Canelo, De La Hoya trade verbal blows at presser

LAS VEGAS — Canelo Alvarez, boxing’s top star, and his former promoter, Hall of Fame boxer Oscar De La Hoya, engaged in a heated verbal exchange at a Wednesday news conference ahead of Alvarez’s undisputed super middleweight championship defense vs. Mexican countryman Jaime Munguia on Saturday.

Golden Boy Promotions CEO De La Hoya, Munguia’s co-promoter, instructed Alvarez from the MGM Grand dais to “put some f—ing respect” on De La Hoya’s name, a response to the bad blood between the pair that’s simmered since their 10-year promoter-fighter relationship ended in 2020.

“Yes, I’ve been to rehab several times,” De La Hoya said. “Yes, there were some really low points in my life. And yes, there were times that work was not my priority based on my mental health, which I had neglected for so long. But that doesn’t change the fact that Golden Boy built Canelo over this period.”

Then De La Hoya did his best to poke Alvarez by mentioning his positive test for the banned substance clenbuterol ahead of his 2018 rematch with Gennadiy Golovkin.

Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) seethed, jumped up from his seat and unleashed a tirade of expletives at De La Hoya as chaos ensued on the stage.

“This idiot, this [guy] here to my left, try not to forget that I was already ‘Canelo’ when I came to the United States and that he only profited from my name,” said Alvarez, whose first name is Saul but is now usually referred to as the mononym Canelo. He never lost a single cent, but instead made money. Have you already paid Golovkin what you wanted to steal from him?”

Alvarez, 33, was referring to GGG’s lawsuit against Golden Boy that was filed in March 2022 seeking upward of $3 million, money owed from that rematch with Alvarez. De La Hoya told ESPN later Wednesday, “We paid him everything he’s owed.”

“When pay-per-view numbers come in, money comes in from the cable operators and it takes time,” De La Hoya said. “And as the monies were coming in, I was paying Golovkin and that’s it. No discrepancies whatsoever.”

De La Hoya told ESPN that he’s “definitely going to sue [Alvarez] for defamation.”

“I’m going to defend myself when somebody’s speaking negative about me and that’s what I did,” he said. “This was my perfect moment to let him know how I feel. It felt so good. Finally — I was just holding my tongue for all these years — and finally I can f—ing tell him in his face, put some f—ing respect on my name.”

De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions signed Alvarez in 2010 when he was a 20-year-old prospect from Mexico and helped to build him into a star in the U.S. But the relationship between promoter and fighter eventually deteriorated, and ended when Alvarez sued De La Hoya and Golden Boy in 2020, alleging breach of contract among other claims.

Alvarez, ESPN’s No. 4 pound-for-pound boxer, has competed eight times since he parted ways with De La Hoya, and Wednesday was the first time they shared a stage during a fight week since November 2019. Apparently time has done little to soothe the rift between the current face of boxing and the former top star in the sport.

“If I hadn’t involved my lawyers, you would steal [money] from me,” Alvarez told De La Hoya. “The only thing this man does is be a scourge of boxing. Steal from boxers. For whoever is with him, please contact your lawyers, because he is surely stealing from you. It’s the only thing he comes to do in boxing.”

“You know who your daddy is,” De La Hoya responded.

“And the only thing he comes to do is steal attention from Jaime Munguia,” Alvarez said, “he doesn’t come to promote him.”

Munguia (43-0, 34 KOs) laughed all the while. The 27-year-old and Alvarez have shown each other plenty of mutual respect, and Wednesday’s proceedings didn’t do anything to change that, Canelo told ESPN afterward. But Alvarez did admit he’s now found extra motivation with Munguia being De La Hoya’s fighter.

“I’m so anxious to come Saturday night and just win in a fashionable way,” Alvarez said.

Though this sort of promotional fare is typical in boxing, Alvarez said he didn’t like what transpired. But he said when it comes to De La Hoya, “I expect it. … His best fight for Munguia and he tried to steal all the attention from him. It’s sad for his part.”

Said De La Hoya: “I hope Canelo comes into the fight angry.”

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