clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Canelo vs Khan: Oscar De La Hoya discusses the fight, Donald Trump's inspiration

New, comments

Oscar De La Hoya credits Donald Trump with inspiring him to make a fight between the world's biggest Mexican fighter and the world's biggest Muslim fighter.

On pressure for the fighters

"There's always a lot of pressure for a fighter, whether you're from the Philippines, whether you're American, whether you're Mexican, you always have that pressure of performing for the people, for the world. One thing about fighters is that when you step inside the ring, there's no nationality. You belong to the world. They expect for you to perform.

"Amir Khan has a lot of pressure, Canelo has a lot of pressure, especially from his country. The Mexicans expect him to perform, they want him to look spectacular. The history of Mexican boxing is weighing on him. You have the great Julio Cesar Chavez, Salvador Sanchez, and the list goes on and on. As a young fighter, you always want to be the best. There's a lot of pressure. At the same time, that's what they fuel off of."

On the size matchup

"When I actually saw Amir Khan next to Canelo, it validated my point, that this is not a mismatch whatsoever. Amir Khan is bigger than Canelo. When you see him at the press conference, you're going to see the size difference. Amir Khan's taller, he's thicker. Amir Khan said it best: 'This is the weight class where I belong. This is where I feel strong, this is where I feel fast.'

"They're not fighting at 160. They're fighting at 155. This is going to be an advantage for Amir Khan, I believe, because Canelo is a thick guy. He has thick legs, a thick neck. But the fact that he has to stick around at 155, I think is gonna be a big advantage for Amir Khan."

On the fan response for the press tour

"It's been amazing. It's been incredible. The response we had in the UK was amazing. New York was incredible. Here in LA, I can't wait to start the press conference. I have to thank Mr. Trump for this. I have to thank Mr. Trump for giving me the idea of putting this fight together. You have the biggest Mexican fighter on the planet today, and one of the most popular Muslim fighters in Amir Khan, who's from the UK. I mean, shit, this is like a dream come true for Mr. Trump.

"It's the biggest fight of this year. Fight fans will tune in. Casual fans will tune in. The brand new arena, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Cinco de Mayo weekend. We've already put the order in, bring in extra Tecate beer. The fans are going to be thirsty that weekend."

On "taking back" Cinco de Mayo weekend

"If you take a look at it carefully, we've always had that weekend. I promoted I believe 10 of Mayweather's fights. So Golden Boy has always had that weekend. I believe it was the last couple of fights that Mayweather went off on his own, I believe it was to promote the Pacquiao fight and the Berto fight. But it's been a tradition, starting with Julio Cesar Chavez and then myself and now Canelo.

"It's a special weekend. People love going to Vegas. People love watching fights. People love going out there and gambling and drinking and having a good time in Las Vegas. Was it important for us to -- I don't want to say 'reclaim,' but to stage this event of this magnitude on this weekend was very important."

On opening T-Mobile Arena

"It's gonna be like no other night in boxing. I remember when I fought at the Staples Center and we were opening up that arena, me and Mosley, and we fought in front of 20,000 people. The excitement, the anticipation, just because it was a brand new arena, the fight sold itself. With this arena here, right in the heart of Las Vegas, state of the art arena. People are really excited to see what it's all about. It's a beautiful arena. It's made for boxing, made for concerts, specifically made for sporting events. We're really proud to have Canelo and Amir Khan headlining the very first sporting event in the history of this arena."

On Canelo possibly considering a lesser fight

"One thing about Canelo is he wants to continue fighting the big names, the difficult challenges. Did Canelo have to fight Trout or Lara or Mayweather at a young age? He's a stubborn fighter. He wants to take on the best. He wants to have a great résumé in his career. Amir Khan is at the peak of his career. Who fights fighters at the peak of their career? It's unheard of these days. Canelo Alvarez wants to go up against the very best.

"People keep asking 'Gennady Golovkin, Gennady Golovkin.' It's going to happen. There's no doubt about it. It's going to happen. Just give it a little bit of time and it's going to happen. That's just who Canelo is."

On trying to hold Canelo back at times

"I made a mistake in letting him take the Mayweather when he was 21 or something. That's not going to happen ever again, let's put it that way. Canelo is right now heading into the peak of his career. Maybe he's not even scratching the surface. But he's 25 years old, he's entering his man strength, and the aspirations that Canelo has are to be great. To be great, you have to face the tough challenges. Whether you win or lose, you have to face the tough challenges."

On the surprise factor of the Canelo-Khan announcement

"I'm telling you, I was watching a debate with Donald Trump, and he gave me the idea. I was thinking to myself, 'How can I shock the world? How can I create some excitement? How can I have people scratching their head and thinking, wow, this fight? OK, OK.' And sure enough, we made news around the globe with this event. People are talking about it. You should see the frenzy in Europe, it's incredible.

"It's the fact that you have the most popular fighter in Amir Khan and the most popular fighter in Canelo, you have the biggest event on May 7th."

On keeping the talks a secret

"I used one of those Donald Trump sayings. 'If anybody speaks, they're fired.'"

On promoting Canelo Alvarez

"It's a real true pleasure promoting a professional. He's young, but he gets it. I remember when I was 25 years old, I didn't get it. I didn't understand. I was a professional, I trained hard, but I had a life outside of boxing when I didn't train. I loved going out with friends. Canelo's, like, he's with his daughter. When he's not training, he's taking care of himself, he's thinking boxing. This guy's a professional. It's a real true pleasure."

On giving Canelo advice on mistakes Oscar made

"He knows all that. I've discussed that with him. You only get one opportunity. Us as fighters, we have a short window of opportunity, and we must take advantage of it."

On Khan saying his fans will be loudest on fight night

"We have our hands full, let me tell you. When we were in Europe, they came out like there was no tomorrow. They came out. The legions of fans he has in the UK were incredible. I'm sure a lot of UK fans are gonna cross the pond here and support Amir Khan. It's gonna be very interesting. It's going to be one of those events you just don't want to miss."

On talks of a Canelo fight at AT&T Stadium

"We never even discussed GGG and Canelo. We discussed other -- we talked about having Canelo in Dallas, but we also talked about (Jerry Jones') new training facilities that he's building in Frisco, Texas. He's building a stadium that's going to hold about 12,000 people, so I was talking to him about maybe taking some HBO fights down there. Possibly taking the likes of Vargas vs Miura part two, fights like that.

"I told him we can discuss the bigger picture on May 8th, because Canelo has a dangerous fight coming up on May 7th."

On Canelo-Khan / Chavez-Randall comparisons

"Who would have ever thought? Who would have thought Frankie Randall would have beaten Julio Cesar Chavez? You never know in boxing. That's the beauty of the sport. Frankie Randall had a record -- he couldn't kill a fly. He didn't have no power whatsoever, and he ended up dropping and beating Julio Cesar Chavez. I think it was that fight that solidified my thinking, that in boxing there is no underdog. In boxing, everybody has a chance."

On the undercard

"We're working on some really good fights. I believe we're close to nailing down the co-feature, which would be Matthysse vs Herrera, which is a great fight. It's a sink or swim fight for both guys. We have 'King Kong' (Luis Ortiz) fighting this Saturday. If he gets past (Tony) Thompson on HBO, then we can talk about putting him on the card. One of the most avoided heavyweights in the sport today, he's always exciting to watch. So we're working on a few things. We have a few tricks up our sleeves."

On fighters going up in weight successfully

"Whenever somebody tells me about a lighter guy going up in weight, I instantly think about Pacquiao retiring me after the ninth round. I think about Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler. The list goes on and on. These smaller guys coming up in weight are just guys who are courageous and believe in themselves and want to take the risk. That's what makes them great."

On how Khan can complicate things for Canelo

"Footwork, speed, punches in bunches, in and out. If you take a look at Miguel Cotto, he didn't throw combinations and keep Canelo busy. Khan can keep Canelo busy throwing punches in bunches and moving side to side. Canelo has to be prepared. He has to do his homework. This is not a walk in the park."

On what he would say to Donald Trump

"I have a ringside ticket for him. Front and center. And thank you for making the fight. Thank you for inspiring me to make the fight."