Oscar De La Hoya addressed several subjects during a Friday night interview with RingTV.com.
The Golden Boy President spoke about taking the helm of his company in the wake of former CEO Richard Schaefer’s resignation, tonight’s 155-pound clash between Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara, and the future as it relates to powerful adviser Al Haymon and his renewed relationship with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
The Alvarez-Lara card, which takes place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Showtime Pay Per View, has a featherweight co-feature matching three-division titlewinner Abner Mares and Jonathan Oquendo, two-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Lopez against rival Francisco Vargas in a junior lightweight fight, and junior welterweights Mauricio Herrera and Johan Perez.
Also, as part of Showtime’s countdown broadcast preceding the four pay per view bouts, WBO bantamweight titleholder Tomoki Kameda will make a defense against Pungluang Sor Singyu.
“We’ve been working day-in, day-out, and I’m having fun with i,” said De La Hoya, 41, who is in his first stint as an event’s lead promoter since he left rehabilitation for substance abuse. “It’s fun work, easy work, and when you enjoy something you love doing, it’s not work at all. I’m in a time of my life where responsibility is what I have to adapt to. I’m having the time of my life, right now.
“I have, now, the strength and the courage to be the responsible person that I deserve to be. Really, it’s coming from…I can’t do this by myself. I’ve tried doing this by myself practically all of my life, and the fact that I have a higher power that I can always count on, that’s really given me the strength to never be afraid of making decisions and believing in what I believe in.”
On Thursday, hours prior to the final press conference for Alvarez-Lara, Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced his Sept. 13 rematch with Marcos Maidana, whom Mayweather defeated by majority decision on May 3. It was also announced that Golden Boy would promote the fight.
“I wasn’t expecting to promote the next Mayweather fight on Sept. 13. I was just like everybody else who was speculating,” said De La Hoya. “I was just like everybody else, hearing the rumors that Mayweather was not going to work with Golden Boy anymore. I was pleasantly surprised. But at the same time, I was optimistic that Mayweather would make the right decision and make us partners.”
Below is the rest of the Q&A interview.
RingTV.com: How was that moment when Mayweather announced that he was fighting Maidana just hours prior to the final press conference for the Alvarez-Lara fight?
De La Hoya: You know, to tell you the truth, I didn’t know that he made an announcement until I read about it. I didn’t. I’m so focused and I’m in the zone with this amazing event that we’re having on Saturday night.
It obviously feels like a huge event that we’re going to witness tomorrow. To be part of it and to be right there in the center of everything, it feels like this is where I belong and this is what I was born to do.
It feels like second-nature. I really did think that promoting was really difficult, but putting on major events doesn’t take a rocket scientist. I mean, we’re going to have one of the most successful pay per view events of this year.
We have a sold-out arena, and we’re tracking pay per view numbers better than Miguel Cotto-Sergio Martinez, and better than Canelo-Alfredo Angulo. Canelo is here, and he’s a superstar. It’s really gratifying to know that I have a more than capable team that is loyal to me and that believes in me, 100 percent.
RingTV.com: How is it promoting a Mayweather event given the animosity that has existed in the past, and doing so without Richard Schaefer being on board?
De La Hoya: Well, it’s a mutual understanding that Golden Boy is a machine, and Golden Boy is the No. 1 promoter in the world today with an infrastructure that is the best one, bar none. In terms of the executives that we have within the company, and in terms of the sponsorships that we bring to the table, like our great sponsors, AT&T and O’Reilly and Corona, who are actively promoting every single Golden Boy event.
We’re proud of what we’ve built, and everybody in the boxing industry understands that in order to have and stage a major boxing event, that Golden Boy has to be front and center.
RingTV.com: Would you characterize it as a Golden Boy Promotion or a co-promotion with Mayweather Promotions?
De La Hoya: Look, obviously, it’s no secret, because it’s been written about, that Mayweather Promotions does not have a boxing license in Nevada, and Golden Boy Promotions is in the promoting business, and we mutually agreed upon promoting another blockbuster event Sept. 13.
RingTV.com: Was that arrived at by an approach by Mayweather to you, or was it a situation similar to when you went to Top Rank’s Bob Arum and settled your differences?
De La Hoya: Well, look, I wasn’t expecting to promote the next Mayweather fight on Sept. 13. I was just like everybody else who was speculating, just like everybody else was hearing the rumors that Mayweather was not going to work with Golden Boy anymore. I was pleasantly surprised. But at the same time, I was optimistic that Mayweather would make the right decision and make us partners.
RingTV.com: Was there a face-to-face, or a call from him? How did it happen?
De La Hoya: The negotiations were by my matchmaker, Eric Gomez. He’s handling them. He spoke to Al Haymon and has been speaking with Leonard Ellerbe. But, ultimately, it was a negotiation, and obviously, I make the final decision, and here we are.
RingTV.com: Do you expect to continue to promote Al Haymon fighters, even those who are not under contract with you?
De La Hoya: I’m in the business of promoting, and as far as I know, I’m promoting Golden Boy fighters. Maidana is under contract with Golden Boy.
We have several events that are coming up that include Golden Boy fighters. So, me, as a promoter, it’s my obligation to my fighters who are signed to Golden Boy, to keep them busy.
RingTV.com: If Abner Mares wins a difficult fight, how do you see him and other fighters of yours benefiting from your union with Arum?
De La Hoya: Look, like I said, I’m in the business of promoting and of getting the best fights for my fighters who are under Golden Boy. Abner Mares can benefit from Golden Boy working with Top Rank.
Boxing also benefits and the fans benefit from Golden Boy working with Top Rank, and my obligation as the promoter is to give my fighters the opportunities that they deserve, so I’m very optimistic that, eventually, the Cold War will end for the sake of the sport.
RingTV.com: So how do you see the fight going between Alvarez and Lara?
De La Hoya: I will tell you one thing, and that is that I asked Canelo after the weigh-in if he was ready. He looked at me, and I’ve never seen this look in his eye, but he looked at me, and he told me, “Oscar, you watch, I’m going to punish him.”
He looked at me with this look in his eyes that I’ve never seen from him. Not that Lara got under his skin, but he attacked Canelo, personally, and he attacked his countrymen. To Canelo, that’s very personal.
So what Lara has done to Canelo is taking Canelo to a whole new level. In terms of having that fire, and that focus, and that determination. I’m telling you, I’ve never seen Canelo react or act this way.
He has that fire in his eyes that I’ve always been waiting for, and come Saturday night, I believe that people are in for a special treat. The odds are 2-to-1, so it’s not like it’s 10-to-1, or, 11-to-1. The betting odds are close.
I stand behind my fighters 100 percent, and I’m with Canelo, 100 percent. May the best man win, may we have a great fight, but obviously, it’s no secret that I’m with Canelo, 100 percent.
Note: According to reports citing the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Alvarez and Lara will earn $1.5 million and $1 million, respectively, Mares and Oquendo will earn $400,000, and, $50,000, and Lopez will take home $125,000 to $75,000 for rival Vargas, and Herrera and Perez will pocket $125,000 and $100,000.