Wednesday, February 08, 2023  |



Oscar De La Hoya mulls Mares-Santa Cruz, Khan-Guerrero

Photo by Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

Photo by Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

Care to see Abner Mares against Leo Santa Cruz, or Amir Khan opposite Robert Guerrero?

Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya would.

“Leo Santa Cruz is coming off of a good fight, and Abner Mares is coming off of a tough fight,” De La Hoya told on Monday. “And they’re both ready to step up. The same goes for Amir Khan and Guerrero.”

Santa Cruz (27-0-1, 15 knockouts) crushed rival Manuel Roman in the second round on Sept. 13 in defense of his WBC junior featherweight belt, and Mares (27-1-1, 14 KOs) survived a cut over his left eye to outpoint Jonathan Oquendo in a 10-round featherweight fight in July.

A three-division titlewinner, Mares was back in action for the first time since being knocked out in the first round by Jhonny Gonzalez in August of last year.

Former titleholder Eric Morel is a common opponent, having lost by unanimous decision to Mares in April 2012 and by fifth-round knockout to Santa Cruz in September 2012.

“I want to see Leo Santa Cruz fight Abner Mares. There’s no other fight that could made of interest unless we can strike a deal with (Guillermo) Rigondeaux,” said De La Hoya of THE RING 122-pound champion and holder of the WBA and WBO belts. “I would love to see Leo Santa Cruz against Abner Mares at The Staples Center here in Los Angeles. I would like to see that early next year.”

Khan (29-3, 19 KOs) and Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KOs) are each coming off big wins.

Khan dominated former titleholder Luis Collazo, a southpaw like Guerrero, by unanimous decision in his 147-pound debut in May. Collazo represented Khan’s third consecutive victory.

Guerrero, who, like Khan, ended a 13-month ring absence, unanimously decisioned Yoshihiro Kamegai in a toe-to-battle in June.

“A great venue for Khan and Guerrero, and maybe where that fight belongs, would be the Barclays Center in New York,” said De La Hoya. “The fans are just amazing at The Barclays Center, and I believe that we can close out the year with a big fight like that at The Barclays Center in December. If not December, then, early next year.”



James Kirkland and Joshua Clottey are strong considerations for a December bout with Canelo Alvarez, said De La Hoya.

Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs), 24, left Showtime last week for after signing with rival network, HBO, and is being targeted for a return to the ring in December likely in Texas, according to De La Hoya.

“We’re meeting with various parties in New York today, and the final decision will be made,” said De La Hoya. “We’re meeting with all of the Golden Boy staff, and with my partner in Texas, Mike Battah, so we can finalize the venue and the date with HBO.”

The mercurial Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs), 30, verbally agreed to, and then, pulled out of a fight with Gabriel Rosado, according to Kirkland’s manager, Michael Miller.

Kirkland-Rosado was to be hosted at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City in support of the Nov. 8 light heavyweight unification between IBF and WBA titleholder Bernard Hopkins and WBO counterpart Sergey Kovalev on HBO.

Clottey (38-4, 22 KOs) has won three straight fights since falling in back to back fights by split- and unanimous decisions to Miguel Cotto in June 2009 and Manny Pacquiao in March 2010. Clottey, 36, was last in the ring for a unanimous decision in April over Anthony Mundine, who was two bouts removed from a seventh-round stoppage of Shane Mosley in November.



De La Hoya said he is hoping to close the deal for a fight between heavyweight Deontay Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs) and WBC titleholder Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs), who is promoted by Don King.

“I’m looking to talk to Don King today, and, hopefully we can finalize this before the purse bid on Oct. 1,” said Del Hoya, adding that the site of the bout “is up to Don King. He has the champion. So Don King is supposed to give me the offer. That’s what I’m waiting for is an offer.”

WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said in July that he hoped the bout could “take place in November or December at the latest.”



The British Boxing Board of Control has filed a formal protest with the WBO on behalf of Paul Smith (35-3, 20 KOs), loser of Saturday’s spirited bout to beltholder Arthur Abraham (41-4, 28 KOs) by unanimous decision, according to the organization’s General Secretary, Jose Izquierdo.

The controversy stems from the judges wide scores in the fight, which were 117-111, twice, and, 119-109 on that card of Spain’s Fernando Laguna. The WBO’s championship committee will review the report from its ringside WBO supervisor, said Izquierdo.

“We’re just waiting for the supervisor’s report to come in. We had an on-site supervisor there, and we’re awaiting his assessment of the fight, as well as on the performance of the officials,” said Izquierdo. “We are aware of certain fans, particularly the British fans, have been uncomfortable with the outcome…We’ll review the fight and give an educated opinion.”

Among the options are making Smith the No. 1 mandatory for an eliminator against an opponent to be determined from the rankings, the winner of which would earn the right to face Abraham.

“We never overturn decisions. That would create a very dangerous precedent…We can’t overturn fights because fans don’t like it. But there is a formal complaint by the British Board for Smith to be classified as No. 1,” said Izquierdo.

“That’s obviously something that we can do, right now. But he is ranked No. 4, so that would mean going over people who are ranked higher than him. That’s something that we can consider at our discretion against the whole landscape of the division and see what can be worked out.”

In June 2012, the WBO’s five-member panel unanimously decided that Pacquiao should have been awarded the victory over Tim Bradley, winner of a controversial split-decision.

Although the verdict resulted in the WBO’s authorization of a rematch — one that already was in the Pacquiao-Bradley contract — Pacquiao chose a fourth bout with Marquez, who knocked him out.

“We’ve reviewed the Pacquiao-Bradley I fight and the panel of judges decided that Pacquiao should have won the fight,” said Izquierdo. “We made that pronouncement, but that doesn’t mean that we overturned the result of that fight. There are a whole set of possibilities.”

WBO President Paco Valcarcel expressed outrage on his Twitter account on Monday, in particular, at the scoring of Luguna’s card.

“Regarding #AbrahamSmith, I assure you that I review each and every scorecard for WBO title fights,” wrote Valcarcel. “Fernando Laguna screwed up Sat. night.”