Canelo Alvarez, left, and Amir Khan face off during a news conference promoting their fight this past May in Las Vegas/Associated Press photo by John Locher
Oscar De La Hoya the promoter has a job to do – pump up the fighters in his stable the best he can. Still, some of his comments Monday regarding Canelo Alvarez were somewhat mystifying. Alvarez on Sept. 17 will challenge Liam Smith of England for his junior middleweight title at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view).
Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) could have instead fought middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in a title-unification bout that would have definitely drawn enormous worldwide interest. Rather, Alvarez vacated his middleweight title. Then Alvarez and De La Hoya announced they won’t consider fighting Golovkin until September 2017 at the earliest.
An HBO-produced blog sent out Monday posed two questions to De La Hoya: What does Canelo have to do for the Mexican fans to embrace him as one of their best? How does
he become one of the best in the rich history of Mexican boxing? De La Hoya responded in what seem to be hyperbolic tones.
“Mexican fighters have long been known for their toughness, their ability to walk through fire, their willingness to take three punches to land a solid shot,” De La Hoya said. “That is Canelo Alvarez.
“There is no doubt that Canelo is today already the biggest boxing star in Mexico and the United States. He is in the process of crossing over as a worldwide superstar, but he will never forget where he came from and the rich boxing tradition of Mexico.”
De La Hoya didn’t stop there.
“Canelo is built from the mold of all-time Mexican greats like Julio Caesar Chavez, Salvador Sanchez and Ruben Oliveras – strong fighters with knockout power that focus
on two things – being the best fighter in the world and putting on a show for the fans,” he said. “And that’s what Canelo will continue to do for the rest of his career.
“Incredibly, he has been embraced as Mexico’s biggest and best boxer for years, despite being only 26 years old, and that’s because the Mexican fans know a true
champion when they see one.”
Well, I just saw a message board that contained nearly 90 comments. The subject was, has a fighter from Mexico ever given up a world title to avoid fighting someone?
Frankly, I don’t know if that has happened before. But it was obvious from the amount of negative comments toward Alvarez, that he is not quite the darling of boxing fans worldwide De La Hoya suggets.
It’s difficult to overcome something that happens in the sequence this did. Alvarez after he knocked out Amir Khan in May declared himself ready and willing to fight Golovkin this fall at 160 pounds. To say he was adamant, would be putting it mildly.
Next thing we know, he’s giving up his belt and saying he won’t fight Golovkin for quite some time. I’m not sure if De La Hoya understands what that kind of flip-flop can do to a fighter’s reputation.
Alvarez is a good man. Clean-cut, the whole ball of wax. But until he fights Golovkin, he’s going to have this hanging over his head.