WITH Canelo-Smith almost upon us, Hall of Famer and show promoter Oscar De La Hoya answers questions regarding the promotion, the qualities of Canelo Alvarez, and the criticism from fans over the failure to make Golovkin-Canelo…
What makes Canelo Alvarez so special?
Oscar De La Hoya: It’s his ability to step into the ring and want to knock you out. He isn’t just a fighter who wants to box and then get on his bicycle. He understands the importance of giving the fans a great fight, it’s in his blood. He wants to go out there and produce a knock-out and perform and put on a good show for the fans.
That appeals especially to Mexican sports fans and also the fans in the US. The UFC is so successful because every time you turn it on there is a knock-out. Somebody has got a broken jaw or something. That’s why it is exciting. That is what Canelo is. He wants to knock you out and if he doesn’t, you will see a spectacular show, a lot of pressure.
He looks Irish!
Can he one day be regarded as the greatest Mexican fighter ever, better even than Julio Cesar Chavez?
He has a chance but we have to wait and see. When all is said and done and everything goes to plan, and stays healthy he can be one of the greatest Mexican fighters.
Do you get nervous when he goes bareback horse riding?
Of course I get nervous. You think about him falling or even the horse falling on top of him. He’s confident , he’s a fighter who wants to live his life and have a good time but yeah, he perhaps should be a bit more careful.
He’s a daredevil. He loves the adrenaline and the rush. He is fearless. That is how he fights – what he does outside the ring with horses and cars -that’s him. That’s why people love him.
Do you regard yourself as a father figure to him?
He stayed with us [Golden Boy] because we do a fantastic job for career . There’s no-one who builds PPV stars like us. I promoted Floyd and Pacquiao, now we have the star in boxing – the PPV star. You can HBO, Showtime or ESPN fighters but there’s only one PPV fighter and his name is Canelo Alvarez.
What is the plan, beat Liam Smith and then move up to middle?
We don’t really know. First thing is first at 154 is to fight Smith, hopefully win. He has to win because if he doesn’t then all the plans go out the window and the train is derailed. We are focused on Smith.
When he gave up the WBC middleweight title, he was criticised by fans from all over the world, including Mexican fans. Why?
When Canelo beats GGG – and believe me he is going to beat him – people are still going to criticise him. The critics are louder than your fans. The unfortunate part about critics is that people listen to them. I always remind Canelo that if there are 1,000 critics you have talking to you or Tweeting, we guess what you’re going to have 70,000 people here in the arena cheering you on and millions watching around the world. Even 10,000 critics doesn’t surpass the number of fans that will be here on Saturday night.
Does he feel the pressure?
No he doesn’t feel it. I’ve never seen it before in my life. He is cool, calm and collected. He loves fighting. With seven brothers and sisters being fighters themselves, i’ve never seen anything like it. He loves fighting and that is another thing that makes him special.
Why Liam Smith?
I think because he is the best 154lb fighter out there. I’ve always said Canelo wants to fight the best and at 154 Liam Smith is the best. He has a good chin, he keeps coming forward, he has a great team behind him. Smith is coming in confident, he is coming in knowing he is going to win. I like that about him. This fight will be fought in the centre of the ring. If Canelo catches him, who knows what is going to happen. If Smith catches him, who knows what is going to happen? They have the strength and power to knock each other out. These guys are real fighters.
What do you estimate PPV sales figures will be for this fight?
I can’t put a number on it but it is going to perform. I always base the numbers on how many tickets we sell and 70,000 tickets means it is going to perform extremely well.
You’ve really sold 70,000 tickets for the fight?
Well, we are going to have 70,000 here. We’ve already sold close to 70,000. Roof will be closed so hopefully we can have a good show.