Oscar De La Hoya is no stranger to outlandish statements. After all, the head of Golden Boy is a promoter - he promotes. But in trying to sell the public on Canelo Alvarez vs. lightly-regarded Liam Smith in September, he went above and beyond the call of duty with his praise for Smith at a press conference today:
Smith (23-0-1, 13 KO) is the current WBO light middleweight champion, but has never fought outside of England and doesn't even have a massive following there to begin with. In fact, he might not even be the most popular fighter in his own family - three of his brothers are also professional boxers, with Paul having fought the likes of Andre Ward and Arthur Abraham. Youngest brother Callum is an undefeated super middleweight prospect.
Meanwhile, British fighters like Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, Amir Khan (who Alvarez just knocked out), and Kell Brook (who will fight Gennady Golovkin next) are out there with pretty big followings. A lot bigger than Liam Smith's.
Smith and Alvarez are scheduled to fight for Smith's 154-pound belt at the 80,000-seat AT&T Center in Dallas on September 17th. In another whopper, De La Hoya was quick to praise the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation as well:
Texas has long been known in boxing and MMA circles for the commission's lack of oversight and tiny penalties for positive drug tests and the like. After Antonio Margarito was found to be loading his gloves in California in 2009, the commission there refused to re-license him. So his bout with Manny Pacquiao was staged in the same AT&T Center (then known as Cowboys Stadium) in Dallas instead, where the TLDR happily issued him a license to fight.
It wasn't Oscar's promotional company that put Margarito/Pacquiao on (it was Top Rank), but it just goes to show the lengths that promoters are willing to go to sell a fight. I'm sure we'll hear a few more amusing statements in the lead-up to Canelo/Smith from Oscar too.