With a fight scheduled at ONE on TNT 4 following a reversal of his disqualification loss earlier in April, Eddie Alvarez is focusing only on his mixed martial arts career and no longer sounds interested in pursuing a boxing match against Oscar De La Hoya.
The former UFC lightweight champion had reason to celebrate on Monday after ONE Championship announced that his recent disqualification loss to Iuri Lapicus would be overturned to a no contest after he originally received a red card for illegal punches to the back of the head. While he would have loved a win, Alvarez said he’s “happy” with the new result as he prepares for his upcoming fight against Ok Rae Yoon on Wednesday.
A few weeks ago after his fight with Lapicus ended with less than desirable results, Alvarez revealed that his team was in contact about potentially landing De La Hoya as an opponent after he announced plans to come out of retirement to compete at an upcoming Triller Fight Club pay-per-view. With De La Hoya targeting a mixed martial artist as a potential opponent, Alvarez was interested in volunteering his services — at least until he watched the recent card featuring Jake Paul against Ben Askren in the main event.
“I would say it’s a dead issue for right now,” Alvarez said during the ONE on TNT IV media day when asked about negotiations to face De La Hoya. “Honestly, the whole boxing-MMA thing when I watched it with Ben [Askren] and basically what I watched is a bunch of MMA fighters in the realm of boxing, who had the heart, the courage, were able to have the humility to put themselves on the line in form and skill that they’re not professionals in and go and put it out there.
“I have yet to see a boxer come do that in the MMA realm. It’s really kind bothering me and it put me off. I’d like to see the courage on the boxing side for a guy to step into the MMA realm.”
Alvarez admits the opportunity to share the ring with a legend like De La Hoya may have clouded his judgment but when he really started to examine the situation, he began to realize that he was just giving another boxer the advantage over an MMA fighter.
“I feel like when we were saying yes to the Oscar thing, I felt like maybe I was making a decision too quickly that I just feel like this is my sport,” Alvarez explained. “This is what I’ve done my whole life and if you want a real fight, this is a fight. MMA is a fight. Boxing is a fifth of what we do. It’s a part of it. It’s not a fight.
“It’s boxing. It’s not a fight. MMA is a fight, it’s everything. So whoever beat Ben Askren, whoever beat Frank Mir, they didn’t beat them in a fight. They beat them in boxing.”
The way Alvarez saw it while watching the Triller pay-per-view was boxers facing outmatched opponents, who didn’t really have a great opportunity to actually win.
Instead of crossing over and giving someone like De La Hoya the chance to add Alvarez to his resume, the veteran lightweight wonders why a boxer won’t consider the same move to MMA.
“I have pride in what I do and I’ve been doing this a long time and I feel like it’s going to take a lot for me to give that up,” Alvarez said. “To sell my skin in boxing and be out matched. The whole event put me off. It just looked like boxing 101 and that’s what boxing has come to.
“It’s a bunch of really good talented guys who are fighting guys who are subpar. They build up a subpar guy to look half-decent just so a guy who outclasses him, outmatches him can look like a champion. MMA, the best fight the best, that’s why this sport is so great. It’s what makes this sport so great. It’s what boxing used to be and no longer is.”
Ultimately, Alvarez sees it as boxers taking advantage of the situation while touting their success over MMA fighters when they wouldn’t dare do the same by crossing over to face someone in the cage.
“It just gets me fired up,” Alvarez said. “Seeing that event and then seeing these boxers act like tough guys and act like they’re winning fights. They’re not winning fights. They’re winning boxing matches.
“MMA is a fight. If you want to call yourself a better fighter and say you want to fight, step inside the cage and do all skill sets. Do every single skill set.”