Dream fights are always a bone of contention, and especially difficult with fighters from different eras who hit their primes in different weight classes.

But the question was recently posed – who would have won a junior middleweight fight between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and the man who used to promote him, Oscar De La Hoya?

Former welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi believes  that De La Hoya was too industrious and his jab was too cultured and skilled for Canelo to have coped with.

“‘Canelo’ Alvarez has a lot of trouble with guys with good jabs – even a smaller guy like [Miguel] Cotto gave him problems because of his well-placed, well-timed jab,” argued Malignaggi. “Erislandy Lara is a good boxer who also gave Canelo problems, even though he’s a southpaw. Guys with good jabs and a busy style tend to give Canelo problems, so it’s hard to pick against Oscar De La Hoya in this fight.”

Chris Algieri, conversely, made the case for Canelo.

“At 154, De La Hoya was just not the same guy he was in those lighter weight classes,” contended Algieri, in debate on ProBox TV. “At ‘40 and ’47, I’ve got De La Hoya all day, but Canelo didn’t really fight in those weights, especially at his best, and at ‘54 De La Hoya just didn’t have the output. 

“When you talk about things that disrupted Canelo early on, it was guys that had a really good jab – they were southpaws – but it’s guys that pick a pace, and De La Hoya at ‘54 just didn’t have that. When he fought Shane Mosley, he lost to him twice. Canelo – who was a baby – beat up Shane Mosley. At that weight, I can’t see Canelo not picking that fight up.

“It's really hard to go against De La Hoya but weight classes are there for a reason. Canelo is just too big and too explosive.” 

Malignaggi doubled down on picking De La Hoya, and added: “Oscar De La Hoya at 154 stopped Fernando Vargas, who probably also beats Canelo Alvarez at 154lbs. Oscar’s jab is still world-class at 154lbs – his combination punching is still there, even if it’s not as busy as when he was smaller, and the Shane Canelo fought is not the Shane Oscar fought – he was 175 years old!”