By Andreas Hale
Remember that time that Oscar De La Hoya wrote an open letter to the boxing community asking them to boycott a fight between one of the best pound for pound fighters in history and the UFC’s biggest draw?
You know, that letter that suggested the sport of boxing may not recover from Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor and his interest lies with the future of boxing? It was a Facebook post where the Golden Boy Promotions CEO called out Mayweather and McGregor for allowing money to be the single biggest motivating factor in their fight and called it a “lose-lose” for boxing fans.
I don’t know about you, but boxing seems to have survived this circus. And, whether you liked the circus of Mayweather-McGregor or not, we can all say that it could have been far worse than it was.
But here’s the funny thing: everything that De La Hoya said has gone right out of the window now that the retired 44-year-old said that he had been "secretly training” for a possible comeback fight with McGregor. You know, the same MMA fighter that was involved in the boxing match that De La Hoya asked us to boycott.
"You know I'm competitive," De La Hoya said while on Golden Boy Radio with Tattoo and the Crew. "I still have it in me. I've been secretly training, secretly training. I'm faster than ever and stronger than ever. I know I can take out Conor McGregor in two rounds. I'll come back for that fight. Two rounds. Just one more [fight]. I'm calling him out. Two rounds, that's all I need. That's all I'm going to say. You heard it on Golden Boy Radio. Two rounds, that's all I need.”
But…didn’t he say?
Hypocrisy is what you are reading. Oscar De La Hoya wouldn’t be coming out of retirement because he’s interested in competing against the best that boxing has to offer or to see if he still has “it.” He would be coming back because there was a twinkle in his eyes after watching Mayweather and McGregor rob the bank with their August fight. Regardless of what De La Hoya says, the reason would solely be about the money he could make for something he considers to be easy work. The illusion that McGregor was competitive has left the door open for him to make the bold statement that he could finish the Irishman in two rounds. And now he is using it as a selling point for a fight he has no business lobbying for.
More importantly, all this does is further empower Conor McGregor. The UFC lightweight champion is currently turning WME-IMG (the owners of the UFC) upside down and shaking them out to squeeze every last penny that he can before making a return to the Octagon. Without McGregor the UFC has struggled mightily with their PPV sales and relevance in 2017.
And after WME-IMG shelled out the $4-billion to acquire the UFC, they need to prove that they didn’t purchase a lemon. But without McGregor inside of the Octagon, they have been unable to generate the interest that the company had just a year ago. Meanwhile, McGregor has had boxers wanting to get into the ring with him because they know how much money can be made against a guy with an 0-1 professional record. And now with De La Hoya being the latest to call out McGregor, we are seeing a monster being created. That might be more trouble for the UFC than boxing, but I digress…
De La Hoya trying to land a fight with McGregor reeks of desperation. It’s been nearly ten years since we last saw De La Hoya in a boxing ring when he was mauled by Manny Pacquiao. Nevertheless, he was the biggest draw of his time and a six-division world champion. Could De La Hoya-McGregor do big business? It may do solid numbers but not nearly the magnitude of what Mayweather-McGregor did. That’s not what is important here, however. The 180 by De La Hoya can be viewed as troubling considering the lengths that the former champion went to disparage the fight.
There’s also this idea that De La Hoya is interested in fighting again. The word is that he misses the competition but if that’s what he yearns, a fight with someone who has only had one professional fight isn’t necessarily coming back to test yourself. It’s obvious that this would be a cash grab and everything he accused Floyd Mayweather of doing by accepting a fight with McGregor.
And let’s be clear, this has always been more about Mayweather than McGregor. The feud between the two has carried out through the media for the past decade. De La Hoya never had a problem with McGregor trying his hand at boxing. This has always been about not liking Mayweather and the route he took to a massive payday. The sour taste of losing to Mayweather in 2007 and begrudgingly passing the torch to him has always been a thorn in his side that he hasn’t been able to get over. And the idea that he could knockout McGregor in two rounds is absolutely a shot at Mayweather carrying the Irishman for 10 rounds before stopping him.
Even in retirement, De La Hoya is searching for ways to pay Mayweather back. In the process, he’s become a hypocrite. Fortunately, McGregor has plenty of options and a boxing match with De La Hoya is likely way down on the totem pole.
But in this wacky world of combat sports, you can never say never to anything.