Oscar De La Hoya had some harsh things to say about Floyd Mayweather's boxing match against UFC champion Conor McGregor, but now that the spectacle is over, he's relieved to not be bracing for a backlash from pay-per-view buyers.
De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions is the lead promoter for the Sept. 16 Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin middleweight title fight in Las Vegas, and nearly all involved in the bout fretted about what a one-sided Mayweather triumph would do to the pay-per-view market. Only one fight — Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. last May — has been able to top 1 million pay-per-view buys since Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao stunk it up in their record-selling 4.6-million-buy bout in May 2015.
Mayweather scored a 10th-round technical knockout over McGregor on Saturday, heightening the drama by fighting minimally in the first three rounds, then pouring it on and scoring his first undisputed stoppage since beating Ricky Hatton in 2007.
The bout was panned in places, but McGregor was mostly credited for making it a fight as Mayweather achieved history by closing his career as a five-division world champion at 50-0. There are expected to be at least 3.5 million buys for the fight, with a new record possible.
"I'm glad so many people bought the fight so they can see what boxing's all about, and they'll especially see what boxing's all about with Canelo-GGG," De La Hoya said Monday at the public workout for Alvarez and Golovkin at L.A. Live, where an estimated 2,000 fans appeared.
The Alvarez-Golovkin pay-per-view starts at $70 — not quite as pricey as Mayweather-McGregor, which sold for as much as $100.
De La Hoya on Saturday tweeted an explicit post about Mayweather-McGregor, adding, "BOTH OF YOU ARE DISRESPECTING THE SPORT OF BOXING".
"That was me defending my sport," De La Hoya explained to reporters Monday. "I love boxing. Boxing gave me everything I have. I'm a promoter for many years to come.
"I just thought it was a fraud. I still think it's a fraud. The fact that Mayweather bet on himself, what does that tell you? That's ironic, huh?
"I respect McGregor for what he does in the Octagon. He's awesome. And I respect what Mayweather does in the boxing ring."
Golovkin's promoter, Tom Loeffler, also expressed relief in how the show played out.
"We were all pretty convinced that Floyd was going to win. We were just hoping it wouldn't be the disaster that people would say, 'We're never going to buy another pay-per-view,'" Loeffler said. "Yes, there were some disappointed Irish fans, but at least the fight fans got some entertainment. It went 10 rounds.
"I don't think it's going to hurt this event."
Golovkin judged that McGregor "should go back to the UFC … he's not a boxer." Alvarez said he bought the Mayweather-McGregor pay-per-view "to see a show, not expecting to see a fight. Those who bought the event expecting to see a fight, I'm sorry for them.
"I knew what I was getting into when I bought it. I got what I expected."