Floyd Mayweather Jr. hits a heavy bag as he works out at the Mayweather Boxing… (Ethan Miller / Getty Images )
Oscar De La Hoya, in keeping with his routine of picking a string of Golden Boy Promotions fighters who’ve taken on Floyd Mayweather Jr., has predicted Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will knock Mayweather out Saturday sometime around the eighth round.
Mayweather, amplifying the disdain he has displayed toward the boxer with whom he created the richest pay-per-view bout in the sport's history in 2007, has answered back in a personal way.
In a discussion with The Times late last month touching on many topics, Mayweather Jr. (44-0) said he wasn’t intimidated by the idea that De La Hoya has huddled to help Alvarez’s fight plan Saturday night at MGM Grand.
“I feel like Oscar couldn’t beat the king so he wants to see someone else beat the king,” Mayweather Jr. said. “It’s chess. … I can knock them all off the board. I’m amazing like that.
“Oscar’s just jealous of me. He don’t have money like me. He’s not flyer than me.
“Oscar ... likes to run around with this Golden Boy image, which we know really is [false]. He’s always been jealous of me. I’m the total package.”
De La Hoya has acknowledged publicly he’s recovering from alcohol and drug addiction.
He told Times columnist Bill Dwyre in a recent interview that he attends recovery meetings six times a week, sometimes twice a day.
"The fight life, that was easy," De La Hoya said in the story. "This is a battle I have every day. There I was, the Golden Boy ... and all the time, I felt like crap. … I'm a nice guy, but I did bad things, made bad decisions. I can't go back."
Mayweather, who doesn’t smoke or drink alcohol, said De La Hoya’s public appearances are “real embarrassing. I wouldn’t even show up to the fights if I were him.
Although De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions has helped Mayweather promote all of his fights since 2007, Mayweather gives credit for that to Golden Boy’s chief executive, Richard Schaefer, and added, “Richard Schaefer’s a good guy, but Oscar’s [not]."
De La Hoya did not immediately respond to messages left for him by The Times on Monday asking him to answer Mayweather’s criticisms.
Schaefer, close friends with both men, said, “I’m playing the Swiss role with this. Things are bad with them, and I hope they don’t boil over at Wednesday’s press conference” in Las Vegas.
Schaefer said the animosity between Mayweather and De La Hoya dating to their heated exchanges before their 2007 fight -- won by Mayweather by split decision -- has intensified as De La Hoya has been so vocal in picking Alvarez to win this Saturday fight.
“I haven’t seen Oscar be this outspoken in picking the Golden Boy fighter as he has for this fight,” Schaefer said. “I think that’s opened up some old wounds on Floyd from 2007. Oscar is even saying he thought he won their fight. So the old fire is back.”
The comments could also be perceived as nothing more than a way to hype the Mayweather-Alvarez fight.
“Oscar is a great businessman, and Floyd … I’ve never seen someone who’s a better self-promoter, he’s a marketing genius,” Schaefer said. “Both guys are brilliant. There is competitiveness between Floyd and Oscar. This keeps it going.
“I just have to make sure it doesn’t get completely out of control. I think I’ll take a helmet with me to the press conference.”
[Update, 3:21 p.m.: De La Hoya responded Monday afternoon to Mayweather's comments through his secretary, Nicole Becerra.]
"Oscar said he is deeply sorry if he hurt or made any hurtful comments towards Floyd, that he is deeply sorry and he apologizes, and one day he will make amends to him personally," Becerra wrote in an email to The Times.
Becerra added that De La Hoya wanted it relayed, "I am a grateful recovering alcoholic."
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