The decision made by Canelo Alvarez and his team to drop out of the May 4 card headlined by Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Robert Guerrero took a bit of a toll on the fighter's promoter, but in the end, Oscar De La Hoya says he would have made the same choice.
Alvarez had been scheduled to face Austin Trout in the co-headler at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but when Mayweather wouldn't commit to a follow-up September fight with Canelo, the undefeated junior middleweight titlist quickly broke away to put on his own card, set for Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
"I applaud him. It was not an easy decision to make, but it was the right one," said De La Hoya, who during his time as a fighter helped transform Cinco de Mayo weekend into a celebration that encompassed some of boxing's biggest blockbusters. "The fact that Mayweather did not want to sign the contract to fight Canelo in September, I think I would have done the same thing -- set my own card -- to show the fans that I can tell Mayweather, 'I don't need you.' It was the right choice."
Alvarez says that he initially didn't want to be part of the May 4 card, but he agreed to it only on the condition that Mayweather face him a few months later. It wasn't long, though, before Canelo and his team decided that, without a contract signed by Mayweather, it wasn't in the fighter's best interest to remain on the card and help boost pay-per-view sales for someone else's main event.
"We are a team -- my father, Saul and myself got together," said Alvarez's trainer, Eddy Reynoso, whose father, Chepo, is Canelo's manager. "Mayweather did not want to sign the agreement that was made to fight him in September. We don't need to do whatever everybody else says. Each person must take care of his own business.
"We are not in a hurry. [Canelo] is 22. He already has five title defenses. He is making very good money, so we do not need to depend on other fighters."
De La Hoya praised Alvarez and the Reynoso family for knowing what they want and sticking to their guns to achieve it: "They want to become the best in the world, the best in this sport, the best in history.
"I think we made the right decision for Canelo's career. Because Mayweather is already established. He is the king of pay-per-view. And I'm taking care of Canelo, to develop him and make him a superstar."
And then De La Hoya made a promise: that the September card his company is scheduled to put on -- most likely on the eve of Mexican Independence Day -- will be headlined by Alvarez.
"He is Mexican," De La Hoya said, "it is Mexico's Independence Day, where a Mexican fights on that date. Like Julio Cesar Chavez did. Like I did. Even though I was born in the U.S., I've got Mexican heritage. So Canelo wants to fight in September, and I will deliver the promise I made."
Alvarez was a main-eventer on Mexican Independence Day last year in Las Vegas, beating Josesito Lopez by TKO in the fifth round, and was a co-main event fighter in Los Angeles on split cards in 2011 and 2010 against Alfonso Gomez and Carlos Baldomir, respectively.
After it was all said and done, De La Hoya said, the reason Mayweather wouldn't commit to face Canelo came down to a healthy respect.
"They know it is a dangerous fight," De La Hoya said, casting an eye to the future, "but in the end, they will have no choice but to take the fight."