It’s fitting that Oscar De La Hoya’s first fight in California since settling with his company’s former CEO Richard Schaefer and powerful manager Al Haymon stars Coachella’s Randy Caballero.
The 24-year-old Caballero (22-0, 13 knockouts) ascended to world champion in October, venturing to Monte Carlo to win the International Boxing Federation bantamweight title.
And now, as De La Hoya looks to the future with a downsized but loyal stable of younger fighters as he did when he began Golden Boy Promotions a decade ago, it starts with Caballero defending his belt for the first time against a game challenger from Mexico, Alberto Guevara (19-2).
The bout will be televised by Fox Sports 1 from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio.
“He’s exciting, explosive, only getting better,” De La Hoya said of Caballero at a news conference Thursday inside Golden Boy offices in downtown Los Angeles. “He reminds me a little bit of Alexis Arguello – the style, and a gentleman outside the ring.”
De La Hoya, who on Friday announced a new contract with heavy-punching light-welterweight Lucas Matthysse, said as he recently assessed his remaining roster from the Schaefer-Haymon split, he saw “the biggest pay-per-view of the next 10 years with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, and [that] we’re cultivating the next generation of fighters based near Los Angeles."
“We have all these young fighters. Now, it’s just a matter of doing what we do best. And every fighter who went with Al [Haymon], we built them all, right here, right from the start, from scratch.”
De La Hoya lost junior-welterweight champion Danny Garcia, former welterweight champion Marcos Maidana and several others to Haymon in the settlement.
De La Hoya said he’s adamant to keep the fighters who emerge with him from now on by his side, alluding to the point that Schaefer let the others stray by getting too close to Haymon.
“The difference is that I’m looking out for the best interest of my company, for myself,” De La Hoya said.
Caballero is not too far removed from assisting his father, Marcos, with the family pool-cleaning business in the Coachella Valley.
He admitted he was apprehensive about venturing so far from home to take the IBF belt from England’s Stuart Hall by unanimous decision in October.
“You’ve got to make sacrifices with your career to become someone,” Caballero said. “We’re ready now to conquer the whole division.”
Against Guevara, he faces a challenger from Mazatlan who counts former world champion Erik Morales as a consultant and has fought and lost twice for a belt, in December 2012, against Leo Santa Cruz, and in November 2013, against Shinsuke Yamanaka in Japan.
“We know who we’re walking into, but I’m going to fight a smart fight, and dominate from Round 1 on,” Caballero said.
Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire