Oscar De Lay Hoya visited the Daily Mail offices in New York to discuss Saturday's rematch between the unified middleweight champion Gennady & # 39; GGG & # 39; Golovkin and his own fighter, Saul & # 39; Canelo & # 39; Alvarez
Almost a decade after his last fight, Oscar De La Hoya's professional life is still based on struggle.
The boxer-turned-promoter of the Hall of Fame has faced rival executives in the courts, filing an antitrust lawsuit against manager Al Haymon that was ultimately dismissed; he publicly addresses President Donald Trump, a former golf partner whose immigration policies he detests; and before Saturday's pay-per-view rematch between the unified middleweight champion Gennady & # 39; GGG & # 39; Golovkin and the challenger Saul & # 39; Canelo & # 39; Álvarez, De La Hoya has intervened to defend his fighter against accusations of steroid use.
"Yes, he tested positive for clenbuterol," De La Hoya told the Daily Mail of Alvarez, a native Mexican who is coming out of a six-month suspension and flatly denies the use of steroids deliberately. "If they were to test, three quarters of the population of Mexico would test positive for clenbuterol, that's the norm."
De La Hoya's explanation, although much debated, is not novel.
Beef in Mexico is injected with clenbuterol, a steroid often found in inhalers, and even the director of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Dr. Daniel Eichner, agreed that Alvarez's samples were within the range of possible contamination of the flesh. In addition, Mexican soccer has been plagued by positive clenbuterol tests for years.
Certainly, it's not surprising that the founder of 45-year-old California and Golden Boy Promotions is so proactive in Alvarez's defense. For De La Hoya, who has lived a plot of salacious extortion and several sex scandals in newspapers, the conflict is not always avoidable: "A little controversy never hurts anyone."
It was not easy, but Oscar De La Hoya (center) was finally able to negotiate a long-awaited rematch between his fighter, Saul & # 39; Canelo & # 39; Canelo & # 39; Canelo & # 39; Alvarez (left), and Gennady & # 39; GGG & # 39; Golovkin (right)
The middleweight rematch takes place in Las Vegas after the controversial draw last year
Álvarez, whose nickname & # 39; Canelo & # 39; it's cinnamon & # 39; In Spanish and refers to his red hair, he has faced intense criticism for the positive test of steroids. In particular, Golovkin and his coach, the Mexican Abel Sanchez, mocked the scandal in a Nike ad in which you can see the latter eating steak while the ancients trained.
On Thursday, Sanchez added fuel to the fire by saying that the imminent knockout of Álvarez's Golovkin would be a public service for the sport and the Mexican beef industry that he has slandered selfishly.
Gennady Golovkin tweeted a clip of his recent Nike ad, which showed Coach Abel Sanchez eating steak, a reference to Mexican beef, which blamed Saúl & # 39; Canelo & # 39; Canelo & # 39; Canelo & # 39; Alvarez for his positive steroid test.
Such verbal jabs have been a constant since the first fight It ended in a controversial draw, which many analysts believed was won by Golovkin. To add more insults, Sánchez accused Álvarez of having his hands improperly recorded to gain a competitive advantage. (The theme resurfaced before Saturday's rematch since Sanchez has protested the length of the tape that Álvarez will be able to use)
Alvarez, who refused even to take a picture with Golovkin during the freezing press conference on Wednesday in Las Vegas, has not really taken the bait.
"He does not really get involved in any other issue or policy or any kind of controversy," said De La Hoya, who has become obsessed with the accusations, perhaps as a way to promote Saturday's fight.
Only the fact that [Golovkin] He has talked so much and attacked Canelo, he has affected Canelo in a big way, "continued De La Hoya," He's trained as if there's no tomorrow, he's talking about knocking out Triple-G, and I think so. Canelo is really upset with him, I think we're going to see a continuation of the first fight, I think it's going to be Round 13. & # 39;
As a boxer, De La Hoya had a reputation for facing all challenges.
Even in his last years, the former Olympic gold medalist was willing to face champions like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., who were in their best times.
De La Hoya has adopted the same approach to promotion, instigating the controversy whenever he considers it necessary.
Both Gennady & # 39; GGG & # 39; Golovkin (left) and Saul & # 39; Canelo & # 39; Álvarez (right) claimed victory after the first fight ended in a controversial draw. De La Hoya believes that the rematch ends in a coup de grace
If Alvarez (right) can knock out the undefeated Golovkin, De La Hoya (left) believes that would make the 28-year-old native of Mexico the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
To promote a 2017 fight between Álvarez and Julio César Chávez Jr., for example, Golden Boy published an ad featuring Mexican wrestlers crossing and annihilating the border wall proposed by Trump.
TIPS FROM LA HOYA TO ALVAREZ ABOVE GOLOVKIN
Saul & # 39; Canelo & # 39; Alvarez and Gennady & # 39; GGG & # 39; Golovkin fought in a controversial draw in 2017
Retired champion Oscar De La Hoya (39-6) believes his fighter, Saul & # 39; Canelo & # 39; Alvarez (49-1-2), needs to be aggressive with Gennady & # 39; GGG & # 39; Golovkin (38-0-1) if he's going to pull what Las Vegas sportsbooks consider a nuisance. (Golovkin is a favorite of -145, which means that a bet of $ 145 on the native Kazakh would yield a profit of $ 100)
"Canelo has to move forward, throw punches and make him lose, something like, intimidate the aggressor, so to speak," De La Hoya told the Daily Mail. "You have to go out and push back Triple-G. I firmly believe that he can knock him out and that would make Canelo Alvarez the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. "
GGG-Canelo I took place after the show Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor more popular, but less credible. De La Hoya referred to that fight as a "circus"
The fight itself was "an indirect blow to Donald Trump," according to De La Hoya.
"Many people are proud that two Mexican citizens can come to Las Vegas and have such an economic impact on our society," De La Hoya said at the time. (The fight generated more than 1 million PPV purchases for HBO, which translates to approximately $ 80 million in streaming revenue alone)
He is not known as a garbage talker when he boxed, De La Hoya says he prefers to be opportunistic when it comes to using the controversy.
Take the super featherweight vogue that Rod Salka did in April when he used trunks that represented Trump's border wall in a match against De La Hoya's fighter, the Mexican native Francisco Vargas.
Salka, whose trunks read "America 1st" throughout the trash, was knocked out in the fifth and the images that accompany it soon became viral, which provided copious publicity for Vargas on social networks.
"As a promoter, you do not really push for these things, but if it happens, then you do not resist," De La Hoya said.
Ostensibly, De La Hoya's recent reflections on running for president against Trump in 2020 were genuine, and not part of any promotional tactic.
But the fact that he floated the idea while selling a PPV fight is hard to ignore.
"I told Oscar that he would contribute to his campaign if everything for Saturday's fight is on the rise," quipped Tom Loeffler, Golovkin's promoter and one of De La Hoya's main opponents before the fight on Saturday. "Boxing is a lot like politics."
– Really? Come on, the Showtime boxing announcer Jim Gray told TMZ about the possible presidential race of De La Hoya. "I think he's trying to promote his fight."
De La Hoya almost ignited the controversy of the national anthem of boxing, similar to that of the NFL, when he publicly stated that Golovkin requested the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to renounce his native anthem of Kazakhstan, as well as those of Mexico and U.S.
Super feather Rod Salka (left) decided to use trunks that said "America 1st", which also represented the border wall proposed by Donald Trump during a fight against Francisco Vargas.
After the Mexican Vargas knocked out Salka, De la Hoya was excited to see the viral video
"It was as if they wanted to simply sabotage the whole event and not fight against Canelo," said De La Hoya. "National anthems are something of pride and when someone is watching TV, pay-per-view, you listen to national anthems and you know it's a great event."
Loeffler has emphatically denied that such a request has taken place.
The newest target is the UFC, Dana White's popular mixed martial arts promotion, which De La Hoya feels has paid little to his fighters.
"I'm tired of listening to fighters who are free agents talking about how little [they’re paid]"De La Hoya said," When you are a fighter and you risk your life in the ring, you must be treated fairly. "You should receive fair compensation.
De La Hoya now promotes MMA through Golden Boy and has publicly told UFC fighters to contact them if they are not happy with their compensation.
But even though De La Hoya is already promoting a forthcoming rematch between former UFC stalwarts Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, his real focus remains boxing, an increasingly lucrative sport that outperformed the MMA in pay-per-view sales. per-view last year.
Oscar De La Hoya was near the end of his career when he lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2007
De La Hoya is proud of his willingness to face every challenge, just as he did in 2008, when he faced Manny Pacquiao, who was at his best, during the last bout of his career.
"Boxing has returned in a very strong way," said De La Hoya.
Oscar De La Hoya earned his nickname, Golden Boy, in 1992, when he won a gold medal at the Summer Olympics.
For a sport that is flooded with clichés, the question of whether boxing is "back" stands out as particularly trite. The elaborate discussion is subjective, harassed by the perspectives of taxpayers, and inevitably leads to a nostalgic reminder of a previous era.
However, the mere fact that Álvarez and Golovkin meet again, a year and a day after their first fight, is a sign that the sport is more functional than a few years ago.
In other sports, an annual recurrence of this type is expected. But boxing lacks a unifying governing body that forces the best fighters to face each year.
Not even months of controversial negotiations or the four-month delay following Álvarez's positive steroid test could prevent a second installment in what could become a trilogy. (& # 39; I'd love to see five [Golovkin-Canelo fights]", joked De La Hoya." Why not? & # 39;
A single fight with two established pay-per-view stars is a big difference from the kind of short-term charges that fans expected.
De La Hoya has exchanged verbal blows with Tom Loeffler (right), promoted by Gennady Golovkin
The nickname of Saul & # 39; Canelo & # 39; Alvarez means cinnamon & # 39; in Spanish, and refers to his red hair
His first fight took place immediately after that fight: the most popular, but least credible show Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor.
"I always said that McGregor is not a boxer," explained De La Hoya. "For me it was quite a show and it was a circus."
In total, 4.3 million pay-per-view purchases were made and many millions more were seen in August 2017, as Mayweather easily improved his record to 50-0 against an MMA star he had never professionally boxed. In the history of PPV fights, only Mayweather's tedious 2015 victory over an injured Pacquiao sold more units.
Like many in boxing, De La Hoya considered Mayweather-McGregor a show. In the end, the fight sold more than GGG-Canelo I, but the & circus & # 39 ;, as De La Hoya called it, was just good advertising for boxing.
Described by Ben Fowlkes, MMA Junkie columnist, as "curiosity tapped for cash", Mayweather-McGregor was hardly an endorsement for boxing as McGregor's repeated attempts to ensure Mayweather frustrated both casual fans and devotees purists
But according to De La Hoya, who had the challenge of selling GGG-Canelo I in his wake, "it did not really hurt the sport."
GGG-Canelo Still had a respectable purchase of 1.4 million PPV, and the swing swing of boxing has continued during 2018.
While boxers previously hoped to reach premium cable, or even pay to watch, fighters today have a variety of platforms that are now reaching agreements with Golden Boy and its competitors.
Premiere Boxing Champions, the television series owned and organized by Haymon, recently reached an agreement with Fox that is worth more than $ 60 million annually, and a separate multi-million dollar deal to continue showing regular fights on Showtime.
ESPN, which apparently turned its back on boxing a few years ago, now has separate deals with Top Rank, the Bob Arum promotion, and Golden Boy, which also has its own agreement to broadcast events on Facebook.
Other streaming sites that will include boxing regularly include ESPN + and DAZN, an international subscription site overseen by former ESPN president John Skipper, and has a multi-million dollar deal with heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, Matchroom Boxing.
Of course, the Holy Grail of sport is still pay-per-view, a platform that lost its biggest star, Mayweather, but could establish Alvarez or Golovkin as its successor.
Gennady Golovkin has the WBC and WBO middleweight titles, and not only has he never lost, he has never been knocked down
And unlike Mayweather, who had not won by knockout in a decade before his fight against McGregor was mercifully suspended in the tenth round, Alvarez and Golovkin are not trying to win in the judge's scorecards.
In the case of Floyd Mayweather, he is a great champion, he has made history in sports, but his fights, you must admit, are boring
The pair has a combined knockout rate of around 75 percent, compared to Mayweather's 54 percent, and De La Hoya believes that it is that unpredictable power that makes GGG-Canelo truly hold.
"In the case of Floyd Mayweather, he is a great champion, he has made history in sports, but his fights, you have to admit, are boring," said De La Hoya. & # 39; They are not full of action. Now, with Canelo and Triple-G … if there is a knockout, I think boxing can come back in the most important way & # 39;
With multiple convictions of domestic violence and aggression in his name, the indisputably arrogant Mayweather had a commercial advantage over Alvarez and Golovkin: their fights always had a villain.
"Boxing sometimes needs that rivalry where there is a bad guy and a good guy, a hero and a villain," said De La Hoya. "It worked for Mayweather, where he was the villain and always fights with the good guys."
De La Hoya admits that neither Alvarez nor Golovkin can be villains.
Therefore, instead, he is willing to make a cameo as an instigator, as long as he places his fighter to replace Mayweather as the true and singular face of boxing.
"I firmly believe that [Canelo] can hit [Golovkin] and that would make Canelo Alvarez the best fighter pound for pound on the planet. "
The recording of Álvarez's hands has become an important issue before the fight on Saturday after Golovkin's coach, Abel Sánchez, accused the challenger of trying to gain an illegal advantage.