By Ryan Maquiñana
Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya responded to the recent move by the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) to start a new pro league that would allow amateurs to keep their Olympic eligibility.
“All I can say about that is talk about conflict of interest,” De La Hoya told NBCOlympics.com in a soon-to-be released video. “There’s nothing else to say about that. It’s wrong what they’re doing.”
The governing body has signed several medalists from London to AIBA Pro Boxing (APB), including two-time Olympic lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine, long considered the best amateur in the world.
With this edition of the Summer Games complete, promoters and managers have now turned their attention toward signing the top talent from the tournament such as Mexican star Oscar Valdez, who signed a managerial contract with Frank Espinoza on Tuesday.
“There’s a lot of fighters we’re looking at,” said De La Hoya, who rose to prominence after winning the 1992 Olympic gold medal at lightweight. “I don’t want to name any names of who we’re going to go after, but yes, we feel that the fighters we do sign will be in a tremendous position to be exposed on a worldwide stage.”
Prior to London, Golden Boy had announced that they would feature the Olympians they signed after the Games on two CBS broadcasts that would occur on Oct. 14 and Dec. 15. When asked if the televised shows would still proceed despite the men’s team coming back without a medal for the first time in American history, De La Hoya would not unequivocally reply in the affirmative.
“Well, it’s a matter of strategizing and getting everything into place,” De La Hoya said. “We’re going after these fighters, and we’re signing the best.”
De La Hoya had some words of wisdom for the next crop of aspiring Olympians in hopes that Team USA will prevent another empty-handed performance in Rio de Janeiro 2016.
“My advice as a fighter is to take it serious,” he said. “This is not a part-time job. This is a full-time job. I’m talking about your training, what you eat, how you rest. It’s a lifestyle.
“I remember the days when I was 13 waking up at four in the morning to go run, traveling internationally, fighting everybody, fighting once a week, making it my life. That’s where it starts. These fighters have to take their craft serious.”
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com and writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq