Golden Boy Promotions boss Oscar De La Hoya has challenged the Cork fighter and his Canadian counterpart to win sensationally to put their name in the mix for a big-money fight with Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez.
Alvarez rematches WBA and WBC middleweight king Gennady Golovkin in Las Vegas on Saturday September 15th in Las Vegas with his Golden Boy stablemates Lemieux and O’Sullivan clashing in one of the main undercard bouts at the T-Mobile Arena.
O’Sullivan v Lemieux has been packaged as something of an ‘eliminator’ to face the winner of the main event – who De La Hoya strongly believes will be Canelo – but the fight boss warns that the two heavy punchers will need to go above and beyond to secure a lucrative fight with the two-weight champion.
When questioned on the possibility, De La Hoya told FightHub that “nothing’s a guarantee.”
“Obviously it depends on them. It depends on how great the fight is.”
“If O’Sullivan looks great, or vice versa, and they can make an argument, then you have to take a look at that.”
Indeed, while an in-house defence, potentially at a Texas football stadium, would seem an easy option for De La Hoya, the former six-weight world champs towards the other 160lbs champions.
He claimed that Canelo wants to fight for the WBO belt held by Billy Joe Saunders who defends versus Demetrius Andrade and the vacant IBF strap which will be contested by Danny Jacobs and Sergey Derevyanchenko. Both these fights take place on the U.S. East Coast in October.
“We’ll see,” De La Hoya noted. “Canelo has ambitious plans, he wants to unify, he wants to fight the best. So, it all depends on the fighters’ performances.”
Previously, when the Golovkin-Canelo rematch was set for May before the Mexican’s drug ban, O’Sullivan looked to have a clearer path to a huge fight.
It was then claimed that Mahon man would fight the Guadalajaran whether he won or lost to Golovkin, with Spike having been set to box in a showcase fight on the cancelled May 5th card.
Both versus O’Sullivan, if Canelo was to win versus Golovkin he would defend the belts in a Texas stadium – lose, and his comeback bout would play out in Las Vegas.
Much has changed since the early-year discussions.
Canelo’s suspension saw O’Sullivan move into frame as a potential May replacement opponent for Golovkin but, following a revised offer from the Kazakh’s team and a new contract from Golden Boy, this would not materialise.
With the fight being put back four months, O’Sullivan again finds himself on the undercard but as an underdog rather than in a showcase.
Arguably, however, the match-up with David Lemieux, which has been described as a guaranteed FOTY, offers 33-year-old O’Sullivan the chance to substantially increase his worth in a Canelo (or Golovkin) fight should he win
Whatever happens, it will be exciting, and De La Hoya promised that “it’s going to be a war.”