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Once Upon a Time: Canelo and Oscar's beef has been bubbling under the surface

TO SUGGEST that Oscar De La Hoya busted a bear would be an understatement. He grabbed his fur, climbed on the broad back and tried to shame the beast in front of the surprised fight fans and assembled media.

Watching closely, Stephen Espinoza was as amazed as anyone by how the 'Golden Boy' of boxing once fired the arrows of old and directed them at Canelo Alvarez, the man he once pushed forward, announced and lifted.

“Yes, it seems that it has broken and overflowed at this time. My question comes from the time it was happening, because we didn't see this controversy and hatred in the first press conference,” recalled the former president of Showtime Sports.

“So part of it makes me wonder, is this a limited ploy by Oscar to create distractions and get under Canelo's skin? Maybe make him angry going forward. That may or may not be true.

But when he did that, the floodgates opened, it was obvious that both of them had a lot to get off their chests. A lot needed to be said for a long time and, as it were, it all came out.

“Just when you thought it was going to end, it came out again. So it is clear that there is a lot of water under the bridge and I am not sure that this is something that is going on.”

Stephen Espinoza (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

It has been suggested that De La Hoya's sudden desire to upset his former fighter was partly due to the speaker (a live televised event with wide attention) and partly a ploy to boil the blood of the Jalisco man before the fight. A boxer who uses his heart instead of his head is more likely to make poor decisions in the ring.

“Anything is possible,” Espinoza said. “I think there is an opinion about Canelo based on what he allows to be seen. And he always seems calm, cool, almost uncomplicated. Canelo was very happy. We don't often see that from him. We've seen it in episodes in recent years, like the Caleb Plant incident and so on.

“It is the most important thing that he controls and projects. He has a funny, very playful side. He has a temper. You are human. He just doesn't let us see it often. And here you see a glimpse of the fact that, yes, he is a very emotional person.”

Emotions ran high at the press conference when Oscar decided to take Canelo to task for the scandalous speech. It gradually became more and more audible, settling his former promoter, Canelo quickly jumped up to face him.

“He came to steal Jaime Munguia's attention. He didn't manage to promote him,” said Canelo in Spanish translated as Debate News.

“You don't believe what you are saying, you have to read it yourself. Don't forget that I was already Canelo when I came to the US. He made money only in my name. He never lost a penny, he just made money.”

Referring to his opponent as an “underdog”, Canelo continued to blame De La Hoya for the financial irregularities surrounding the Gennady Golovkin fight. Oscar later described the allegations as defamatory and said he would face them in the courts.

Canelo's diatribe threatened to descend first into the strange and later into the unpopular. Espinoza believes that context should also be considered when judging Canelo's profanity-laced vocabulary.

“There's a different perspective on that in Mexican culture. It has been an ongoing issue in world football according to some of the things noted by the crowd. I'm not sure you'll ever get that out of Mexican culture.

“I'm not saying that's right or wrong, and I'm not criticizing the culture, but it's been going on, those kinds of comments.”

Whatever happens between Canelo and Jaime Munguia later tonight, one thing is certain: the tension between Canelo and Oscar De La Hoya has escalated and is likely to escalate in the coming months.

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