“I think it’s great that Canelo Alvarez is returning to his roots,” Oscar De La Hoya said in a recent Combat hubs video. “I think it’s special. I think that’s a great thing. While he may seem happy that former protégé Canelo will fight a homecoming bout in Mexico this spring, De La Hoya makes it clear in the video that he is not impressed with Canelo’s choice of opponent, John Ryder. “In terms of the opposition,” says De La Hoya, “I’m not sure which direction it wants to go.”
While there’s no doubt Hall of Famer De La Hoya knows Canelo quite well, (having been Canelo’s promoter) he’s clearly not afraid to criticize his former fighter. “He seems to be regressing in the ring,” he says of Canelo, “he’s regressing in terms of picking opponents. He’s fighting all these British fighters, but he’s doing nothing for his legacy. I don’t know whose fault it is. While it’s true Canelo has fought his share of Brits, such as Amir Khan, Callum Smith and Bill Joe Saunders, the future Hall of Famer has also recently fought the likes of Dmitry Bivol, Caleb Plant and arch-rival Gennady Golovkin respectively.
However, De La Hoya indicates in the Combat hubs video that believes Canelo could face higher quality opposition. “I don’t want to mention anything,” he says, “but I think Canelo should really carefully analyze who he wants to fight next, whether it’s Bivol, whether it’s Mungia (who, by the way, De La Hoya seems to be promoting), but he has to step up and fight the tough opposition, the tough, the guys that are out there who can give him a fight.He’s not the John Ryder of the world.
As for De La Hoya himself, the man has his hands full at the moment promoting what is arguably the biggest fight in years: Gervonta Davis’ impending loss to De La Hoya’s fighter, Ryan Garcia. Indeed, Davis-Garcia represents something of a changing of the guard in boxing, as a new generation prepares to take up the figurative wheel. However, until proven otherwise, Canelo remains one of the biggest names in the entire fighting game.
For his part, De La Hoya was undoubtedly a fighter who faced challenge after challenge throughout his in-ring career. There’s a reason De La Hoya himself has been one of the biggest names in the sport for years. The question, of course, is whether his criticism of Canelo is objective or based on her falling out with his former protégé.