There was a time when Dana White and Oscar De La Hoya were cool. Maybe even friends. De La Hoya, a legendary boxer turned boxing promoter, has always been a supporter of MMA, unlike some of his peers. And he and White had a pretty solid relationship.
Those days appear to be long gone.
De La Hoya was critical of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing match, co-promoted by the UFC, from the start. White went back at him on several occasions. Last Friday, De La Hoya upped the ante with a nasty tweet about the matchup right before weigh-ins began. UFC president Dana White sent an ugly one in response, asking if De La Hoya was snorting cocaine and drinking booze again.
On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, De La Hoya said he had an emotional response in defending boxing and that’s why he fired off the tweet last week.
“Just trying to defend my sport,” De La Hoya said. “My sport gave me everything I have. My sport allowed me to win an Olympic gold medal, to win 10 world titles in six different weight classes. I've been boxing since I was 4 years old. I was a little fed up by what was taking place. Obviously emotions run through my veins and I was just defending the sport that I dearly love.”
On White’s response, De La Hoya said it upset him, but he wouldn’t stop his criticism of the fight.
“I just brush it off,” he said. “I never attacked him personally, whatsoever. I was obviously very disappointed by his words. But it is what it is. I'm gonna continue defending the sport of boxing, I'm gonna continue respecting the MMA. And move on to Sept. 16.”
On that day, De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions has put together the best fight of the year on paper between two of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers in the world: Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. Canelo vs. GGG will be at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, just like Mayweather vs. McGregor. And unlike MayMac, De La Hoya said his bout is sold out.
“This is the fight that people have been asking for,” De La Hoya said.
White has responded to De La Hoya’s bashing of Mayweather vs. McGregor by saying that De La Hoya said publicly earlier this year that he wanted McGregor to come over from the UFC and face Canelo. White reasoned that De La Hoya is just unhappy that his guy and his company didn’t get the big “Notorious” payday and that Mayweather vs. McGregor could affect the sales of Canelo vs. GGG.
De La Hoya said he believes boxers should stick to boxing and MMA fighters should stick to MMA. He added that it might have been a good thing that McGregor did not face Alvarez in his pro boxing debut. Mayweather beat McGregor by TKO in the 10th round and De La Hoya said it would have been a far worse result had Alvarez been the opponent.
“After seeing Saturday’s fight, Canelo probably would have knocked him out in one round or two rounds,” De La Hoya said. “Canelo is a knockout guy, he’s a guy who’s not gonna trick people into making a fight last longer than it should last.”