Oscar De La Hoya makes astounding claims that contradict statements previously made regarding Conor McGregor’s potential foray into boxing.
De La Hoya is rightly regarded as one of the greatest boxers from the mid 90’s to mid-2000’s and has a resume of the highest calibre. An Olympic gold medallist for the U.S in Barcelona ’92, De La Hoya would go on to world titles in six different weight classes.
“Golden Boy” faced the best of the best in the sport, including Pernell Whittaker, Julio César Chávez, Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley and Félix Trinidad, among others. The Mexican-American pushed potential Conor McGregor opponent Floyd Mayweather close in 2007, before ending his career on his stool against the rampaging Manny Pacquaio in 2008.
It is fair to say that De La Hoya understands a thing or two about boxing. Currently a promoter, De La Hoya represents some of the finest in the sport, including flame-haired pugilist and golden boy of “Golden Boy”, Saul “Canelo” Álvarez. At the end of last year, following months of speculation involving a bout between McGregor and Mayweather Jr., De La Hoya suggested that “The Notorious” should join Golden Boy’s ranks as a boxer. The promoter told Fight Hub TV upon learning that the UFC lightweight champion had obtained a Californian boxing licence:
“If Conor is serious about fighting – first of all, I would love to talk to him and promote him. I mean, imagine Conor McGregor and Golden Boy coming together.”
De La Hoya also stated that there would be a future for McGregor in boxing and that the real fight to be made would be between the Dubliner and “Canelo”:
“The only fight I would love to see, and this is the one that makes the most sense, that would be the most exciting, that would be a guaranteed knockout, is against ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. And they’re in the same weight class. So it makes all the sense in the world. So imagine. 154[lbs]. 160. It would be at 160 actually.”
“It would be a hell of a fight, that’s for sure.”
It is hard to see any room for misinterpretation in the former boxer’s words. In fact, the statement above is about as unambiguous as you can get. It appears that somewhere in the last few months, De La Hoya has completely changed his mind, and now finds the idea of McGregor boxing “a joke” and “an embarrassment”. The promoter told Sky Sports:
“Boxing is boxing and MMA is MMA,” De La Hoya said. They’re two separate sports. It would be a joke, it would be an embarrassment for boxing if an MMA fighter were to go into the ring, it would be a no contest. It would be the same thing if a fighter went into the octagon. It would be an embarrassment for MMA.”
“I just feel that these are two separate sports and you have McGregor who is the best at what he does, and you have Mayweather who is the best at what he does. I don’t see this fight taking place, not in a million years. Not only are there safety issues, but if McGregor gets in a boxing ring he’ll get outclassed easily. McGregor has never fought a boxer ever in his life. It’s a whole different sport.”
Oscar De La Hoya didn’t stop there:
“When you cannot kick, when you cannot clinch, when you cannot do the armbar when you cannot choke somebody out and you can only punch, it’s a whole different sport, it’s a whole different discipline. What McGregor should do, in all seriousness, is he should start off by fighting an amateur boxer, win a few amateur fights, maybe go on to win the Golden Gloves.”
“And then when he turns pro he should fight a four-rounder, maybe he’ll get beat, but he should get experience in boxing. Then call out the best. You cannot be calling out a top fighter in boxing right off the bat.”
Promoters: not to be asked for weather reports or directions…