shakur [Stevenson]. Well, guess what, we work and we promote Ryan Garcia so we can talk about different fights. We can have the first major event at The Sphere."

Gomez agrees as we asked him, too, if Lopez vs. Garcia could happen at The Sphere next year. "It's a possiblity," he said.

"I’m calling out promoters," de la Hoya finished. "Let’s make this shit happen."