Saturday, April 01, 2023  |



Canelo Alvarez and his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya: Contrasting beginnings

Oscar De La Hoya, flanked by Team Canelo, is upset with the IBF's decision to strip Alvarez of their middleweight title while Golden Boy was in negotiations with the sanctioning organization's mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
Fighters Network

LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez and his famous promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, couldn’t have had more different starts to their careers.

Canelo had his first pro fight in 2005, when he was a mere 15 years old. He stopped a boxer named Abraham Gonzalez (0-1 going into the fight) in the fourth round of a scheduled four-round junior welterweight bout at Arena Chololo Larios in Tonala, Mexico, not far from Canelo’s home in Guadalajara.

His earnings for that fight? Eight hundred pesos, or $45, according to today’s exchange rate.

Canelo has made a lot more money and won acclaim as one of the best fighters in the world since then but some things haven’t changed.

“All of the sacrifices, all the hard training came because I loved the sport,” he said through a translator on Tuesday in Las Vegas. “Obviously, now I make my living in boxing. That came later, though. The first thing for me, before business, is my love and passion for boxing.”

De La Hoya was already a star before he made a dollar. He was the only American to win a gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, which, combined with good looks and a compelling story, gave him a huge head-start when he turned pro.

In his much-hyped debut, De La Hoya, 19, knocked out Lamar Williams (5-1-1) 1 minute, 42 seconds into a scheduled six-round lightweight bout at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

His earnings? $250,000.

“That,” De La Hoya said, “is what a gold medal can do for you.”

Nervous time? De La Hoya was asked whether he had butterflies four days before his superstar tangles with Gennady Golovkin for the middleweight championship at the MGM Grand on pay-per-view television.

If he is nervous, he said, it’s not because of the challenge Alvarez faces. He has confidence in his protégé. Rather, it’s because he passionately wants the fight to be entertaining. If it is, he reckons, the fans will want to see Canelo-GGG II.

Canelo’s response to such thinking? Don’t worry.

“Our styles could make it a fight that goes down in history,” he said when asked whether the fight on Saturday could be this generation’s Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns. “We’re in a different era but, yes, it could go down with fights like that.

“I visualize a lot of punishment from both sides. That’s what I’m prepared for.”

The excitement formula isn’t complicated: Golovkin attacks, Canelo counters. Two pieces of a puzzle that fit together perfectly.

And both of them can punch. Golovkin’s string of knockouts ended at 23 in his last fight, a close decision over Daniel Jacobs. And Canelo, coming off a decision over a bigger Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., has demonstrated that he knows how to take out an opponent.

“He has an aggressive style,” Canelo said of Golovkin. “He comes forward, he goes for the knockout. I counter with strong punches. Those are the ingredients of a great fight.”

De La Hoya concurred.

“I think it could rank among the best fights because of the fighters participating,” he said. “Canelo and Golovkin are the best middleweights in the division by far. And it’s coming at a time when boxing needs this type of fight.

“… Canelo has trained hard. All I know is he’s ready for this fight.”