Golden Boy Promotions recently endured the setback of their highest-profile fighter Ryan Garcia losing to Gervonta Davis, and on Saturday therefore need Jaime Munguia to impress against Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Oscar De La Hoya discusses the careers of both, and expresses his concerns for Saul Alvarez, and about retirement and the effects of CTE, with Declan Warrington
BN: Jaime Munguia is fighting Sergiy Derevyanchenko when Saul Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin and Jermall Charlo are being spoken of as potential opponents…
[Sergiy] Derevyanchenko was probably the only fighter available to fight Jaime Munguia. Everyone else either was busy; was hurt; their promoters didn’t want to work with us. Whatever it might be. But Derevyanchenko stepped up; he’s a tough fighter. He’s been in there with Triple G; with [Carlos] Adames. He’s given all of these fighters tooth and nail; life or death inside the ring. So, he’s a tough guy. This fight here is a very difficult fight for Munguia. But Munguia has an opportunity to make a big statement. If he can stop Derevyanchenko or knock him out, it’ll put Jaime Munguia on everyone’s radar, and hopefully make these big fights happen – like Charlo, [David] Benavidez, and possibly even Canelo [Saul Alvarez].
In boxing you’re as good as your last fight – that’s just the bottom line. You can be a world champion 20 times over, but if you have a bad outing then you’re as good as your last fight. Jaime Munguia having a spectacular outing against Derevyanchenko will put him on everybody’s radar, and hopefully it can make future fights much easier for us to make.
The most realistic can be a Benavidez, at 168lbs. I strongly feel that Benavidez is the type of fighter – ‘cause I’ve met him several times; we’ve talked from fighter to fighter – who wants to fight anybody. He just wants to go out there and be in the ring and prove to himself and give the fight fans some good fights. That’s all he wants to do. So I respect that – so a fight with him and Jaime Munguia would be a big fight.
We’ve been trying to get a hold of [Gennady] Golovkin but we keep hearing that he’s retired, so we’re not really too sure. It’s not official, but we strongly feel that Jaime Munguia having a great outing against [former Golovkin opponent] Derevyanchenko can hopefully lure in a Triple G. Triple G, after losing to Canelo and being older – it’s kind of like he’s falling off the radar now. He would need this kind of fight against Munguia to get back on the map. It would almost be like both guys meeting each other [in the middle], so I wouldn’t mind making that fight happen.
If there’s enough public pressure – if Jaime Munguia is beating the guys that Canelo doesn’t want to fight, like Benavidez, like Charlo – if Jaime can make a statement, fighting those guys and beating them and there’s public demand, that’s the fight to make. Imagine an all-Mexican war. Civil war. It would be incredible. It would be amazing. It really hasn’t happened since [Marco Antonio] Barrera vs [Erik] Morales [from 2000 to 2004; Morales is Munguia’s trainer]. It hasn’t since [Julio Cesar] Chavez fought Mario Martinez for Chavez’s first world title [in 1984], so it would be amazing.
BN: What did you make of Alvarez’s past performance, against John Ryder?
I did see Canelo slow down. I did see a lot of wear and tear. Ryder, yeah, he’s a tough guy – he’s a rock. But rocks – you can easily chisel them down and crack ‘em open. If Canelo was younger he would have maybe knocked him out. But we saw him drop him and he couldn’t finish him, so those are signs of wear and tear. Those are signs of the operations he’s had in his hands; in his knees. The end is near, and that’s the bottom line – that’s the truth. I hate to say it, but every fighter has to go through it.
BN: What about his plans to have a rematch with Dmitrii Bivol, having lost so convincingly last year?
I don’t like it for Canelo. Bivol is a superior boxer on his legs; he’s an amazing, incredible, incredible athlete, and that’s the one style that Canelo will never beat. If he does, more power to him. It’ll be the biggest thing in boxing – which I would be rooting for. But from my fighter’s point of view, and perspective, that style is not good for Canelo.
It was a bad match-up for Alvarez. As a promoter, if you’re going to put him in against a superior boxer like Bivol, you first put him in with a similar style – [an opponent] that is not too dangerous – before you put him in against Bivol. That’s how you do things – you test them out first. Canelo cannot handle boxers. He’s too heavy in his hips and his legs – he’s too heavy. So you have to warm him up into that style.
BN: What’s next for Ryan Garcia?
Ryan sent out his hit list. Teofimo Lopez, Isaac “The Pitbull” Cruz, and Rolando “Rolly” Romero. Those three opponents would be big for Ryan Garcia. But I have another name for you – Manny Pacquiao. It’ll be the biggest fight for Pacquiao, to make the most money, and it’d be the biggest fight for Ryan Garcia, to make the most money. We’re looking at September, October.
BN: How do you feel about suggestions that a disagreement led to you not attending his press conference after his defeat by Gervonta Davis?
I don’t follow or listen to those comments – it’s just nonsense. We strongly feel that Ryan Garcia handles himself well. He was a gentleman when going to his press conference, and embracing “Tank” Davis, who’d just knocked him out, like they were friends. He handled it correctly so I’m very happy for him.
BN: What about him splitting from his trainer Joe Goossen, and recruiting Derrick James?
If Ryan Garcia didn’t feel that Joe Goossen was much of a help, then obviously he has a right to choose any trainer he wants to, and I believe he made the right choice. The [new] trainer he chose is a good teacher.
Not only does he train Errol Spence, one of the best welterweights in the game today, but he has several fighters under his tutelage that he’s taught; that he’s helped to grow and go better. The school that he teaches is far superior from a lot of trainers out there.
If [Ryan] feels comfortable, and he feels that he’s learning – he continues to learn – with one trainer, you stick to that one trainer. But once you grow out of it; once you feel like your trainer cannot teach you anymore, you move on. It’s what you do in boxing. It’s what you do in anything. Why would you want to stay stuck in one place and not learn? That’s exactly what I did – I had seven different trainers [De La Hoya often speaks of Floyd Mayweather Snr as the best he worked under]. I learned from every single one, and that’s why I was able to win 11 world titles in six weight divisions.
BN: How big a loss has Robert Diaz been to Golden Boy?
A matchmaker is a matchmaker and we just move on. We have other matchmakers in our business, and we’re doing better than ever.
BN: Kell Brook and Luke Campbell are among those who recently spoke to Boxing News about their struggles with retirement…
With any athlete that retires you feel lost; you feel empty. I know exactly what he’s going through, and he [a recently retired boxer] can get through it, because he has that fighter’s heart. He has fighter’s discipline. He doesn’t have to go to the dark side. It’s always a two-way street. Whether he chooses a dark side is one thing, but there’s also the light, so it’s a matter of having that discipline. It’s a matter of being strong. It’s a matter of having the heart to look yourself in the mirror and say, “I can do this, just the way I fought in the ring; just the way it takes courage to fight in the ring; to get up in the ring”. He can do that. I have the knowledge. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I’ve come out to the light, and right now I can be the voice; I can be these fighters’ tutor, or whatever it might be, because I’ve been there. It’s not easy. It’s hard. But you can get through it.
BN: A recent Thomas Hauser article suggesting Anthony Joshua should retire also brought renewed focus on to the effects of CTE…
It hasn’t been a concern for myself, but you’re in the sport that, unfortunately, you get hit a few times in the head and in sparring, and things are going to happen. Hopefully everything is okay. But it’s always a big concern. Who knows? When I’m 59, 60, 75 – who knows what’s going to happen in here [points to his head] because of the punches? But that’s the risk we take.
I do [monitor myself] all the time. I sometimes find myself forgetting things. So I must do something about it. Train your brain. Keep learning. Keep studying. Keep reading. Work your mind; work your brain. That’s exactly what you have to do. A lot of fighters – even athletes or entertainers – once they retire they do nothing. You’ve gotta continue using your brain. You’ve gotta continue eating right. Be healthy, and work your mind. That’s the most important thing you have up here – it’s your mind.