The former pound for pound star of boxing, who has since built a promotional super-power, oversaw Canelo’s move back down to 154 pounds as the Mexican star aims to claim a third world title in Texas.
Canelo is an overwhelming favorite to overcome Smith, although his handler cited Carl Frampton’s recent victory over Leo Santa Cruz as an example of why the bookmakers shouldn’t count the WBO champion out just yet.
“Liam Smith is a real world champion and a tough hombre,” De La Hoya exclusively told World Boxing News.
“We all saw that Carl Frampton beat the “unbeatable” Leo Santa Cruz recently so let that be a lesson to everyone.
“Smith is an aggressive warrior. He comes forward and is willing to square up. This will be a test of will, strength and skills between Smith and Canelo so I expect a terrific battle on September 17th.”
Asked whether the move back to 154 was simply a weight thing or a bid to win another world title – or both, along with what capacity he expects for next month’s clash at Cowboys Stadium, De La Hoya replied: “Both, this is another serious test for Canelo. He’s a young talent who is tested every fight.
“We would like to break the modern Texas record of 60,000 set by Chavez versus Whitaker when they fought to a draw in San Antonio.”
Canelo and advisor Don Chargin have already slated a move up to 160 pounds for the two-weight world title holder in 2017 to WBN, although De La Hoya refused to so specific when prompted for his thoughts on the matter.
“Only time can answer that question. I won titles from 130 pounds to 160 and I didn’t know in advance when it would be the exact time to step up.”
And how does De La Hoya see the fight ending?
“Look, Canelo is a Golden Boy fighter. We’re rooting for him but the fans will be pleased with the result whoever wins. It’s that kind of a match.”
Finally, with a packed undercard accompanying the event, De La Hoya predictably said he was looking forward to seeing one fighter, in particular take to the ring.
“Obviously, I like all the bouts on Canelo v Smith, but my cousin Diego De La Hoya is fighting so that’s one I can’t wait for,” stated De La Hoya.