On Golden Boy Radio, the Olympic gold medalist and six-division world champion stated, “I’ve been secretly training. I could take out Conor McGregor in two rounds. I’ll come back for that. I’m calling him out.”
De La Hoya was outspoken in his criticism of the boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and McGregor, saying it “made a mockery of the sport.” The Golden Boy CEO might also have been upset because it took place just three weeks before the Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez fight, which was promoted by his company.
A match between De La Hoya and McGregor seems plausible. The UFC lightweight champion reportedly earned $130 million for his tenth round stoppage loss to Mayweather in August and the only place he is likely to achieve another payday of that magnitude is the boxing ring.
There was some speculation that McGregor might face former sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi in a boxing match. A war of words erupted between the two after some sparring footage was leaked, but the former two-weight world champion has never been a bonafide pay-per-view star.
De La Hoya, on the other hand, has been involved in some of the most lucrative fights of the century. His 2007 fight with Mayweather generated 2.48 million pay-per-view buys and shattered all box office records at the time, plus he runs arguably the biggest promotion in the boxing world.
McGregor surpassed expectations by making it into the tenth round against Mayweather, meaning fight fans would still be willing to pay to watch him box. He would also have marginally more chance of success against an older fighter who has been inactive for nearly a decade and lost four out of his last seven bouts.
At some stage, McGregor will have to defend his UFC title and Dana White has stated that lightweight challenger Tony Ferguson is next in line. But if the Irishman’s camp is looking to make the most lucrative fight possible then De La Hoya might be a more attractive option than anything the MMA world currently has to offer.
(Follow @JamesGoyder on Twitter)