Oscar De La Hoya anticipates his Sept. 18 bout against middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins will be his last big fight. And it will be big -- promoter Bob Arum said yesterday that De La Hoya could gross $35 million from the pay-per-view bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Not bad for a guy who's just 6-3 in his past nine fights.
Arum, speaking to reporters in a Washington restaurant as part of a nationwide tour to promote the fight, said De La Hoya is guaranteed $25 million, plus a portion of the pay-per-view revenue. Arum said Hopkins is guaranteed $10 million, plus a portion of the pay-per-view revenue.
The Top Rank president also said he is hoping the fight pulls in 1.7 million pay-per-view buys at $54.95 a pop, which would make it the most lucrative non-heavyweight fight ever, surpassing the 1.4 million buys De La Hoya's 1999 bout with Felix Trinidad garnered (the biggest pay-per-view bout of all-time is the second Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield fight, which generated approximately 2 million buys).
"This will be the biggest payday for both fighters," Arum said. "Whatever Oscar gets, it will be the biggest payday that any non-heavyweight has ever received."
De La Hoya (37-3, 29 knockouts), speaking to reporters yesterday via conference call from his training site in Big Bear, Calif., said it also will be one of his last paydays. De La Hoya, 31, said he'll probably fight one more time after facing Hopkins, regardless of the outcome.
Hopkins, 39, holds the WBC, IBF and WBA belts. De La Hoya holds the lightly regarded WBO belt.
Hopkins (44-2-1, 31 knockouts) has won his last 18 title defense bouts and hasn't lost since a 1993 decision to Roy Jones Jr. at RFK Stadium.
"It will be a challenge like no other," De La Hoya said. "This is the fight of my life."
-- Mark Schlabach