Oscar De La Hoya is no stranger to boxing's hype machine. Six months ago, for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, he was part of one of the most intense promotions the sport had seen.
The event broke several boxing records, including pay-per-view purchases (2.4 million) and revenue (US$134.4 million). But the public relations blitzkrieg could not manufacture boxing's most important element -- an exciting fight.
Mayweather won a 12-round decision in what many considered to be a boring match.
"The fight did not live up to the hype that it received," De La Hoya said this week in Manhattan, where he was promoting the welterweight world title bout between Miguel Cotto, the WBA champion, and Shane Mosley.
"It hurts," De La Hoya said. "It hurts your image inside the ring. It hurts your mass appeal you can have."
The Cotto-Mosley fight at Madison Square Garden, though well publicized, has not had the buzz of De La Hoya-Mayweather. And that is too bad, said De La Hoya, the president of Golden Boy Promotions.
Cotto and Mosley, each known for his aggressiveness in the ring, are expected to put on an action-packed show. But star power trumps punching power. So Cotto and Mosley almost certainly will play to a smaller audience than De La Hoya and Mayweather.
"Sugar Shane Mosley always makes an exciting fight," said De La Hoya, who employs Mosley as a co-promoter with Golden Boy. "And when you pair him up with an exciting, strong, young champion like Miguel Cotto, the fight is guaranteed to be fireworks. This is what a promoter dreams of."
Cotto (30-0, 25 knockouts) continues to build a reputation. He is fighting in the Garden for the fourth time. He has drawn boisterous crowds each time.
Cotto, who is from Puerto Rico, fought against Zab Judah in the Garden in June, winning by technical knockout in the 11th round. In that fight, Cotto, 27, displayed his persistent, move-forward attack, setting up Judah with powerful body shots before finishing him off with blows to the head.
It is an attack he said he planned to maintain against Mosley.
"I don't think at the age of 36 years old Shane can handle Miguel Cotto," Cotto said, adding that he did not think Mosley was as dangerous as Judah.
But Mosley (44-4, one no contest) is probably the most decorated opponent Cotto has faced. He has won world titles in three weight classes and is widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of the last 15 years.
Mosley, who has two victories over De La Hoya, is known for his speed, which he transforms into power. Though his reflexes are not as sharp as they were when he was younger, Mosley is on a five-fight winning streak and he appears as dangerous as ever. He said he would retire if he lost.
"I think I'm the wrong fighter for anyone to step in the ring with at this point in my career," he said. "I'm hungrier than ever."
Though Mosley's quickness sets him apart from Cotto, the fighters are similar in their willingness to face any opponent, as well as in their attacking styles. That, according to Cotto's promoter, Todd duBoef, is what could set the fight apart.
DuBoef, the president of Top Rank Inc, said it was time the boxing world focused on the fights and not the names of the fighters.
"This fight epitomizes what the brand of boxing is about," he said. "Everybody has abandoned the brand and kind of gravitated toward the names. And because of that, people would say, the sport suffers."