De La Hoya praises Oscar Duarte ahead of fight with Kingry on Saturday

By Dan Ambrose - 12/01/2023 - Comments

Promoter Oscar De La Hoya was heaping praise on the young knockout artist Oscar Duarte at today’s weigh-in for his catchweight fight against Ryan Garcia this Saturday night at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas and live on DAZN.

De La Hoya really believes in Duarte and feels he has the power and talent to go far. If he can defeat Ryan on Saturday night, this would lead to bigger fighters for the Mexican warrior, either at 135 or 140.

With the enthusiasm that De La Hoya was showing towards Duarte (26-1-1, 21 KOs) after the weigh-in, you would think that he was the A-side, the guy that is being given a big push to superstardom, not Ryan Garcia, who had a sour look on his face like he had a chip on his shoulder.

You could tell from the look on Ryan’s face that he wasn’t a happy camper and didn’t want to be there. Hopefully, his negative attitude doesn’t carry over into the fight because Duarte is highly motivated and views this bout as his ticket to bigger & better things.

After the weigh-in, De La Hoya admitted that he was breaking from the usual tradition of matching a fighter with a soft puncher after they’d been knocked out with his decision to have the recently KO’d Ryan Garcia take on the hard-hitting Duarte.

It was a decision that De La Hoya and the other top Golden Boy Promotions brass made after a lot of discussion on the matter because their company must provide quality fights for DAZN.

It’s a different era now in the sport, where promoters must provide compelling match-ups that fans want to see and bring in high ratings, subscribers & PPVs.

Besides, Ryan won’t be able to rebuild his career if he’s matched against no-hopers, like virtually all of theĀ  23 guys he’s beaten during his seven-year professional career.

Throwing Ryan back into the deep end with someone who could potentially knock him out was a good move by Golden Boy Promotions because Duarte will show whether Kingry is mentally & physically ready to compete for a world title.

If Ryan loses, it would prove the belief that some fans have that he was never cut out to be a top-rung level fighter, and was better at hanging out on Instagram or YouTube, flapping his gums.

De La Hoya predicts Duarte will surprise fans on Saturday

Oscar De La Hoya: “We’re closing out the year with a big bang, Ryan Garcia vs. Oscar Duarte. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said De La Hoya to the DAZN Boxing show, talking about this Saturday’s bout in Houston, Texas.

Akin Reyes: “Looking at Oscar Duarte, he’s giving me the Canelo vibes. The look, in shape, and he’s a stalker like that. Do you get that from him?”

De La Hoya: “He’s [Duarte] a hard worker. He’s dedicated. He’s got the demeanor, he’s got the skills, he’s got the work ethic. He’s got to put it all together. I think people are going to be surprised with Oscar Duarte when he gets inside the ring.

“He’s been learning every single fight. He’s got 11 straight knockouts for a reason, so he’s no pushover.”

We just saw Showtime give up on boxing, and some believe that was a decision made by Paramount in reaction to the many poor fights that had been put on in recent years.

There were nonstop mismatches and fights that should have happened but never did. Last weekend’s mismatch between David Benavidez & Demetrius Andrade is a perfect example of that. A terrible fight that no one wanted to see.

Barak Bess: “Maybe this is why Ryan thinks you want him [Duarte] to win because you’ve been kind of high on Duarte. Is that just because that’s what you see? Obviously, you need Ryan to win, correct?”

Has Ryan Garcia been matched too tough?

De La Hoya: “It’s not that I need Ryan to win or I’m rooting for Oscar. I’m the promoter for the event, but I’m also a fan of the sport, and I’m a fighter first. I see this fight as a good fight. I’m excited for this fight as a fighter.”

Akin Reyes: “Do you have an input in the matchmaking? Do you talk to the matchmakers? ‘I like this fight, it’s a great match-up.'”

De La Hoya points out that they had three options for Ryan Garcia’s fight. One was Duarte, and the other was Teofimo Lopez, who reportedly turned down the fight. According to De La Hoya, the third fighter they wanted was a world champion at 140, but Ryan wanted Duarte.

It’s unclear if the fighter that Ryan chose not to face was IBF 140-lb champion Subriel Matias, but it would make sense if it were him because that would have taken a lot of bravery on Kingry’s part to face him. If it were WBA champ Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero, that’s another guy who wouldn’t have been a good option for Ryan.

De La Hoya: “What we do is we sit down with the matchmakers. We also sit down with some of the managers to just get input about what they think. Stylistically wise, we bring in Bernard Hopkins.

“The very best, who know how to dissect opponents and know how to dissect styles. We’re very careful in what we do, but inside the ring, we never know what’s going to happen.”

Bess: “We’ve been talking about this all week. There are three names on the table, and this is who was picked. Can we know the other two names, please?”

De La Hoya: “The other two names were Teofimo Lopez, which I knew that fight wouldn’t happen this time around on December 2nd, but you have to present to the fighters the best options possible. I believe the other guy is another world champion. I’m not sure which one, but he picked Oscar Duarte.

“I was actually surprised because Oscar Duarte is a knockout artist. He knows how to walk you down and dissect you in every round.”

Bess: “Won’t that work well for Ryan, though, with you walking into that left hook? You might go to sleep.”

De La Hoya: “It does work well, but I’m not sure how he’s going to perform and how he’s going to react after getting knocked out by Tank Davis.

“People have to realize that after you get knocked out, your next fight, they always pick an easy opponent. They always pick a guy who doesn’t hit hard. They say they have feathers in their fists. Oscar Duarte hits hard, so you never know.”

If Showtime hadn’t recently given up on boxing, it’s possible that Golden Boy would have matched Ryan Garcia, a lesser fighter, without worry, but the climate has changed.

In this new era, promoters can’t afford to provide networks with slop entertainment and expect them to stick with the sport due to the low ratings those types of events bring in. They must put their fighters in risky fights, whether they want to or not.

Reyes: “You mentioned Teofimo. Is there any truth to that offer of $1.5 million? He’s putting it out on social media.”

De La Hoya: “It didn’t come from me, not at all. It’s a great opportunity. I think Floyd Schofield is the next superstar in boxing, let me tell you. He has the work ethic, and he has the skill. This guy floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.”

Bess: “What does that train look like? Is he going to step up next year or the year after?”

De La Hoya: “I want to see him step up next year. I think he’s ready.”

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