Undefeated welterweight Vergil Ortiz will be the headliner when Golden Boy Promotions returns to boxing in July.
The original plan for Golden Boy was for the highly marketable and telegenic Ryan Garcia to take part in the main event on the Fourth of July. But the two sides were not able to come to a financial agreement. Oscar De La Hoya, the founder of Golden Boy, tweeted about the situation on Monday.
Eric Gomez, the president of GBP, confirmed to ESPN that Ortiz (15-0, 15 KOs), whom many consider the company's best prospect, would be in the main event Golden Boy's first card of the summer. This show will most likely take place at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, and will be streamed on DAZN. Ortiz was scheduled to face Samuel Vargas on March 28 in Los Angeles, before that card was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It's expected this fight will be rescheduled for late July.
As for Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs), Gomez said that "an offer was made to him and his team passed."
"What they offered Ryan was not acceptable," said Lupe Valencia, who advises Garcia. "We can't just accept it if we know it's not reasonable."
On Feb. 14, Garcia knocked out Francisco Fonseca at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, in front of an announced crowd of 10,310. It's clear that Garcia, who has cultivated a huge social media presence, has become a legitimate live draw. But because of the pandemic, fans are not allowed at sporting events for the time being, thus altering the economics of the boxing industry.
"This is the problem -- it's complicated, things are not irreparable right now," Valencia said. "We're going to get through this, but for this particular fight, Golden Boy asked DAZN to do a fight with a limited budget because of the whole COVID thing. My understanding was DAZN was planning to come back in September. Golden Boy wanted them to come back earlier and headline Ryan. My understanding is DAZN agreed to come back earlier with a limited budget.
"Our opinion was that we weren't willing to come back earlier on the limited budget. That's really the gist of it."
Garcia has been quite vocal about his displeasure with the situation. Sources tell ESPN that Garcia was asking for a payday that would be twice his minimum contracted amount, in the neighborhood of $500,000.
Last September, Golden Boy and Garcia were entangled in a bitter public dispute. That was quickly resolved as the two parties agreed to a five-year contract that was hailed by both sides as the most lucrative ever received by a prospect. Since then, Garcia has scored first-round knockouts of Romero Duno last November and Fonseca in February.
Now, they are clashing again.
"I still believe that Ryan did sign the best, most lucrative contract in his situation," Valencia said. "But they asked us to come back and operate on a limited budget. We just weren't willing to do it. So it's not that there's all of a sudden a disagreement about our contract, it's just that they wanted to come back with less money than they would operate with normally. We just decided not to do it."
An industry source who is familiar with the dealings of DAZN said it is the promoters who set the fighters' purses, not the streaming service.
So, when will Garcia perform again? There was a talk of a summer showdown with former three-division champion Jorge Linares, but that seems uncertain.
"It's really up to DAZN, Ryan really wants to fight," Valencia said. "He would love to fight Fourth of July, he would love to fight in July or August. We would hope it's not 'til September. It really depends on DAZN and when they're going to start having their normal budget again. And when that happens, Ryan's the first one that wants to fight."