Tensions Blow Between De La Hoya and Canelo at Press Conference

The animosity between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Oscar De La Hoya became so intense at the final press conference to promote Saturday’s fight between Alvarez and Jaime Munguia that they had to be kept apart.

Alvarez defends his undisputed super middleweight title against his fellow Mexican Munguia at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, but if Munguia poses the greater threat to his ambitions, it became De La Hoya – Alvarez’s former promoter and Munguia’s co-promoter – the champion had in his sights. 

Responding to De La Hoya provocatively referencing Alvarez’s two failed drug tests, Alvarez, after leaving his seat in an attempt to confront De La Hoya and waiting his turn to speak, alleged that De La Hoya “steals from his fighters."

“He’s a f****** a*****,” he very deliberately said. The individual employed by promoters Premier Boxing Champions to translate from Spanish into English had hesitated to translate Alvarez’s words, so Alvarez, 33, loudly intervened.

“That’s what I said,” he continued. “He’s a f****** a******. He tried to keep the attention for him; not for Munguia. He’s a f****** a******. He steals from his fighters. That’s what he do.

“F****** p****. Motherf*****. Motherf*****.” 

Alvarez did not elaborate on his allegations from the top table, so they cannot be treated as having any foundation. He regardless was visibly angered by De La Hoya’s criticisms, and to the extent that when De La Hoya finished speaking he moved from his seat to confront him, and was only stopped in his path by the fight’s co-promoter Tom Brown.

“I truly believe this will be the changing of the guard, from ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to Jaime Munguia,” De La Hoya had started. “My purpose in this promotion is to support Jaime, an undefeated, incredible talent who deserves a stage and spotlight at this point of his career.

“However, I would be remiss if I didn’t respond to the man I used to promote. He seems to have trouble remembering who helped him become a true global star. To be clear, I have nothing but respect for Canelo Alvarez as a fighter – his record and abilities speak for themselves. But he has spent much of the last two months insulting me rather than promoting this fight, so I’ll make it a little bit easier for him. 

“Yes, I have faced a lot of challenges in my life. Yes, I’ve been to rehab several times. Yes, there were some really low points in my life and yes, there were times that work was not my priority based on my mental health, which I had neglected for so long. But that doesn’t change the fact that Golden Boy built Canelo Alvarez, period. The company you fought under has always had one name, and it’s mine, so put some f****** respect on it.”

De La Hoya turned to look at Alvarez when he swore, and shortly afterwards Alvarez, wearing sunglasses, stopped facing forward and instead turned toward his former promoter. When De La Hoya resumed, Alvarez started speaking directly to him in Spanish, seemingly contributing to De La Hoya talking with less conviction.

“As for Jaime, he has always dared to be great, just as this Saturday night,” De La Hoya continued of the 27-year-old challenger. “Remember when Jaime was 21 years old, volunteered to step in against ‘Triple G’ [Gennady Golovkin], and Canelo failed two drug tests? Though Jaime wasn’t allowed to fulfil his dreams in 2018, on Saturday night he will do just that. Fulfil his dream and be world champion.”

It was in 2018 when Alvarez served a six-month suspension for failing two drugs tests for clenbuterol, a banned performance-enhancing drug, in random urine tests conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. He claimed that the clenbuterol was in his system because he ate contaminated meat.

The translator’s interpretation of Alvarez’s words were: “As far as the fight, it’s going to be a great Mexican war. Munguia and I, we both come to win, but I can guarantee you that I’m gonna win; I’m gonna prevail, and it’s gonna be decisive. You guys are going to see a great fight. I want the fans to really enjoy Saturday night. I’m proud to be here and to make history, with both Mexican fighters fighting for the four belts for the first time. 

“As far as what De La Hoya said, I have my grudges against De La Hoya. I don’t believe what De La Hoya said was warranted, and with the Golovkin fight there were some things that Mr. De La Hoya said or did.”