Oscar De La Hoya said that the idea for the biggest boxing match of 2016 thus far came to him while watching a Republican presidential debate.
“You know how controversial Trump is,” De La Hoya told TMZ. “I said let me put in Amir Khan, who is Muslim, and then let me put in Canelo Alvarez, the Mexican fighter who is the most popular fighter on the planet today. Let me put them in there and create this big mega-event and show that [Muslims and Mexicans] belong in this country. Thank you, Trump.”
Alvarez and Khan fight on Cinco de Mayo Saturday, a weekend event that De La Hoya turned into a sort of Super Bowl of boxing during his career. The Alvarez-Khan fight, pitting two popular fighters with a striking difference in natural weight, falls in the “makes dollars, makes sense” category. But otherwise matching up a very good 140-pounder against an excellent 154-pounder seems a stretch. So, perhaps De La Hoya does not jest when he says the idea came to him from Donald Trump and his Republican rivals.
Khan owns wins over Carlos Molina, an aging Zab Judah, Marcos Maidana, Pauli Malignaggi, and a number of other quality fighters. But he’s been stopped at both lightweight and junior welterweight, which suggests bad things in a move up against the heavy-hitting middleweight champion. Alvarez boasts victories over James Kirkland, Miguel Cotto, and Kermit Cintron. While he doesn’t hold Gennady Golovkin in his gloves, Alvarez bangs. And should the Brit not effectively use his boxing to elude the stronger man, he surely eats a bigger bang. But as Sugar Ray Leonard and Sugar Ray Robinson before him proved, speed can serve as an advantage against bigger men at middleweight.
The pair fight at a 155-pound catchweight. Although Alvarez reigns as the lineal middleweight champion, the catchweight plays as hardly a concession to Khan given that the Mexican’s natural home resides at junior middleweight. But boxing at 155 enables the fighters to compete for the middleweight belt Alvarez wears.
As Khan and Canelo itch to get in the ring in Las Vegas on May 7, the retired multiweight champion promoting the fight says he wouldn’t mind taking on a certain billionaire presidential candidate with a history of staging both boxing and MMA bouts.
“If I had the opportunity to climb into the ring with [Trump],” De La Hoya insists, “I would knock him out with one punch.”