Back in June, a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic and after Mike Tyson had announced his intentions to get back into the ring for exhibition fights, Oscar De La Hoya said he was also plotting a comeback. In his case, though, he said he wanted to fight for real, and that he wanted to fight big names.
One of the names brought up to him then was Canelo Alvarez, who at the time was still with Golden Boy Promotions. (That is no longer the case.) At the time, Oscar said he didn’t have interest in fighting Canelo, being that De La Hoya wanted to fight at 154 or 160, and that he would otherwise be open to facing top fighters from 147 and 154.
The story is somewhat different now. Canelo, after years of not exactly secret dysfunction with Golden Boy and De La Hoya, got free of his promotional contract in early November. Oscar’s new answer to the idea of fighting Canelo is different, though sort of the same.
“I’ve always prided myself in fighting the very best, and why go after the second-best?” Oscar said to Fight Hub TV’s Marcos Villegas. “Why not go after the guy that beat him? Why not go after (Floyd) Mayweather, for instance, in a revenge fight? That’s something that’s very intriguing. We’ll see how I feel, and then we’ll take it from there.”
“I would definitely think about it,” De La Hoya said of fighting Canelo, “but my eye is on a bigger prize.”
De La Hoya, who turns 48 on Feb. 4 and hasn’t had a fight since his 2008 wipeout loss to Manny Pacquiao, says that his 2007 defeat at the hands of Mayweather does still stick in his craw a bit.
“For any fight that you might have lost or that was close or whatever, it’s always gonna be a thorn,” he said. “I strongly feel that with the way I’m feeling and the way I’ve been training and the way things are unfolding, it could be very interesting.”
Oscar does admit he hasn’t sparred yet, and that he also hasn’t fully committed to a comeback, as he’s looking to be cautious and considered about the idea.
“(Sparring is) the next phase of training,” he said. “I want to make my decision very carefully and think about it after I spar. It’s gonna happen very soon.”
As far as that recent split with Alvarez goes, De La Hoya didn’t say it, but it can’t help but remind one of Oscar’s own acrimonious split with Top Rank many years ago, which led to the formation of Golden Boy Promotions.
“Everything happens for a reason. All I can say is that I wish Canelo all the very best, always. He’s a great champion, and our paths will cross again,” De La Hoya said. “We’re the best at what we do. We’re promoters for many years and we’ve promoted and we’ve promoted the very best and biggest fights out there in the last 20 years. Our paths will cross again, we have no doubt about that.
“There comes a point in a fighter’s life where you think you have to fly away on your own and discover a whole new world. A lot of fighters think that the grass is greener on the other side. We’ll just say that our paths will cross again and I wish him all the best.”
De La Hoya said he tries not to take it personally, and looks back to something his old promoter once told him.
“Bob Arum taught me a very good lesson once, when he was promoting me. He goes, ‘Oscar, I never take anything personal anymore, I’ve been heartbroken too many times by fighters.’
“It does hurt. I’m not a person who is heartless. But you have to know how to separate the business from the friendship and the relationship. It’s just business, that’s all it is.”