Oscar De La Hoya On Mayweather-McGregor Super Farce: “Our Sport Might Not Ever Recover.”
By: Sean Crose
“Our sport might not ever recover.”
Those words came from Oscar De La Hoya in a no-holds-barred Facebook post regarding the potential Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor super farce the public is enthralled with. Although his words may be a bit hyperbolic, there’s little doubt that De La Hoya, head honcho of Golden Boy Promotions, is on to something. “Floyd’s and Conor’s motivation is clear,” he writes. “It’s money. In fact, they don’t even pretend it’s not.” Sure enough, Mayweather has made it perfectly clear this potential stunt, where the world’s most well regarded boxer faces it’s most popular mixed martial artist in a boxing match, is essentially about padding his personal bank account (though perhaps McGregor and his followers may believe otherwise).
De La Hoya also makes it clear in the post that it’s not the general public he blames the hype on, it’s the two would-be participants. “I fully understand the initial attraction from any fan of combat sports,” he writes. “McGregor is almost certainly the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter. Floyd is Floyd — the most dominant boxer of his time.” Yet De La Hoya also points out that each man fights in a unique sport, and that boxing and mixed martial arts don’t exactly mesh. “Think about it,” states De La Hoya, “beyond Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, what other athlete has successfully competed in two sports in the modern age?” Holly Holm comes to mind (actually, she crossed three sports lines), but that’s about it – and she most certainly took her time with it.
Still, De La Hoya is opening himself up to criticism here. He’s the one, after all, who wanted to “marinate” the upcoming middleweight battle between his fighter, Canelo Alvarez and feared Kazakh power puncher Gennady Golovkin. What’s more, there’s now reason to believe that Mayweather and McGregor are trying to muscle in on territory reserved for the Canelo-Golovkin superbout by staging a fight between themselves within the same general time and place. In other words, De La Hoya has plenty of personal reasons to be displeased by what he rightly calls a “circus.”
There’s no denying, however, that a Mayweather-McGregor match could spell big trouble for boxing, and at a time when it’s actually on the upswing. Chances are McGregor would easily outsklick the Irish brawler. Not only that, there’s a VERY good chance, as Michael Montero has pointed out, that Mayweather would drag a fight with McGregor out for twelve excruciating rounds. “If you thought,” writes De La Hoya, “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.”
His words, of course, make sense. As does his desire for boxing fans to avoid the spectacle. “As undercard fights start to take form, athletic commissions give their blessings in exchange for millions of dollars and the fighters start counting even more cash,” De La Hoya states, “one group will eventually be left to make sure this farce doesn’t occur.” And just who is that group? “We, the fans, who are the lifeblood of our sport.” Although he can be accused of hypocrisy and shrewdness, there’s little doubt De La Hoya has some ideas worth pondering.
“After this fight,” he says of Mayweather and McGregor, “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.” De La Hoya then offers what might be the coup de grace: “It’s a win-win for them. It’s a lose-lose for us.”