Oscar De La Hoya: ‘Canelo Alvarez is on a mission to make history’
After defeating Gennady Golovkin in their long-awaited rematch last September, The Ring Magazine/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez signed the richest contract in sports history when he decided to join forces with DAZN for a five-year deal, reportedly set at $365 million over the course of 11 fights. The first was a rout of super middleweight contender Rocky Fielding last December in New York City. The second fight of the deal will take place next Saturday in Las Vegas when the Mexican icon puts his championship on the line against Brooklyn’s Daniel Jacobs, who owns the IBF crown. There’s certainly plenty on the line for both Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 knockouts) and DAZN but no one will be living and dying with each thrown punch as much as Golden Boy Promotions founder and CEO Oscar De La Hoya, when he sits ringside for what he expects will be a tough fight for both men.
“This fight is for middleweight supremacy,” De La Hoya told RingTV.com. “The winner of this fight is the best middeweight in the world. There’s no doubt about it. They both know what’s on the line and I believe they will both come in hungry to win and it will be a great fight.”
Last week the Nevada State Athletic Commission approved three veteran judges to score the bout and Jacobs’ camp breathed a sigh of relief when Adalaide Byrd was left out after word spread she was in the mix to work next weekend. Byrd scored the first Canelo-Golovkin fight 118-110 for Alvarez, causing even De La Hoya to tell reporters he disagreed with her card. The question remains whether Jacobs (35-2, 39 KOs) can get a fair shake in Las Vegas against Canelo, especially after he lost a hard-fought, close decision to Golovkin in March of 2017. It’s a decision he still firmly believes was wrong.
“Anyone can lose in Las Vegas. I lost in Vegas and apparently I was always the favorite,” De La Hoya points out. “Anybody can lose and I would be surprised if Daniel Jacobs is thinking about that because I know what a professional he is. I can tell you Canelo is going in there with the mentality of winning and I expect Jacobs to do the same. Don’t worry about the judges; worry about the fight.”
De La Hoya agreed with a recent statement Alvarez made regarding the upcoming bout with Jacobs possibly being more challenging than Alvarez’s previous two against Golovkin.
“I understand why Canelo feels that way,” De La Hoya said. “Jacobs is a boxer who can move and throw combinations. He is slick and moves well and can fight too. Jacobs is a different style than what Canelo has faced. Canelo knows what he has in front of him and I believe Jacobs knows what he has in front of him. Jacobs is no dummy. I am sure he prepared well but how can you prepare for a complete fighter like Canelo? That’s why I can’t wait for Saturday night for us to see who is the best middleweight in the world.”
Another middleweight who recently signed with DAZN would like to argue the notion that he’s the best middleweight in the world and will be in attendance on Saturday. After signing his own deal with DAZN, Golovkin has set up his comeback fight for June against little-known Steven Rolls, as a tune-up for what he believes will be a third fight with Alvarez in September. Meanwhile Alvarez has publicly stated that he will only fight Golovkin if Golovkin holds a title (which can only the be the WBO belt presently held by another DAZN fighter Demetrius Andrade). At a press conference announcing the bout with Rolls, both Golovkin and his promoter Tom Loeffler denied that they have been told Golovkin must have a belt to get a third shot at Alvarez.
“If Canelo wins on May 4, he will hold all the titles except for one,” De La Hoya explains. “Canelo wants to be the unified champion of the world, which means he has all the belts, so, if Golovkin can win the last belt, imagine how much meaning a fight trilogy between Canelo and Golovkin will have. My thing is, ‘Hey, Golovkin, go win another title and earn your spot again and then we we’ll talk.’”
De La Hoya said it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what Canelo will do, should he get past Jacobs because the possibilities are limitless and fighting Golovkin may not rank high on the list.
“First thing is first and that is May 4,” De La Hoya said. “Canelo told me he can move up to 168 or even 175. That’s how important his career and legacy is. He wants to make history and Canelo has options at 175, 168 and 160, so we will see where we have planned after May 4.”
Unlike when both Alvarez and Golovkin were on HBO, De La Hoya believes being aligned with DAZN allows for broader opportunities for Alvarez, including a long talked about fight in Mexico.
“Yes! The DAZN platform allows us to take Canelo anywhere. Canelo has expressed interest in fighting in Europe and fighting in the U.K.,” De La Hoya explained. “Obviously we can do a homecoming fight for him in Mexico in his hometown (in Guadalajara, Jalisco). He’s even expressed interest in going back to Texas. We have many options but first thing is first. That is May 4, where we have a very important fight.”
De La Hoya has taken pride in proclaiming that DAZN will eventually sunset the pay-per-view vehicle. For a monthly subscription, fans can regularly watch big fights previously only available at a premium cost.
“Look, the numbers show it all. When was the last fight that hit 1 million homes? How about 500,000 homes? It’s been a long time,” De La Hoya points out. “People don’t want to be told what to watch, when to watch it and how to watch it, especially to have to pay $100 for one boxing event. Now you have computers and smart TVs and smart phones and that’s the beautiful part of DAZN. The best fighters on the planet are on DAZN and you can watch the way you want to watch it.”
De La Hoya is proud that throughout their success together, he has never seen Alvarez change any of the critical pieces that made him the superstar he is today. Meanwhile Golovkin made more news recently by announcing his split with longtime trainer Abel Sanchez, who vehemently stood up for Golovkin during both press tours for the Alvarez fights.
“Only Golovkin knows why he’s making these changes,” De La Hoya said. “Maybe he’s not thinking about the fights anymore. Maybe it’s just business, as he nears the tail end of his career. Who knows? One thing is for sure about Canelo: He still has the same demeanor and the same hunger. Canelo is still Canelo and he’s on a mission to be the very best and make history.”
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