Alvarez vs Chavez Jr: De La Hoya fate lies with Canelo
- On May 5 2007, Oscar De La Hoya fought Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas
- The fight between the ‘Golden Boy’ and ‘Money’ was the richest in boxing history
- De La Hoya’s prised asset as a promoter is now Mexican Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez
- Alvarez takes on compatriot and bitter rival Julio Cesar Chavez Jr this weekend
For the ‘Golden Boy’, Oscar De La Hoya, few dates in the calendar carry as much significance as the Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo.
On this weekend, 10 years ago, two boxing worlds collided when he faced the pound-for-pound king, Floyd Mayweather, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The people’s champion against the trash-talking ‘Pretty Boy’; the biggest name in boxing against the heir apparent to his throne; the come-forward aggressor against the defensive master. It was a meeting of two boxing powerhouses united only by their mutual desire to be the best.
On May 5, 2007, Oscar De La Hoya fought Floyd Mayweather at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas
After 12 close rounds, ‘Money’ Mayweather remained unbeaten after winning via spilt decision
A decade on, De La Hoya is promoting Saul Alvarez vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr on Cinco de Mayo
Having faded in the later rounds, De La Hoya lost via split decision. 13 years on from his first world title win, the ‘Golden Boy’ had suffered only his fifth defeat in a glittering 43-fight professional career.
Within days, however, the 44-year-old was ‘ecstatic’. The fight with Mayweather had, it was announced, had smashed previous Pay-Per-View records and was officially the richest fight in boxing history.
Seven months later, he promoted Ricky Hatton’s defeat by Mayweather – the biggest money-spinner in British boxing history until Anthony Joshua beat Wladimir Klitschko last weekend.
Even as his career in the ring came to an end, his promotional pockets continued to deepen. In the ‘Hitman’, Juan Manuel Marquez, ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley, Floyd Mayweather, De La Hoya was working with some of the best — and most popular — fighters on the planet.
In December 2007, De La Hoya promoted Ricky Hatton’s own mega-fight with Mayweather
The Golden Boy used to work with a host of popular fighters such as Juan Manuel Marquez (R)
And 10 years on from his biggest night in the ring, the 44-year-old is preparing to host another Cinco de Mayo mega-fight.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA
Wins: 39 (30 KOs)
The ‘Golden Boy’ won eight world titles in six weight divisions and a gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez meets Julio Cesar Chavez Jr at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday in a bout billed as ‘The Battle for Mexico’.
‘Canelo’ is boxing’s biggest superstar – a ferocious competitor and the new darling of Mexican fight fans. His opponent is the son and namesake of the country’s finest ever fighter. A former middleweight world champion, Chavez Jr’s career has, however, been marred by weight-issues, ill-discipline and accusations of favouritism by the sport’s governing bodies.
It is a fight most expect ‘Canelo’ to win; It’s been labelled a mismatch by many. But it’s a match-up fraught with risk for Alvarez and his predecessor and promoter.
21 years ago, De La Hoya beat an ageing Chavez Sr to usher in a new era in boxing. This weekend, Junior can exact revenge and derail the Mexican-American’s money train.
In 1996, the Golden Boy beat a bloody and ageing Julio Cesar Chavez Sr at Caesar’s Palace
21 years on from their first bout, De La Hoya and Chavez Sr embrace ahead of this weekend
For in the decade between his two May mega-fights, the Golden Boy appeared to lose his golden touch. He split with long-time associates, Richard Schaefer and Al Haymon, and lost many of his finest fighters.
Mayweather, Mosely, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman and Amir Khan all took their business elsewhere, leaving his stable threadbare.
Golden Boy’s only world champions — alongside Canelo — are Jezreel Corrales and Jorge Linares. The latter — a WBA lightweight king — cemented his place as one of the finest fighters on the planet by dismantling Britain’s Anthony Crolla for the second time last month.
The Venezualan could still secure mega-fights against the likes of Vasyl Lomachenko and Mikey Garcia. But his boxing skills have yet to translate into financial-pulling power.
Canelo, meanwhile, is a massive attraction and his promoter is confident this fight can break one million PPV buys and eclipse his clash with Miguel Cotto in 2015.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is supremely popular and Golden Boy Promotions’ most-prized asset
Chavez Jr is a big underdog for this weekend’s clash but a dangerous opponent for Canelo
Defeat for Alvarez would not dent his popularity nor end his career. But De La Hoya has long been accused of protecting his most-prized asset. And any holiday hiccups could delay or even put pay to plans for a money-spinning fight with ‘GGG’ Gennady Golovkin.
The 44-year-old was famed for fighting anyone and everyone during his career. But 10 years on from stepping in with a pound-for-pound king, his handling of Canelo risks souring his reputation.
Once the biggest name in the sport, Oscar De La Hoya’s fate now lies in the fists of the new Golden Boy of boxing.
When Canelo faces Chavez in his own Cinco de Mayo date with destiny, there will be far more than Mexican supremacy on the line.