Is Oscar De Le Hoya Bad For Boxing?
Forty years ago Pete Townsend of the Who wrote the legendary line song "Won't Get Fooled Again" containing the classic line, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
That line pops in my head whenever I hear anything coming out of the Golden Boy camp these days. And I think that's a damn shame.
Let me start by saying I have been an Oscar De La Hoya fan all my life. When others trashed Oscar I always defended him.
I live in Los Angeles where a lot of the locals did not take to Oscar at the beginning of his career. People here said he was too pretty. Others said he was protected by the power brokers in boxing. Still others complained that he wasn't "Mexican" enough.
Over the years he not only took on all of his critics, he took on all comers. He probably hurt his career answering all of the doubters and skeptics.
He took every fight that came his way. Going from Super Featherweight all the way to Super Middleweight to fight the much bigger Bernard Hopkins. He made his foes rich and he always treated them graciously in and out of the ring.
As a fighter he always put the health of boxing ahead of his own considerations. I can think of several fighters who would probably be sleeping in a box downtown instead of a nice warm house if it weren't for Oscar agreeing to fight them back in the day.
That's why his recent actions as the head of GBP have been so puzzling to me.
Golden Boy Promotions have acted no different than any other boxing promoter that I have seen over the years. In fact they're starting to make Bob Arum look like a swell guy. That's something I used to believe only Don King was capable of doing.
From their mishandling of their two best young fighters, Victor Ortiz and James Kirkland, to the ridiculous mud slinging and posturing during the Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations that have not only scuttled the fight but tarnished the reputations of all involved.
I'd like to think Oscar would know better since he has seen the effects of scummy promoters up close and personal over the years, but his most recent public statements make me think otherwise.
Can Oscar be serious trying to sell boxing fans the Roy Jones-Bernard Hopkins fight as legit? And does he really think John Ruiz is a top heavyweight like he claimed last week?
And his personal involvement in the Pacquiao negotiations was not only problematic, it helped scuttle the one fight all boxing fans wanted to see this year.
His actions were problematic because just months earlier Golden Boy refused additional testing for admitted drug cheat and GBP partner Shane Mosley. They were problematic because his statements were factually incorrect.
And they were problematic because they hurt the sport that Oscar has always claimed he cared so much about.
When a promoter puts his own monetary interests above the interests of the sport it stinks. And that's what Oscar and GBP has been doing with their most recent actions. Just like Don King. Just like Bob Arum. Just like any number of other shady promoters that have dominated boxing since the beginning of time.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
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