Boxing legend and Golden Boy Promotions founder Oscar De La Hoya had some choice words for Matchroom Boxing's Eddie Hearn, who promoted Canelo Alvarez for his WBA light heavyweight title loss to Dmitry Bivol.
As Lance Pugmire of USA Today wrote, De La Hoya never mentioned Hearn by name, but it was clear who he was referring to.
"The fact that the promoter of this event pushed Bivol on Canelo, it was the dumbest move in boxing history ... it’s not knowing boxing."
"It was the stupidest move ... whoever allowed Canelo to fight Bivol. I would’ve never allowed Canelo to fight Bivol. Look exactly at what happened. Canelo’s on the top of the world. He’s the king. Why fight a guy that if Canelo fights 10 times, he loses 10 times? And he has nothing to gain. Nothing to win. Nobody knew Bivol."
Bivol beat Alvarez via unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the bout 115-113 in his favor.
The fight didn't appear to be as close as the judges' scorecards indicated, with numerous analysts claiming that Bivol did far better. Boxing Scene reported that "most at ringside had scored the bout either 118-110 or 117-111 for the champion."
Bivol had to win the last round just to avoid a draw.
Mike Coppinger @MikeCoppinger
Dmitry Bivol retains his light heavyweight title with the major upset victory!! 115-113 on all three cards. What a scene in Las Vegas. Can’t believe judges had it that close. I had irt 118-110. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CaneloBivol?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CaneloBivol</a>
Al Bernstein @AlBernstein
So, the three 115-113 cards in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CaneloBivol?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CaneloBivol</a> were not correct. It had to be at least a 116-112 fight, possibly 117-111. BUT at least the right guy won. Another upset in boxing this year. Great performance by Bivol.
Bivol was excellent and deserved to win. At the same token, this was a very difficult task for Alvarez, albeit one he welcomed, per ESPN's Mike Coppinger.
"I feel like I can come out of this fight with my head held high because I gave the best of me in a different weight class," Alvarez said regarding his challenge for Bivol's WBA light heavyweight title. "I'm looking for challenges that take me out of my comfort zone."
Alvarez's home is in super middleweight, where he remains the unified champion.
Still, De La Hoya believes that Hearn didn't do any favors steering Alvarez toward the Bivol fight:
"It’s (the promoter’s) job to guide a fighter’s career. It’s your job to know what’s the best move, to see what the biggest and best fight for his career is. This was a terrible fight for Canelo’s career. Styles make fights. Bivol’s a great fighter. And nobody knew who Bivol was before this fight. People were not even thinking of Bivol."
Regarding the fight itself, De La Hoya had some remarks on both fighters:
"I’m sure it was a shocker to all the casual fans who don’t understand how and why Bivol beat Canelo. But Bivol was the bigger guy, he was the better guy, he had the better game plan and he beat Canelo hands-down. If you look carefully, Bivol fought a disciplined fight. His distance was perfection.
"Every time Canelo wanted to throw a hard left hook to the body or to the head, Bivol either got closer or backed up to the perfect distance to deflate Canelo’s power. And Bivol’s jab was a thing of beauty. The one thing Bivol didn’t care about was the crowd. When Canelo was on the ropes trying to lure him in, Bivol was no dummy. He just stood away. He didn’t care what the fans thought. He just fought his own fight and won easily."
As for what's next, Alvarez said he plans to activate his rematch clause for another bout with the champ. Bivol told Behind the Gloves that he'd like a rematch at super middleweight for Alvarez's four belts in that division.
As for Hearn and Alvarez, the promoter told Alan Dawson of Business Insider before the fight that he didn't anticipate Matchroom Boxing's deal with Alvarez lasting after it expires later this year.