Oscar De La Hoya and his company Golden Boy Promotions have been effectively under siege in recent weeks following the departure of his chief executive and friction with the sport’s most powerful manager.
Saturday night, De La Hoya’s main attraction, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, survived a threat to his drawing power by slugging his way through the 12th round to win a precious point from a Nevada judge and clinch a split-decision triumph over Cuba’s Erislandy Lara at the MGM Grand by scores of 115-113, 113-115, 117-111.
Lara connected on 55 jabs to Alvarez’s nine and 107 total punches to Alvarez’s 97, but continually backpedaled and deprived fans of engaging action.
“To make love, you need a partner,” the 23-year-old Alvarez (44-1-1) said afterward. “Same thing in boxing. You need a partner to make a good fight.”
Lara, meanwhile, referred to the scoring as “disgraceful” and one of his advisors asked for an investigation into judge Levi Martinez’s lopsided score.
Lara is managed by Al Haymon, a powerful player who many suspect has aligned with De La Hoya’s departed partner Richard Schaefer to create another promotional company and raid De La Hoya’s stable of some significant talent.
The matter is currently in closed mediation.
The fight in De La Hoya, however, was on full public display late Saturday night.
After listening to Lara’s complaints, De La Hoya was asked by someone if he agreed with Lara’s request for a rematch.
“What I heard, nobody wants a rematch,” De La Hoya said. “There’s 10 guys in line. Lara just lost. Now, he has to wait in line. Lara’s a very slick, very confusing, difficult fighter. That’s no secret. But Canelo won tonight and now we have to move on.”
With that, De La Hoya ended the post-fight news conference and brushed past Lara and his team.
The boxing landscape Sunday morning would’ve looked much different had Alvarez failed to land the 73 power shots to the body that won him the fight.
“I wanted this fight because you guys said I wouldn’t take it and couldn’t beat him,” Alvarez said. “I pressed him, ran to him. I made the fight, and I won the fight.
“I’m always going to take the toughest, best fights, the ones you guys want to see.”
Now, Alvarez has avoided the stain on his record and reputation and proceeds toward another multimillion-dollar bout later this year against someone like big-punching James Kirkland or possibly a super-bout against Miguel Cotto. De La Hoya even mentioned middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin as a candidate.
And De La Hoya, who worked long days and nights this week less than a year removed from a return trip to alcohol rehab, moves on to his continued effort to stave off the possible hostile takeover.
His company this week was named the lead promoter for unbeaten superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s Sept. 13 rematch against Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand.
The Golden Boy, after putting Lara and his team in its place, flashed the patented smile, told the audience, “Gracias, have a good night,” and as he did on many nights here as the star attraction himself, left the building with the satisfaction of another big victory.
Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter: @latimespugmire