LOS ANGELES – Oscar De La Hoya knows all too well about beefing with Top Rank boss Bob Arum. In the year 2000, the Golden Boy sued and eventually split from the Hall of Fame promoter.
Twenty-two years later, another star fighter tied to Top Rank severed his relationship with the Las Vegas based company when Terence Crawford filed a lawsuit for a breach of contract and claiming racial bias in January.
The WBO welterweight champion Crawford was tied to Top Rank throughout his ascent as a three-division titlist, but after his contract expired with the company in his last bout in November, a stoppage win against Shawn Porter, the Nebraska native opted to take the separation to the next level.
De La Hoya is one of the handful of major promoters who has the potential bankroll and proper opponent to entertain the idea of offering Crawford a deal.
Crawford still wants to campaign as a welterweight, a division loaded with talent. Some of the top 147 pounders in the world are tied to Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
Much like Crawford is trying to secure career-defining matchups, Vergil Ortiz Jr. is looking to land a breakthrough matchup.
De La Hoya is eager to offer his up-and-coming contender a date with Bud.
However, De La Hoya is not comfortable with entertaining that scenario while Crawford is actively involved in an ongoing legal battle with his former promoter.
“We haven’t had a conversation with Terence Crawford’s people or anybody, just the fact that he’s involved in a lawsuit here with Bob Arum, so we didn’t want to really shake things up there,” De La Hoya told BoxingScene.com in an interview. “But yes, when things are resolved, and everything is greenlit to start talking and negotiating and potentially making a fight happen, absolutely. We would love it. Why not? I’ve always been known to fight the very best and as a promoter, I want my fighters to fight the very best when they’re ready, and Vergil Ortiz is ready.”
Ortiz is ranked as the No. 1 challenger by the WBO for Crawford's belt.
The 23-year-old knockout artist is also adamant that he’s prepared for the challenge.
“I’m ready for [Terence Crawford] whenever. I love the opportunity,” Ortiz told BoxingScene.com in an interview.
Whether it be Crawford or any other former champion, Ortiz says he’s more than ready for a big test after proving himself admirably against former-Crawford foe Egidijus Kavaliauskas and former world titlist Maurice Hooker.
“I was open to the [Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia fights] a couple of years ago. It’s not on my side. I’m open to it,” said Ortiz. “I feel that I have grown, not necessarily to the best potential I could be, but I feel like I am more than ready to compete for a world title.”
Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs) was scheduled to face British contender Michael McKinson on March 19 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles on DAZN. On Tuesday, he withdrew after being hospitalized with an illness. Ortiz is expected to make a full recovery, with De La Hoya expecting a return date in the near future.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.