Oscar De La Hoya has been on both sides of this promoter-fighter split, and it’s not fun to be the one on the losing side.
De La Hoya, who famously bolted Bob Arum’s Top Rank in 2001 and formed his own Golden Boy Promotions, was philosophical Wednesday speaking to Yahoo Sports about his split with longtime star Canelo Alvarez.
Alvarez filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Golden Boy, De La Hoya and streaming platform DAZN that was settled last week with the sides parting ways.
As part of the settlement, Golden Boy released Alvarez from his promotional contract and DAZN relinquished its exclusive rights to broadcast Alvarez’s bouts. DAZN landed those rights in a historic and unprecedented $365 million deal in 2018 that was hailed as the richest in sports at the time.
It’s never good to lose the biggest draw in boxing, but De La Hoya said he’s ready to move on with fighters such as Ryan Garcia, Jaime Munguia and Vergil Ortiz Jr.
And though the personal relationship between De La Hoya and Alvarez had deteriorated to the point that Alvarez refused to acknowledge his presence at the Sergey Kovalev fight in November 2019, De La Hoya was magnanimous Wednesday in a 20-minute conversation with Yahoo Sports.
“I hope he makes more money, way more money, in his next few fights than we had guaranteed him,” De La Hoya said.
Alvarez’s lawsuit contained an allegation that De La Hoya personally guaranteed the money in it, which could have been devastating if that were the case and it was defaulted upon. Alvarez’s suit was seeking $280 million.
De La Hoya called that allegation “a misunderstanding by their lawyers.” But the Hall of Fame boxer, who is training for a comeback in the first quarter of 2021, said he didn’t want to sound bitter.
He said comparisons between when he split with Top Rank and when Alvarez left Golden Boy are understandable, but not accurate.
He said that Alvarez wanted to explore his options.
“As you know, every fighter on the planet thinks the grass is greener on the other side,” De La Hoya said. “It is unfortunate that it had to get to this scenario. [The settlement] worked out for both parties, I believe. There’s no lost love between Canelo and I. I wish him the best. We did a lot of good business together and we promoted some of the biggest fights in the sport together, so how can I be angry?
“It’s a different scenario than my situation with Top Rank. Then, you know, I had a contract that had lasted roughly seven years. At that period of time, I didn’t think the grass was greener. I just thought seven years was enough. Now, in this situation with Canelo, we are in a very difficult time and the marketplace is changing dramatically, and we had this big lawsuit over our heads. I hope everyone involved in it succeeds and can move on. I know we are going to do so.”
He told Yahoo Sports that he’s hoping to develop Garcia, a lightweight, into one of the sport’s top attractions. The unbeaten Garcia was supposed to fight 2012 Olympic gold medalist Luke Campell in a WBC eliminator on Dec. 5, but it was postponed Monday when it was revealed Campbell was positive for COVID-19.
But De La Hoya said Campbell is in the late stages of quarantine and said he hopes the fight will be rescheduled for either Dec. 18 or Dec. 19.
He said he didn’t think there would be any issues with Garcia despite the face that Garcia is close with Alvarez and is trained by Eddy Reynoso, who trains and manages Alvarez.
Garcia and De La Hoya have had their share of differences, too, but De La Hoya said the relationship is in a good spot now.
“I think Ryan said it best when he was talking about the differences we’ve had in the past,” De La Hoya said. “He said, ‘What family doesn’t have differences?’ As long as we fix and repair things, we’ll remain a family and we all want the same thing, for Ryan to succeed and become a superstar in this boxing business.”
He said that while not having Alvarez hurts in one way, it will allow the company to direct its resources toward its other young stars, who in some cases worked in the vast shadow Alvarez created.
Garcia, like De La Hoya, is bilingual and has a multi-faceted fanbase.
“We have some guys who one day could wind up surpassing Canelo,” De La Hoya said. “Ryan is a young guy with a long career ahead of him. He can go on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live,’ he can attract the women and he’s appealing to the next generation of fans. There is a lot of upside for him. He’s on the verge of really breaking through.
“We’ve got a lot of young, very talented world champions now, and we’re going to be able to showcase them in a way we haven’t done before.”
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