De La Hoya: Boxing ‘might not ever recover’ from McGregor vs. Mayweather
Oscar De La Hoya is no fan of the proposed matchup between UFC champion Conor McGregor and retired boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, but he truly believes the fight could be catastrophic to the sport of boxing as a whole.
Mayweather penned a passionate letter about the fight that may be closer than ever to reality as McGregor and Mayweather look to finalize negotiations to put them together in a boxing match later this year.
De La Hoya argues that boxing is just now recovering from the fight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio, and a matchup against McGregor is just a “farce” that might drive the sport back down into a much deeper hole with fans.
“Boxing is starting to dig out of the hole that Floyd and Manny Pacquiao shoveled by waiting seven years to put on a fight that ended up being as dull as it was anti-climactic,” De La Hoya wrote. “2017 has started off as a banner year for boxing. [Anthony] Joshua vs. [Wladamir] Klitschko; [Keith] Thurman vs. [Danny] Garcia; [Gennady] Golovkin vs. [Daniel] Jacobs; Canelo [Alvarez] vs. [Julio Cesar] Chavez. All four of these fights – and many more — have brought the fight game back and reinvigorated interest from the ever-elusive casual fan.
“But if you thought Mayweather/Pacquiao was a black eye for our sport — a matchup between two of the best pound-for-pound fighters that simply didn’t deliver — just wait until the best boxer of a generation dismantles someone who has never boxed competitively at any level — amateur or professional. Our sport might not ever recover.”
De La Hoya believes the mismatch between Mayweather, who is seen as arguably one of the greatest ring technicians of all time taking on McGregor, who has never competed professionally in a boxing match, would be an affront to the sport as a whole.
“Success in one sport does not guarantee success in another. Far from it. And let’s be clear, these are two different sports — from the size of the gloves fighters wear, to the size and shape of the ring, to the fact the one sport allows combatants to use their legs to strike,” De La Hoya said.
“Think about it, beyond Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, what other athlete has successfully competed in two sports in the modern age? And Jackson and Sanders both played both baseball and football throughout their high school and college careers before going professional. Furthermore, it’s not like McGregor would be fighting a good fighter, let alone a mediocre one. He would be fighting the best.”
Of course, De La Hoya also answered the inevitable criticism about the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight because he’s also promoting another massive boxing match later this year between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.
De La Hoya says his argument against McGregor vs. Mayweather has nothing to do with his own vested interest, but instead his passion for the sport of boxing.
“My interest is in the health of boxing as a whole. It always has been. And if Floyd were to come out of retirement to take on someone like Keith “One–time” Thurman, Errol Spence or some other top welterweight, not only would I applaud the fight, I’d be the first one on line for a ticket. That kind of fight is what the fans — and I am a fan first — deserve. Which brings me back to the circus,” De La Hoya said.
“Floyd’s and Conor’s motivation is clear. It’s money. In fact, they don’t even pretend it’s not. But it’s also a lack of consequences for when the fight ends up being the disaster that is predicted. After this fight, neither of them will need us anymore. Floyd will go back to retirement — presumably for good this time with another nine-figure paycheck — and Conor will go back to the UFC. It’s a win-win for them. It’s a lose-lose for us. We’ll be $100 lighter and we will have squandered another opportunity to bring boxing back to its rightful place as the sport of kings.”
De La Hoya’s argument aside, he fails to mention the innate number of mismatches that seem to happen in boxing every year that largely slip under the radar.
The sport has been accused of padding records for fighters for decades with notable boxers taking on opponents with nowhere near the same skill set. Of course, there was also the 1976 sideshow where Muhammad Ali took on Antonio Inoki in a mixed skills match that pit a boxer against catch wrestler.
For now, De La Hoya will remain a staunch opponent of the fight but it’s likely McGregor and Mayweather are banking on the vast majority of fans ignoring his objections to watch the showdown between the biggest star in the UFC against arguably one of the best boxers of all time.