By Sean Crose
“Look,” Oscar De La Hoya told me during a media conference call on Wednesday, “I’ve never had a problem with Bob Arum. Me personally, I have no problem whatsoever with Bob.”
So, does that mean he’s planning on working with Arum again?
“You never know,” he responded.
Indeed, you never know. People can guess, though. Wednesday’s call was meant to promote the upcoming Floyd Mayweather–Marcos Maidana bout on May 3d. De La Hoya’s surprise appearance, however, stole the show. Indeed, it was more than just an appearance. De La Hoya played the role of ringmaster, a role previously held during such occasions by Golden Boy CEO Richard Shaefer.
In fact, Shaefer, who is rumored to be leaving Golden Boy after the Mayweather-Maidana bout, wasn’t even on the conference call. Clearly something was up. De La Hoya’s unexpected presence, coupled with his positive tone regarding rival Arum, indicated that the boxing landscape may indeed be about to change.
There were other signs during the call that the whole thing wasn’t just business as usual. Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza, who had so much to say just over a week ago during a Mike Tyson conference call, was exceedingly quiet. He spoke only for a moment, and even then seemed to be subdued.
What’s more, there was a whole lot of what amounted to excuse making going on during the call. Mayweather has been sharply criticized for taking on Maidana as his next opponent, after all. That presumably was what lead to the media hearing a great deal about what a formidable foe Maidana will be.
“When this fighter steps into the ring, you know you’re going to get an exciting fight,” said De La Hoya.
“This is going to be a tough fight for Floyd,” said Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe.
“This kid comes to fight,” De La Hoya gushed. “He has heart. He has desire.”
“This guy,” Ellerby extolled, “he continues to bring it and bring it and bring it and bring it.”
Actually, it felt like the people behind the May 3d fight were the ones bringing it on Wednesday. A whole lot of it. There were clearly concerns about how this match, promoted as The One, is being viewed by the fan community.
As for Maidana himself, he came across (through a translator) as being both eager and serious.
“I am a champion,” he told me, “and I am ready to fight for my title.” Not that his title is apparently all that important to him. For Maidana went on to explain to me that his WBA welterweight belt is actually the last thing on his mind. To the slugger from Argentina, this moment is all about besting Mayweather.
“The last thing I’m worried about,” he said, “is my title.”
At least Maidana clearly thinks he has a chance of winning. As does his trainer, Robert Garcia. Mayweather, Garcia told me, “has never fought somebody with the style that Chino (Maidana) has.” Maidana, Garcia claimed, “frustrates,” and “confuses.” Well, he clearly frustrated and confused Adrien Broner last year. Whether or not his style will have a similar effect on Mayweather, however, is another matter entirely.
It seems, though, like the May 3d fight may not be the big story here. For, barring a stunning upset, The Moment will prove to be just Another One, meaning another easy Mayweather victory. A shakeup at Golden Boy, however, may well change the face of contemporary boxing.
As the Golden Boy himself said, you never know.
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