By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — It’s almost as if Oscar De La Hoya is getting a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
That’s how much a Saul “Canelo” Alvarez upset Sept. 14 in Las Vegas would mean to De La Hoya both personally and professionally. Throughout the buildup toward the biggest fight of Alvarez’s career, De La Hoya has made sure to relay as much invaluable advice to the young Mexican star as possible.
The 40-year-old De La Hoya regularly advises Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs) to avoid making the same mistakes that cost “The Golden Boy” when he dropped a split decision to Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs) in May 2007.
“I used reckless pressure,” said De La Hoya, whose promotional company represents Alvarez. “He’s going to use smart pressure. That’s going to be the difference.”
The retired six-division champion also stresses the importance of continuing to use his jab, a valuable weapon De La Hoya abandoned later in his junior middleweight title fight with Mayweather. The 23-year-old Alvarez appreciates any assistance one of his idols can give him.
“That’s what’s going to help me,” Alvarez said. “I’ve had many conversations with Oscar and he has explained things to me, what Floyd doesn’t like in the ring. And all that advice works. … It’s very, very important. Oscar has the experience. He’s been through this. Watching him, and how relaxed he is, it helps me relax.”
De La Hoya realizes Alvarez’s ring IQ will enable him to make some adjustments on his own, once he gets a feel for what it’s like to face off with an undefeated five-division champion commonly considered the best boxer in the world.
“Well, for one, youth is on his side,” De La Hoya said. “I think the advantage would also be the intelligence. He’s a very smart fighter and I think people are going to be surprised with his speed. People underestimate his speed. He’s got the power and he knows that. But that’s not all that he’s relying on. He’s pretty smart. Then, obviously, the torn left rotator cuff that I had, I’m sure that he doesn’t have one.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.