Oscar De La Hoya has named his man in the two-horse race ahead of one of the most hotly-anticipated fights in the sport.
The Golden Boy head honcho was ringside on Saturday night to watch his star man Vergil Ortiz Jr. extend his unbeaten run.
Ortiz Jr. moved to 19-0, all by stoppage, finishing the brave challenge of England’s Michael McKinson, who slipped to 22-1 with two quick, in the ninth round of a scheduled 12 at the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.
And De La Hoya was there to see it.
But the 48-year-old, who won 11 world titles in six weight classes, including the lineal championship in three divisions, has had his say on the proposed welterweight showdown between world champions Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford.
Spence, the WBC and IBF champion at the weight, added the WBA Super belt to his collection earlier this year with a stoppage win over Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas and in the aftermath promised fans the undisputed showdown with ‘Bud’.
Though it has yet to be confirmed, it is widely understood that the two world champions will meet in an undisputed welterweight showdown later this year.
When speaking to fighthype.com DeLaHoya said:
“Whatever we have to do, we’re going to continue to push Verg Ortiz to get that title shot.
“That will hopefully come at the end of this year and, if not, in the first quarter of next year.”
Crawford was last seen between the ropes in November 2021 when he stopped Shawn Porter, the former IBF welterweight champion, to retain his WBO crown.
But it’s not the 38-0 (29 KOs) man, for whom the aforementioned Ortiz is the mandatory challenger, that De La Hoya is backing to win the fight when it eventually happens.
“It might make it easier [if Crawford wins] because of the WBO, but I like both guys.
“Spence – and I always said it when I was promoting him – can be like a Sugar Ray Leonard of our era. He’s an amazing human with firepower and abilities to think in the ring. His footwork and everything is great, but Crawford is a little more elusive.”
Both Crawford and Spence have showcased their skills in the UK, with the former coming to dethrone Ricky Burns of the WBO lightweight title back in 2014 and the latter stopping Kell Brook – who suffered a fractured eye socket in defeat – at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane three years later.
With most in the sport seemingly leaning towards Crawford to get his hand raised, De La Hoya has other ideas:
Crawford has more weapons that he can use against Spence, who is sometimes a little too mechanical, but it’s going to be a very interesting fight.
“Spence is a very dangerous puncher and he’s my favorite to win, but the fight – if it gets made – is one that is going to excite fans because both guys are the very best at 147 pounds.”