Wednesday, September 27, 2023  |



De La Hoya Q&A: Golden Boy is ‘getting stronger and stronger’

Fighters Network
Photo by Ethan Miller/Golden Boy Promotions-Getty Images

Photo by Ethan Miller/Golden Boy Promotions-Getty Images

One thing that stands out during any conversation with Oscar De La Hoya these days is optimism, even in what seem to be trying times.

The President of Golden Boy Promotions acknowledges the challenges posed by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and the boxing business in general. He simply insists that his company is succeeding and will continue to do so – no matter what.

For example, he said the process of rebuilding his stable after many of Golden Boy’s most notable fighters left with Haymon is not complete but is moving steadily forward. De La Hoya has a number of stars – including Canelo Alvarez, Lucas Matthysse and now IBF middleweight champ David Lemieux – as well as a long list of younger, developing boxers.

De La Hoya wasn’t happy when he learned his association with Fox Sports is coming to an end – and that the network will work with Haymon – but he is philosophical: “Life goes on.” That will include a new deal with another network, he said.

And, yes, De La Hoya also reiterated that he is seriously considering a comeback at 42 – seven years after he was stopped by Manny Pacquiao. Could it be?

De La Hoya touched on these and other subjects in a lengthy chat with Here’s how it went. OK, as someone who has covered your career since you turned pro in 1992, I’ve wanted to tell the world that Oscar De La Hoya is NOT going to fight again. Am I off base?

De La Hoya: You might be. It’s 50-50. That’s basically it. I’m going to start sparring next week. Then I’m going to sit down with my family, with my kids, and see how they feel about it. I’ll take it from there. You have said that you want to face a big-name opponent in your comeback fight if you return. Why not start with a tune-up fight?

DLH: Sugar Ray Leonard didn’t take a tune-up before the (Marvin) Hagler fight. And we know what happened there. It’s my feeling I can do the same thing. I would want to fight the winner of a fight between Triple-G (Gennady Golovkin) and Floyd Mayweather if they ever fought. That would be ideal.

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images Why do you want to come back?

DLH: The real reason is that I miss fighting the very best. I know I can do it. The last time we saw you in the ring you were stopped by Manny Pacquiao. People are going to say, ‘He can’t do this.’

DLH: I was weight-drained for that fight. That had a huge impact on my performance. I know exactly why fighters today want their opponents to fight at catchweights. You have to fight tooth and nail to lose every pound, every ounce, and it really drains you. It becomes a huge advantage for the other fighter. I would definitely fight at 154. Some people undoubtedly think you’re doing this to drum up publicity.

DLH: I don’t need publicity. Many people ask me – and I’m sure they ask you – how Golden Boy Promotions will survive the competition with deep-pocketed Premier Boxing Champions, Al Haymon’s company. How do you answer that question?

DLH: We’re in this for the long haul. We now have several champions and we’re building more. After the whole fiasco with Al Haymon, all we need is time. We know how to build champions. I’m talking about Danny Garcia, Abner Mares, Leo Santa Cruz. We built Deontay Wilder from zero. It’s just a matter of time for us to build champions. And we have time.

Oscar De La Hoya with Francisco Vargas

Oscar De La Hoya with junior lightweight contender Francisco Vargas (photo by Josh Hedges/AFP-Getty Images)

We’re sticking with what works, just building champions one fight at a time. We’re going back to grassroots.

With everything that took place with Al Haymon, about a year ago, we anticipated it would take us two or three years to get back on track. We’re ahead of the game. We have the guys you mentioned (Alvarez, Matthysse, Lemieux, WBC lightweight champ Jorge Linares, et al.). We’re back to doing championship fights. We’re on the verge of doing the second biggest fight in the history of the sport with Canelo-(Miguel) Cotto.

And I’m excited about the new talent we’re building locally in Los Angeles. Jason Quigley, the Irish middleweight, is really exciting. Everton Lopes is an outstanding fighter. Diego De La Hoya is exciting. Francisco Vargas is almost ready for the world title. We have fighters like Julian Ramirez.

Canelo Alvarez v James Kirkland - Fight Announcement

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Our grand plan is to keep building our young fighters, keep moving them, getting them experience, until they’re ready to fight at the championship level. We have a great partner with HBO. And soon we’ll be announcing another partner that will allow us to showcase our young talent.

We’re moving, we’re moving fast. Isn’t it difficult to compete with the PBC business model of paying networks to showcase fighters?

DLH: If we couldn’t sustain ourself for the next two years, then, absolutely, it would be hard to compete. As long as we’re doing our business, focusing on what we have to do and building champions, we have nothing to worry about. We’re sticking with what works, just building champions one fight at a time. We’re going back to grassroots. It was recently announced that your contract with Fox Sports, an important platform for your fighters, is coming to an end and that that network will soon begin working with PBC. How do you compensate for that?

DLH: It’s a shame that it had to happen this way but we’re basically moving on. Like I said, we have the best brand in boxing. And there are a lot of TV platforms that want to team up with us long term. We’re close to finalizing a deal with another major TV network. We’ll be making an announcement in the next few months, after our contract with Fox is finished.

Is Bob Arum going to survive? Yes. Is Golden Boy going to survive? Yes. We’re getting stronger and stronger. You have to be pleased with the recent Canelo Alvarez-James Kirkland and David Lemieux-Hassan N’Dam fights, which were well received by fans.

Photo by Don Emmert/Getty Images

Photo by Don Emmert/Getty Images

DLH: Absolutely. I believe Golden Boy has the top three Fight of the Year candidates right now: Canelo-Kirkland, Lemieux-N’Dam and Matthysse-(Ruslan) Provodnikov. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re proud of making fights that not only help the fighter build his profile but are also exciting. Lemieux had a tremendous fight. Now it’s on to bigger and better things. Canelo-Kirkland was a modern-day Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns. That’s what people want to see. We’re going to bring back N’Dam and Kirkland too. When you have fights like that, there are no losers. What’s next for Lemieux? I understand you suggested a fight with Gennady Golovkin could happen late next year.

DLH: Lemieux has to make a mandatory defense. We won’t know until later on, in the next few weeks. We’ll see what the IBF decides. Obviously we’re not shying away from a Triple-G clash down the road. First things first, though. And what about Alvarez-Cotto?

DLH: We’re close, very, very close. I’m very optimistic. This is the fight for the fans. How big is it? Oh, boy. This is the biggest fight that can be made aside from Mayweather-Pacquiao. We’re talking a mega-, mega-event. We’ve talked to Las Vegas, to the MGM. The Wynn is very interested. We’re talking to Texas and New York. I think this ranks right up there near Mayweather-Pacquiao. The only difference is you won’t pay $100 (for pay per view) and you’re guaranteed action. You seem so optimistic even in the midst of the rebuilding process.

DLH: Yes, I’m optimistic. Is Bob Arum going to survive? Yes. Is Golden Boy going to survive? Yes. We’re getting stronger and stronger. I can’t speak for other promoters who are feeling the impact (of PBC). As far as we’re concerned, we’re doing better than ever. We were sidetracked for a few months but we’re back on the fast track.