Oscar De La Hoya may want to put the past behind him with Dana White, but he seems a little less eager to do the same with Eddie Hearn, a fellow boxing promoter.
Hearn is viewed as a brazen newcomer in the realm of boxing promotion in many ways. Canelo Alvarez sued De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and was released from his contract in 2020, and the chairman of Matchroom Boxing pulled off the biggest career coup by signing him. After that, Hearn staged more Canelo fights with success, but in May, boxing’s biggest star suffered an unforeseen career blow when he lost an unanimous verdict to Dmitry Bivol.
Hearn is criticized by De La Hoya for initiating the fight in the first place.
“It was a lose-lose situation,” De La Hoya said to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.
“Nobody knew Bivol whatsoever. I would have promoted Bivol to get a bigger name, because nobody knew who he was before he fought Canelo. He was irrelevant. He was nobody. We were actually going to face him against [Gilberto] Zurdo Ramirez, but Canelo has a promoter now who doesn’t come from the boxing world. He doesn’t know the fight game, and he got Canelo beat. It was the wrong style. Las Vegas had no buzz whatsoever.”
“I was actually there, sitting ringside, supporting Canelo. Canelo is the superstar of the game right now [and] Eddie Hearn didn’t do any justice to Canelo when he faced him against Bivol.”
The loss of boxing’s biggest star is undoubtedly a bitter pill to swallow and a difficult situation to fathom, but De La Hoya maintains that his contempt for promoter Hearn goes deeper than that. De La Hoya, who competed in six different weight classes and won 11 world championships, was once the most lucrative boxer in history. Additionally, Golden Boy Promotions, owned by De La Hoya, has promoted world champions for 20 years. He claims that Hearn, who succeeded his father as the head of Matchroom Sports but has never fought himself, is ignorant of the nuances of pugilism.
“He’s a character, that’s all it is,” De La Hoya stated. “The business of boxing, to build superstars, to build champions, it takes a lot of strategy, it takes a lot of insight, knowing the fighters, knowing their styles, and that’s one thing I’m an expert at. When I built Canelo Alvarez, when he crossed the border from Mexico at the tender age of 18 years old and I promoted his first fight, we had a vision. We knew exactly what we had in our hands and we built him to be a monster.”
De La Hoya also stated that the next generation, Ryan Garcia and Virgil Ortiz, is exactly what he intended to do, and other promoters are unaware of this. He said that they are unaware of the formula for producing a celebrity. There is a formula that they needed to follow in order to develop superstars. De La Hoya also adds that he has already promoted Mayweather, Pacquiao, and all the other major superstars as he proves his point.
De La Hoya continues his statement. “Look, he’s doing a lot of fights that mean nothing, especially here in the U.S. He might be a good promoter in the U.K., and he’s building European fighters, but that means nothing here in the U.S. I know this is a business and he’s partners with DAZN, and obviously I’m partners with DAZN, but let’s just stay in our own lanes and do our jobs right. Let me focus on the U.S. market and build champions, and boxing will keep on striving for many years to come.”