Oscar De La Hoya demands Canelo Alvarez retract 'defamatory' claims.

LAS VEGAS — Oscar De La Hoya issued a cease and desist letter Thursday to Canelo Alvarez over what he says are “defamatory allegations” that the Golden Boy Promotions founder stole money from former champion Gennadiy Golovkin, among other fighters.

The legal letter, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, demands that Alvarez retract and refrain from making further defamatory comments.

The action comes a day after tensions flared between Alvarez and his former longtime promoter at a press conference ahead of Alvarez's undisputed defense of his super middleweight championship against Jaime Mungua on Saturday.

De La Hoya challenged Alvarez by pointing to his positive test for the banned substance clenbuterol before his 2018 rematch with Golovkin. Alvarez responded by warning fighters to “call your lawyers because he's definitely stealing from you. That's the only thing he comes to do in boxing. … If I don't get my lawyers involved you're going to steal from me.”

In the letter to Alvarez, De La Hoya's attorney, Ricardo P. Sestero, wrote that Canelo “falsely accused Oscar of committing a crime with the specific intent of warning other boxers against doing business with Oscar or Golden Boy.”

Sestero continued: “It is clear that Canelo has tarnished the reputation of Oscar and Golden Boy internationally.” “Canelo's statements were also made with actual malice. … Oscar and Golden Boy reserve all rights to sue Canelo for damages resulting from these defamatory accusations, including punitive damages designed to ensure Canelo learns his lesson.”

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Alvarez's attorney, Gregory M. Smith, told ESPN that Canelo in making his comments “said what he said.”

“After his relationship with Golden Boy ended, Alvarez reviewed Golden Boy’s payments and deductions under his previous contracts,” Smith said. “The audit found that Alvarez owed money.

“GGG also audited Golden Boy's accounts and found that he was also underpaid. GGG then sued Golden Boy for the missing funds,” court records show.

Golovkin sued De La Hoya in 2022 for upwards of $3 million he believes is owed to him from that rematch. “We paid him everything he was worth,” De La Hoya told ESPN on Wednesday.

Alvarez, ESPN's No. 4 boxer, has competed eight times since his ugly split from De La Hoya in 2020 that ended a 10-year partnership. The end came when Alvarez filed a lawsuit against De La Hoya for breach of contract. Wednesday was the first time they shared the stage during fight week since November 2019.

“It was his best fight for Munguia and he tried to steal all the attention from him,” Alvarez, 33, told ESPN. “It's sad on his part… I'm very keen to come on Saturday night and win in style.

“… I don't feel bad about what's coming out of him. I don't feel anything. … I expect it. He's just an a**hole. … I put my lawyer in the situation and he tried to steal money from me and … he tried to steal money from Golovkin.”

De La Hoya told ESPN later that day that he would “definitely file a lawsuit.” [Alvarez] Charged with defamation.”

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“I will stand up for myself when someone talks negatively about me, and that's what I did,” he said. “This was my perfect moment to tell him how I felt. It felt so good. Finally – I've been holding my tongue all these years – finally able to say to his face, 'Put some respect to my name.'

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