Golden Boy Promotions head honcho Oscar De La Hoya is surprised and not happy to learn that the odds-makers have already installed Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) as the betting favorite to defeat his guy Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) for their fight on September 16. The Canelo vs. Golovkin fight, which De La Hoya has named “Bombs Away,” was just announced last Saturday night, and the bettors have the unbeaten Kazakhstan fighter as the favorite.
De La Hoya doesn’t agree with that, as he thinks he’s got the better fighter of the two. What’s working against Canelo from being picked as the sure winner in the contest is his lack of size, power and amateur experience. Golovkin is just a bigger and stronger guy, and he hasn’t lost any of his punching power despite him not looking great in his last two bouts against Danny Jacobs and Kell Brook.
“It’s going to be ‘bombs away,’ look at the records,” said De La Hoya to ESPN’s First Take about the Canelo vs. Golovkin fight. “Look at the fighting styles. This is a fight that everyone wants to see, and I made it to happen, so there are no excuses whatsoever. This will be the biggest fight and the best fight that the people can watch,” said De La Hoya.
De La Hoya has been quick to predict that the Canelo vs. Golovkin match will wind up as the biggest fight in the history of boxing. That would be pretty incredible if it did, because Floyd Mayweather’s mega-fight against Manny Pacquiao in 2015 set a pretty high bar in the sport. That was a fight that the boxing public waited 6 years to see. It was a contest between two pay-per-view superstars. Canelo and Golovkin haven’t proven that either of them are a huge PPV draw.
“It’s only been a year and a half since people have been talking about the fight,” said De La Hoya. “I didn’t wait 6 or 7 years to make this fight happen. There was a lot of pressure from the fans. They were speaking their voice, but I had a plan. Now that Canelo got a feel for the weight class at 164 pounds, September was always the target date and it’s finally here, and I can’t wait. It’s going to be a huge event,” said De La Hoya.
It’s true that De La Hoya didn’t make the boxing public wait 6 years for the Canelo-Golovkin fight like Mayweather made the fans wait for him to fight Pacquiao. However, De La Hoya still waited until Golovkin started showing signs of slipping before he made the fight with Canelo. For that reason, it’s a lot of fans think that Canelo is only making the fight with Triple G because he’s seen slippage from him in his last 2 fights with Jacobs and Brooks.
There are a lot of questions whether De La Hoya would still have made the fight with GGG if he was looking as invincible as he had up until last year. De La Hoya was saying that Canelo needed to grow into the middleweight division, and yet he appeared to be well over 170 pounds for his catchweight fights at 155. The pressure from the boxing public that was put on Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions was because they weren’t seeing great fights taking place with the redheaded Alvarez. They were seeing him fight the likes Amir Khan, Alfredo Angulo, Liam Smith, James and Kirkland. Canelo was the clear A-side in all those fights, and the fans saw those contests as mismatches. For that reason, the pressure was put on Canelo to step up and face Golovkin.
“He used to spar with him when he was 21, 22-year-old, and the experience he had was a great one,” said De La Hoya about Canelo sparring Golovkin in the past. “Canelo’s a fast fighter. Canelo says he has a lot of cajoles. What it’s going to take is Canelo going in there and press the action and use his speed and use his defense. He has some great defense. Canelo is a fighter that doesn’t break down. He’s only getting better. He’s getting faster. He’s getting stronger. Both guys are at their perfect moment, primetimes, and it’s going to be a great fight. I can see this fight taking place, shaping up like Thomas Hearns vs. Marvelous Marvin Hagler,” said De La Hoya.
I don’t think Canelo is getting better any longer at this point in his career. I think he’s going to get. He’s reached a plateau in his boxing career. Just how long Canelo stay at this level is the big question, but he’s not getting faster, stronger or smarter. He’s the same fighter that we saw beat Kirkland, Erislandy Lara and Angulo. To know whether Canelo has improved lately, we would have to saw him matched against really good fighters like the Charlos, Golovkin, Demetrius Andrade and Danny Jacobs. De La Hoya hasn’t been in a hurry to match Canelo against any of those guys.
You can argue that De La Hoya has been protecting his cash cow for his Golden Boy Promotions company by not putting him in with GGG. If he’d pu him in with Golovkin a long time ago, Canelo would have still stayed popular even if he’d lost the fight. I don’t think De La Hoya realizes that. There are guys that Canelo can’t afford to lose to, but Golovkin isn’t one of them. He’s popular enough to where Canelo would keep his boxing fan base even if he were to get knocked out. We saw how Canelo didn’t lose fans after his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013. The reason for that is because Mayweather was viewed as one of the best fighters in boxing. Canelo didn’t take a hit in getting beaten by him.
“I have calls in from everybody. As you can imagine, everybody wants the fight. Here in Los Angeles, Dallas Texas with my friend Jerry Jones, obviously, Las Vegas, New York,” said De La Hoya. “So there are several places where people want it. It’s just a matter of placing all those calls and we’ll go somewhere that the fight fits in perfectly, because I do not want the general public experiencing this big event, maybe having 100,000 people. I do want Las Vegas, and people to fly in from all over the world and experiencing Las Vegas. It’s going to be a very difficult decision to make. But ultimately the decision I make has to make sense for the boxing public,” said De La Hoya.
There is a lot of talk that De La Hoya will be placing the Canelo vs. Golovkin fight in Las Vegas, Nevada. With the way that De La Hoya is talking so positively about Vegas, it seems very likely that he’ll put the fight in that city, because it will enable the boxing public to have a lot of things to do before, during and after the Canelo-Golovkin fight. If De La Hoya brings the Canelo-Golovkin fight to Arlington, Texas, it would be nearly as an enjoyable place for the fans in this writer’s opinion compared to Las Vegas.
“Let’s just say this is going to be a real true middleweight fight at 160 pounds,” said De La Hoya in revealing the weight for the Canelo vs. Golovkin fight. “Both guys will fight in 10 ounce gloves. There’s no rehydration weight class clause and all this BS that goes with that. It’s a true middleweight fight at 160 pounds and that’s it. I think a lot of times you have to taste defeat once or twice to grow as a fighter, especially when you’re facing the best at their prime. When you’re facing the toughest challenge they put in front of you, you’re going to lose. That’s just the bottom line. Canelo has tasted defeat from the best fighter in our generation with Floyd Mayweather. He’s learned and he’s grown as a fighter. He’s just getting better, as you can see. In every single fight, Canelo is growing as a fighter. Golovkin, he’s a tough guy. He’s a guy that can take a punch and give you a punch, but other than that what do you have? This fight is going to be very interesting. I think a lot of people are counting out Canelo already. The odds are in favor of Triple G already, so people are counting him out, Canelo. We’ll just have to wait and see,” said De La Hoya.
De La Hoya needs to keep talking about Canelo being the underdog, because if the fans believe that he’s going to lose to Golovkin, then it will setup a situation where Canelo won’t lose so as much respect from the fans when that does happen. As long as Canelo makes it a competitive fight, he can get out of the fight a winner. We saw that happen with Kell Brook in his defeat to Golovkin. Brook gave Golovkin some problems for 4 rounds before being stopped in the 5th. The boxing fans didn’t care that Golovkin ultimately made Brook quit in the fifth round. They still gave Brook credit for being competitive with Triple G.