Mexico’s new hope, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, will step into the ring to try to become a two-division world champ by claiming the WBC and lineal middleweight title Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Sitting ringside will be Canelo’s promoter, mentor and, most importantly, friend Oscar De La Hoya.
De La Hoya was the most popular fighter of Mexican descent during his time in the ring, a similarity that now Alvarez also shares. De La Hoya has been close with Alvarez for quite some time now and one would assume that Oscar is passing down some old wisdom to his young protégé.
Oscar was involved in several mega fights during his career. He defeated Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. twice, Pernell Whitaker, and several other legends of the sport. The fight that may be Oscars most memorable, is Oscar’s first loss against Felix “Tito” Trinidad, another chapter in the Mexico-Puerto Rico boxing rivalry.
This fight is famous for Oscar getting robbed, as many people thought, but there was a specific reason Oscar lost: he boxed the last few rounds. Oscar either did not want to feel Trinidad’s power or he thought he was up on the cards by that wide of a margin. But whatever happened, it cost Oscar his perfect professional record, something you can’t get back.
Oscar seemed to change the way he fought after his first loss, battling until the final bell rang or until his opponent could no longer continue: a way that Canelo must fight like tomorrow night against Miguel Cotto.
One thing similar about Oscar and Canelo is that both of them seem to be willing to fight anyone. That is how Oscar fought his entire career and it looks as if Canelo is on a similar path. You always hear Canelo call guys out for being afraid to lose their 0, and told the media this week that you have to dare to be great and take risks.
Canelo is different from Oscar in this sense: he’s not the one to trash talk his opponent. He was asked about Oscars “Farewell Letter” to Floyd that was published by Playboy earlier this week. Alvarez had nothing to say about it, claiming that it was Oscar’s opinion and he did not have an opinion on the matter.
It feels like that torch for Mexican boxing star has been passed to Canelo, who is loved by his fans and is the biggest draw in boxing not named Floyd or Manny. Many comparisons have been made to Oscar and Canelo, and Oscar has said that he sees a lot of himself in Canelo.
Oscar is the perfect mentor for Canelo to have. The best teacher is someone who has had highs and lows and knows how it feels to be on both ends of the spectrum. We all know about Oscar’s problems towards the end of his career that leaked into his retirement.
Canelo and Oscar are two different fighters and it is unfair to compare Canelo to Oscar right now considering all the incredible things Oscar has accomplished in his boxing career, but that will always happen in individual sports, especially with two men of Mexican descent.
It will be interesting to see how Canelo, who has been in the spotlight since he was a teenager, will handle the second biggest fight of his career, and this time his friend Oscar De La Hoya will be there with him.