On the verge of a tell-all documentary on his life, Oscar De La Hoya said he’s at peace with himself. He’s also at peace being in a war of sorts with Ryan Garcia and Eddie Hearn.
Respectively, the boxer and promoter find themselves the targets of a lawsuit and an ongoing verbal feud. De La Hoya doesn’t seem intent on backing away from either, he said Wednesday on The MMA Hour, but the direction of the conflicts depends on his opponents.
As for Garcia, the former champ and Golden Boy Promotions star, a courtroom date looms. Garcia accused De La Hoya of invalidating a promotional agreement by breaching the deal in several ways. Soon after, De La Hoya sued him in federal court to enforce the deal.
“I’m not suing him for money, he’s not suing me for money,” De La Hoya said. “I just want him to honor my contract. That’s it.
“Just honor your contract. That’s it. You have obligations, right? I want you to fight. I want you to be a legend. Do you think I wanted him to fight [Gervonta] Tank Davis with a rehydration clause? Hell no. I’m looking out for him, but he has people that are whispering in his ear. ‘Oh, Oscar is bad. Go with this other promoter who will take care of you more. You’ll make more money.’
“Well, guess what? Ryan just made 30 million plus dollars. I’m not doing anything wrong here. I’m trying to create a legend. What better person than me to guide your career, to mold you into this superstar boxer who people will respect. But all these whispers, man, all these whispers.”
Things soured between De La Hoya and Garcia after Garcia’s loss to Davis in a pay-per-view blockbuster earlier this year. The disagreement behind the scenes broke into the open after Garcia accused his team of abandoning him and being “betrayed” in fight camp, and De La Hoya told him to “man up” after “crying” at the post-event presser for the Davis fight.
De La Hoya said he’s disappointed with the way the relationship has soured, but added his former Top Rank promoter Bob Arum “once told me, ‘Oscar, you’re gonna get disappointed, and they’re gonna break your heart’ – meaning fighters – ‘so don’t take it personal.’”
As of now, the now-legal feud appears to be at a standstill. De La Hoya said “people” in Garcia’s current inner circle have “kept me away from him” and doesn’t expect a resolution.
“But look, I’m a promoter, and I’m gonna be a promoter until I’m Bob Arum’s age,” he said. “I love the sport. I love boxing. It gave me everything I have. I hate it, but I love it. And fighters come and go.”
Asked whether they could still do business, De La Hoya said, “Yeah, absolutely. I still have several years in this contract.”
As for Hearn, the Matchroom Boxing chief, the only contracts binding them together are the ones they both have with streaming platform DAZN, which finds itself in the awkward position of doing business with warring factions. De La Hoya has traded verbal jabs with the British promoter over the past year over Canelo Alvarez, a potential fight between Edgar Berlanga vs. ex-champ Jaime Munguia, and how they run their respective businesses.
Asked to explain the root of the issue, De La Hoya said “there’s stuff I really can’t talk about because of business. But, look, he’s a great promoter in Europe in the U.K. Just let let me do my job here, and let me take care of business. Because obviously he doesn’t know the market here.
“He’s not building anything. He literally just spent I don’t know how many millions of dollars of DAZN’s money and still hasn’t built anything. What fighter has he built, other than maybe two or three that are from Europe that do not resonate here in the U.S. So let me do my job, let me build my champions here. Let me promote the biggest fights, like [Floyd] Mayweather. I promoted all these guys like, The Bronze Bomber [Deontay Wilder] and, and Errol Spence and Canelo [Alvarez]. Let me do my job.”
De La Hoya didn’t dismiss the idea of working with Hearn in the future, noting that in a business where feuds are the norm, business tends to make everything better. But he added that Hearn should stay out of the U.S. market.
“When I used to promote on HBO, and Don King was promoting on HBO, and Bob Arum was promoting on HBO, we were all like co-existing, and we were all promoting great – we were promoting the platform, we were promoting great fighters, and there was a piece of pie for everyone,” he said. “So he just doesn’t understand the market. There’s nothing wrong with that. Bob Arum, right now, is doing an amazing job on ESPN and you have other little small promoters here and there, but you know, I’m the promoter here in the U.S., and I know what I’m doing. ... If they understand the market and they do it right, [I’ll co-promote]. The problem is that he’s not doing that right.”