Eddie Alvarez vs Oscar De La Hoya speculation in Triller Fight Club

Credit: ONE Championship

It seems that Saturday’s Triller Fight Club event that features a couple of boxers versus mixed martial artist matchups may be just scratching the surface of the promotions cross-over fight plans.  

During a recent guest appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, ONE Championship lightweight Eddie Alvarez announced that he may be the next notable name from the land of MMA to test his mettle in the boxing ring. However, more surprising is that the ongoing negotiations are to book him with a legend of the sweet science who just recently announced plans for a retirement-ending fight on July 6.

‘The Underground Triller King’

“Recently we’ve been hearing from Oscar De La Hoya’s guys,” Alvarez said on the ESPN-backed podcast. “Look, I’m fixated on the ONE Championship belt. I’m laser, laser-focused on making history and getting my world title, but I feel like there’s gonna be a lull. The champion [Christian Lee] is gonna sit for a bit—I think he’s having a baby. If that happens, Oscar De La Hoya and them guys have been reaching out and, hell, I’d love to get in there and mix it up with him. That’d be a hell of a fight and I’ve got everyone here in Philadelphia backing me, and the whole Philadelphia boxing [community] to back me up.”

This unique scenario pitting a former UFC 155-pound champion–and active fighter–against a 48-year-old man who has been retired since 2008, is happening because the former multi-weight-class champ announced his return to fighting last month at a press event for the Triller’s April 17 pay-per-view showcase. It’s a card featuring “boxer” and YouTube superstar Jake Paul versus former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight titleholder, Ben Askren.

The oddest of boxing odd couples

It is an odd fighting follow-up for Alvarez. “The Underground King” just competed at ONE on TNT I last week against fellow contender Iuri Lapicus. In a bout that ended with a controversial red card being handed down to the former Bellator champion after he landed several illegal blows to the back of his opponent’s head.

After taking his talents from the MMA world leader to the Singapore-based promotion in 2018, the 37-year-olds career has seemed snakebit. He lost by technical knockout in his promotional debut to top contender Timofey Nastyukhin. He followed that up with a win over former division king Eduard Folayang, in a fight he looked overwhelmed in before pulling out a surprise submission in the first round. Then there was the Lapics fiasco. However, if the Philadelphia native expects to not be busy in the months ahead, a circus fight with the 11-years older boxing great looks to be a worthwhile way to stay active for him.

Triller Fight Club dream come true

“Getting in there to mix it up with that guy would be a dream come true,” said Alvarez. “I actually think I’d do pretty damn good against him. I’d be crazy excited about that if them guys figure that out.”

For “The Golden Boy” a return to fighting has been rumored off and on for years. Yet to do so now, and against an MMA fighter seems unbecoming of his status in the sport’s history. Especially since Triller promoted a highly successful senior-circuit affair between heavyweight great and American treasure Mike Tyson, versus pound-for-pound legend Roy Jones, Jr. Surely a fight with someone in his age bracket could have been made. For example, a settle-the-score rematch with Felix Trinidad or a trilogy against Shane Mosely.

Maybe the 90s boxing superstar believes Alvarez offers a winnable fight against a name with relevancy now. While the suggested names would just be fights to avenge his failures of the past. Either way, based on what Alvarez told Helwani, it seems like negotiations for this crossover matchup are far down the road.

“There’s serious talks. They’re serious like wanting to get a deal done this week.”

Eddie Alvarez

ONE Championship’s opinion

The other question that comes from the development, is where does ONE Championship stand in all of this? MixedMartialArts.com reached out to the promotion for comment but they declined to offer an official statement at this time. It would be a surprise if they let one of their biggest American talents be tied up through the summer, just as they are trying to build a US audience with a consistent run of Wednesday events on TNT.

Yet, to pry the lightweight star away from the UFC, ONE Championship may have had to offer incentives in that deal that were more than just monetary. It is not an unheard-of scenario. The Professional Fighters League has clauses in certain fighter deals to allow them to compete elsewhere. For example, UFC veteran Chris Camozzi can compete in kickboxing for Glory when not busy with season fights for his new MMA home.

Negotiations are from meaning an actual deal is done, so time will tell if this unexpected fantasy booking comes to pass in July.

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