As Floyd Mayweather gears up for his highly anticipated (and highly controversial) bout with Conor McGregor, he’s had to contend with backlash from boxing purists who are not all about the spectacle. No one has been more vocal than boxing legend–and current promoter–Oscar De La Hoya, who has spoken out against the fight numerous times in the last few months.
Speaking with USA Today’s Martin Rogers this week, De La Hoya explained why he’s been critical of the August 26th bout, and of Mayweather specifically. “I personally think as a promoter, (Mayweather) has not been good for boxing,” he said. “Because fighters now are thinking all about business and not thinking about the fight. And not thinking about the fans.” He goes on to criticize Floyd’s ultra-defensive style, calling it “not my cup of tea” and stating that he believes that “people pay their hard-earned money to buy a ticket and want to be entertained, not by dancing around and not getting hit.”
De La Hoya has been obviously offended that fans have gravitated so heavily to Mayweather and McGregor’s showy psuedo-fight, rather than appreciating the upcoming pound-for-pound masterpiece that should be Canelo Álvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin. De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions has found it difficult to generate the necessary buzz for his fight in contrast with the outlandish press conferences that McGregor and Mayweather have put on.
De La Hoya even took the time to write an open letter back in May, calling on boxing fans to boycott the Mayweather-McGregor fight before it had even been announced. In the letter, De La Hoya said: “Floyd’s and Conor’s motivation is clear. It’s money. In fact, they don’t even pretend it’s not. But it’s also a lack of consequences for when the fight ends up being the disaster that is predicted. After this fight, neither of them will need us anymore. Floyd will go back to retirement — presumably for good this time with another nine-figure paycheck — and Conor will go back to the UFC.”
It’s clear that the Mexican boxing legend wants the focus to be back on the fighting and not on all the antics surrounding. He has a long battle ahead if he hopes to stop this fight’s momentum, because the buzz–positive and negative–is at an all-time high following the press tour earlier this month.
The Golden Boy might also have a personal reason for his distaste: In 2007, Mayweather defeated De La Hoya in what was, at the time, the most lucrative boxing match ever; that fight garnered 2.4 million pay-per-view buys and $136 million in revenue. Speaking to TMZ Sports this week, De La Hoya joked that if he couldn’t beat Mayweather, McGregor has no chance: “You think that Conor McGregor, in my prime, is better than me?”