Oscar’s mission to save boxing

OSCAR DE LA HOYA says Saturday’s super-fight against Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas is about much more than defining a generation of world-class boxers – it is about saving his sport.

De La Hoya has long been boxing’s pay-per-view king, grossing USD492 over his 17 previous pay-TV contests. It is expected his clash with Mayweather will break two million purchases for the first time.

It is just what boxing needs in an era where the sport is suffering as never before, stricken by the absence of a recognised heavyweight champion and pummelled by the rising popularity of Ultimate Fighting.

And 34-year-old De La Hoya, who juggles his day job with the task of establishing his Golden Boy promotions as the pre-eminent promotional force in the US, has never been shy about the legacy he intends to leave.

De La Hoya said: “It boils down to the best fighting the best. And all the fighters out there watching this event are going to say, you know what, I want to be there. I want to fight the best.

“It is not only going to attract fans, it is not only going to attract the attention of the boxing world. It is going to create that momentum of fighters fighting each other in one big event after the other.”

Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaeffer, a former Swiss banker and De La Hoya’s closest confidant, was more straight-forward. “We want this to go down as the night that saved boxing,” he said.

De La Hoya’s frequent proclamations alluding to the success of his business empire have riled Mayweather, who is adamant he deserves parity in terms of recognition for his acumen outside the sport.

As if to emphasise the point, Mayweather sported USD1million of diamond jewellery at the final press conference prior to the fight on Wednesday, but most of the trash-talking which has littered the build-up was absent.

Mayweather said: “It takes two to get to this point. He talks about being the most decorated or most famous fighter of his era but that’s not true, the highest paid fighter of our era would be Mike Tyson.

“Oscar must realise that I’m happy for what he did in the sport. I’m not mad at him for what he did in the sport. All I’m saying is, all the other fighters he beat, I’m a totally different fighter to them.

“I’m excited to get this opportunity to show again why I am pound-for-pound the best in the world and add another title to my collection. I respect everything Oscar has accomplished, but he is in over his head.”

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