Hall of Fame fighter turned promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, has branded Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez’ statement that he doesn’t want to fight his countrymen as a ‘cop out.’
Following his lost to Dmitry Bivol – an ambitious but unsuccessful jump up to light heavyweight – Canelo was adamant that he would attempt it again, and called for the rematch to take place. Bivol was instead ordered to defend his WBA title against Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez, which takes place this Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
Before his trilogy fight with Gennady Golovkin, Álvarez was asked by USA Today if his drive to win a belt at light heavyweight would remain the same should Ramirez beat Bivol. He gave an answer that he probably didn’t assume to make as many headlines as it did.
“If it’s Zurdo, I don’t want to fight with Mexicans … I represent Mexico. I think Zurdo has a chance to win and I want him to win.”
Canelo went on to defend the comment and demand respect for never turning down a challenge, but it’s unclear if his mind has been changed. Oscar De La Hoya, who guided Canelo’s career for a period of time, was asked about the comments by Boxing Social. The fighter turner promoter said he simply didn’t want to face ‘Zurdo’ because it was a tough fight.
“Obviously, knowing boxing, Zurdo [Ramirez] winning obviously means that he will call out Canelo – and Canelo saying that he will not fight Mexicans, to me, is a cop out as a fighter.”
“I think about Julio Cesar Chavez against [Mario] Azabache Martínez – the best Mexican brawl ever. Absolutely [Mexicans would love to see Canelo face Ramirez], it will be an all-out war. There’s fighters that fighters don’t want to fight and Zurdo Ramirez … is a fight that Canelo does not want.”
Two things are worth pointing out – De La Hoya promotes Ramirez, and his working relationship with Canelo didn’t end very well. Although it’s hard to argue that fans would appreciate witnessing two giants of the sport from their country battling it out in the ring.
Should Ramirez come out victorious on Saturday, there’s no doubt that the question will be put to Saul Álvarez once more – and fans will be curious to see if the answer has changed.