LOS ANGELES — Oscar De La Hoya knows all too well about bolstering with Top Rank boss Bob Arum. In the year 2000, the Golden Boy sued and eventually parted ways with the Hall of Fame promoter.
Twenty-two years later, another star fighter linked to Top Rank severed his relationship with the Las Vegas-based company when Terence Crawford sued for breach of contract and alleging racial bias in January.
WBO welterweight champion Crawford was tied to Top Rank throughout his rise as a three-division titlist, but after his contract with the company expired in his last fight in November, a stoppage win over Shawn Porter, the Nebraska native chose to take the separation to the next level.
De La Hoya is one of the few major promoters who has the potential bankroll and a suitable opponent to entertain the idea of offering Crawford a deal.
Crawford still wants to campaign as a welterweight, a division full of talent. Some of the best 147-pounders in the world are linked to early boxing champions Al Haymon.
Just as Crawford is trying to get career-defining matches, Vergil Ortiz Jr. is looking to land a decisive match.
De La Hoya is eager to offer his promising candidate a date with Bud.
However, De La Hoya is not comfortable with this scenario as Crawford is actively involved in an ongoing legal battle with his former promoter.
“We haven’t had a conversation with Terence Crawford’s people or anyone, just the fact that he’s involved in a lawsuit here with Bob Arum, so we didn’t really want to shake things up there. “, De La Hoya told BoxingScene.com. in an interview. “But yeah, when things are resolved and everything is lit to start talking and negotiating and potentially making a fight happen, absolutely. We would be delighted. Why not? I’ve always been known to fight the best and as a promoter I want my fighters to fight the best when they’re ready, and Vergil Ortiz is ready.
Ortiz is ranked No. 1 challenger by the WBO for Crawford’s belt.
The 23-year-old knockout artist is also adamant that he’s up for the challenge.
“I’m ready for [Terence Crawford] whenever. I love the opportunity,” Ortiz told BoxingScene.com in an interview.
Whether it’s Crawford or any other former champion, Ortiz says he’s more than ready for a big test after proving himself admirably against former Crawford foe Egidijus Kavaliauskas and former world titlist Maurice Hooker.
“I was open to [Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia fights] Few years ago. It’s not on my side. I’m open to that,” Ortiz said. “I feel like I’ve grown, not necessarily to the best potential I could have had, but I feel like I’m more than ready to compete for a world title.”
Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs) was scheduled to face British contender Michael McKinson on March 19 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles on DAZN. On Tuesday, he retired after being hospitalized with an illness. Ortiz is expected to make a full recovery, with De La Hoya expecting a return date in the near future.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and audiovisual reporter. He is also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, by email at manouk[dot]acope[at]gmail.com or at www.ManoukAkopyan.com.