De La Hoya positioned well politically for possible Mayweather conflict
Near the height of his popularity in 1998, Oscar De La Hoya helped Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) win reelection by encouraging state Latinos to vote.
“Now, I’ve asked him for a favor,” De La Hoya said Saturday afternoon, in an appearance at the famed “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign to be honored on what state and city officials declared “Oscar De La Hoya Day.”
The favor De La Hoya is seeking -- continuing to bring big fights to Las Vegas -- might seem like a simple request.
It’s more than that.
For May 2015, the star fighter in De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions stable, former super-welterweight world champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, has made it clear he wants to fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend.
That’s the same weekend unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. has fought for the last three years, and is undoubtedly pointing to for his next bout following Saturday night’s welterweight title defense against Marcos Maidana at MGM Grand.
While De La Hoya and promoter Bob Arum staged rival major cards on the same September, Mexican Independence date two years ago, it clearly was detrimental to both of their profits.
Alvarez is targeting middleweight world champion Miguel Cotto as his Cinco de Mayo foe.
Mayweather, who has fought 12 consecutive fights in Las Vegas, could fight from a field that probably would include former junior-welterweight champion Amir Khan and current 140-pound champion Danny Garcia.
Golden Boy Promotions is promoting Mayweather-Maidana II, and has worked to hype all of Mayweather’s bouts since 2007, but Mayweather Promotions recently gained its license to stage fights in Nevada and Mayweather has never hid his dislike for De La Hoya, so a split would surprise no one.
“I’m not sure what plans Mayweather has, or what opponent he is fighting,” De La Hoya said. “Canelo gave me strict orders that he wants May and September next year, so as his promoter, I’ll obviously try and make that happen.”
De La Hoya said he believes if the Nevada State Athletic Commission had to weigh a Canelo-Mayweather conflict for the May date next year, “it all depends on what fight we have.
“If we’re going to do Miguel Cotto vs. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, who wouldn’t want that fight? The only fight that is bigger ... is Manny Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, and we don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon.”
Gaining more political clout can’t hurt the cause.
Bob Bennett, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, said the May date requests would be handled on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Bennett said the state is capable of regulating two major cards on the same night.
Credited by one official for “inspiring people throughout the world,” De La Hoya was given a massive “key to the Las Vegas Strip” by a Clark County (Nev.) official at Saturday’s and representatives from Reid’s office and the state also attended, delivering proclamations.
De La Hoya said the tribute being delivered after working in the last year through alcohol rehab and a split with his former business partner Richard Schaefer served as validation that “I’m a fighter. I went through some struggles. I decided to get back on track, stand up, and show everyone it can be done if you want it.
“It takes courage, inner strength to succeed. When I put my mind to something, I know I’m going to succeed. … The person I want to be is ‘The Golden Boy.’ I have an obligation to the people. I forgot that for a little while. I have an obligation to the people, and that’s my drive.”
De La Hoya will meet with Alvarez on Monday in Los Angeles.
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