Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) is just days away from his light heavyweight title fight with WBO champion Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs). It was an ordeal just to get Canelo’s next fight booked, and one of the storylines heading into this Saturday’s contest is the unraveling relationship between the Mexican superstar and his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya.
The Athletic’s Lance Pugmire did a story several months ago that brought to light a number of concerns that Alvarez had with Golden Boy Promotions, including De La Hoya and GBP president Eric Gomez’s promise to DAZN of delivering a third fight between him and Gennadiy Golovkin.
A new report from The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger (paywall only) goes even deeper into the apparent feud.
“You can see there’s no loyalty in [De La Hoya],” Alvarez said through an interpreter. “He changed trainers during his career. He changed managers in his career. So there’s no loyalty. That’s the way he is. We see it now.”
As for what caused this friction between fighter and promoter, more details are below:
Alvarez said his perception of De La Hoya began to change about two years ago, around the time that Alvarez drew against Gennady Golovkin with the lineal middleweight championship at stake. After that, the two men quietly drifted apart. Until this summer, when Alvarez’s frustration with Golden Boy Promotions boiled over.
First, Alvarez watched as Golden Boy seemingly dragged its feet to negotiate a deal for him to defend his IBF middleweight title. Then, Ryan Garcia, a good friend and protege of Alvarez who also trains under Eddy Reynoso at Alvarez’s gym, got into a protracted social media row with Golden Boy. At issue: Garcia received just $50,000 for a fight that brought in close to $1 million. Alvarez joined the fray by retweeting Garcia’s jabs at De La Hoya.
Finally, the dispute got personal. De La Hoya left a now-deleted comment on Garcia’s Instagram feed, in reference to a workout video: “Bro, when you duck under, always keep your eye on your opponent. You tell your trainer that.”
Alvarez’s squad saw the message as De La Hoya throwing shade at Eddy Reynoso, and the trainer countered the perceived cheap shot by commenting that De La Hoya has known his name for 15 years. He also reminded everyone that Golden Boy Promotions’ first champion was a fighter Reynoso trained and linked to the company.
Another point of contention occurred just a few months ago, when Canelo was stripped of his IBF middleweight title that he won against Daniel Jacobs. The IBF, which is notoriously strict with its mandatory defenses, ordered Alvarez to face Ukraine’s Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Canelo had his sights set on facing Kovalev, so this matchup wasn’t likely to ever happen. Negotiations between Golden Boy and Lou DiBella (Derevyanchenko’s promoter) started out as non-existent, then turned into a mess that saw GBP fail to meet Team Derevyanchenko’s demands of a $7 million offer.
By the IBF’s deadline day (which was extended for additional negotiating time) arrived, a request by Golden Boy for an exception so that Canelo could unify with WBO champ Demetrius Andrade was denied. Exceptions are usually made during a free negotiating period, in which case the request was made far too late, and according to the article, “the promoters never consulted Alvarez on facing Andrade.” Canelo, much to his annoyance, lost his belt, and Golovkin was able to win the vacant title with a win over Derevyanchenko earlier this month.
There have also been problems surrounding De La Hoya’s numerous recent absences at media events, including the press conference to announce Alvarez’s $350 million deal with DAZN, ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and several title fights involving other fighters on the Golden Boy roster. De La Hoya has made headlines recently after he was sued by a woman who accused him of sexual assault and battery. He has since denied those allegations.
In case you’re wondering, should a situation arise where Canelo actually parts ways with Golden Boy, he is still contractually tied to DAZN, but sans a promotional company. We’ll see very soon if Canelo and Golden Boy patch things up or if a tense situation will steadily worsen. Perhaps the most telling quote from Coppinger’s column is Canelo’s increased attention on any Golden Boy business arrangements, as he has seemingly distanced himself from De La Hoya and other longtime executives.
“I have a lawyer who is taking care of all that stuff for me and making sure all is in order,” Alvarez said. “You’ve got to look out for yourself.”