IN a frank discussion with the UK media, Golden Boy boss and legendary fighter Oscar De La Hoya opened up about the history of the Canelo-Golovkin rivalry, the making of the showdown, Canelo’s chances of winning and looks back on his own thrilling ring career.
Do Canelo and Golovkin need each other for their legacy?
Yes, exactly. I agree 100 per cent. There are fighters who need a good dancing partner, Canelo against Golovkin will go down in history for many years to come. It will be talked about for many years, just like Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler is still being talked about, Sugar Ray Leonard with Hearns is still being talked about. These are the fights that make it all worthwhile as a promoter.
Do you think Canelo-Golovkin will be on that level?
Absolutely. I strongly believe this fight will be on that level. Both guys know going into this fight that they are in the hurt business. They are in the fight business, they are not in the whole money business. They are not thinking about it. Yes, the prize at the end of the fight, at the end of the tunnel is the purse, is the money, but they know they must fight hard and with everything they have because they have so much passion for the game and they respect the fans.
We waited a long time for Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao and that was too late, and we’ve waited a long time for this one. Is the timing right?
The timing is perfect. Somebody asked me why this fight wasn’t made three years ago, Canelo was fighting at welterweight three years ago [Canelo was actually at super-welterweight]. Golovkin has been fighting at middleweight all his life. A fighter like myself who has experienced six weight divisions, you have to grow into the weight and let your body naturally grow into it. Just last year Canelo was fighting at super-welterweight against Liam Smith. It is actually surprising it got made this fast. Now that Canelo has moved up to 160lb, he is fighting the very best guy instead of taking someone else like David Lemieux or [Billy Joe] Saunders. He is taking on Golovkin. This is a perfect timing because boxing needs it. This is the fight that boxing needs. What I visualise in my head is a great fight that is only going to help boxing.
Show how good fight is that we are only talking about how good fight is and not how much money they’re going to earn?
That is not what boxing is all about. Boxing is all about the fight, it’s not all about the business and the money. That will come. Every time there is talk about the money, the gate and this and that – what happens? The fight is terrible. You know who I’m talking about. I love talking about the fight, I love talking about the two fighters who are going to display all their skills on the line and give us an explosive fight. I’m going to call this fight eight to nine rounds of hell for both guys. It’s going to be difficult for both guys.
Golovkin might be too big?
If he is then so be it. This is what Canelo wanted. This is what boxing needs and if Golovkin is the bigger man then guess what? Then Canelo better step up his game and fight even harder. That is good for us as fans.
Remember your fights when you knew you were going to go toe-to-toe?
Oh yeah, it was fun because I always went inside the ring with a mentality that ‘I’m going to get hit anyway so I might as well go out on my shield’. There are several that stand out. When I fought Fernando Vargas [above], I fought the bigger guy, the stronger guy, you’re going to get hit anyways so you might as well go out there and try to put on a great show. They say you’re as good as your last fight and whoever wins this fight and in a spectacular fashion and will be considered the best pound for pound fighter.