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 issue a retraction and refrain from making further defamatory comments.

The action comes one day after tensions erupted between Alvarez and his former longtime promoter at a news conference ahead of Alvarez’s undisputed super middleweight championship defense vs. Jaime Munguia on Saturday.

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De La Hoya jabbed Alvarez by referencing his positive test for the banned substance clenbuterol ahead of his 2018 rematch with Golovkin. Alvarez countered by warning fighters to “contact your lawyers because he is surely stealing from you. It’s the only thing he comes to do in boxing. … If I hadn’t involved my lawyers you would steal from me.”

In the letter to Alvarez, De La Hoya’s attorney, Ricardo P. Cestero, wrote that Canelo “falsely accused Oscar of a crime with the specific intention of supposedly warning other boxers not to do business with Oscar or Golden Boy.”

“Clearly, Canelo internationally defamed Oscar and Golden Boy,” Cestero continued. “Canelo’s statements were also made with actual malice. … Oscar and Golden Boy reserve all rights to sue Canelo for the damages caused by these defamatory accusations, including punitive damages designed to ensure Canelo learns his lesson.”

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

“Following the termination of his relationship with Golden Boy, Alvarez audited Golden Boy’s payments and deductions under his prior contracts,” Smith said. “The audit found that Alvarez was owed money.

“Court records show that GGG also audited Golden Boy and found that he had also been underpaid. GGG then sued Golden Boy for the missing funds.”

Golovkin sued De La Hoya in 2022 seeking upward of $3 million he believed was owed from that rematch. De La Hoya told ESPN on Wednesday that “we paid him everything he’s owed.”

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

“His best fight for Munguia and he tried to steal all the attention from him,” Alvarez, 33, told ESPN. “It’s sad for his part. … I’m so anxious to come Saturday night and just win in a fashionable way.

” … I don’t feel sad about it coming from him. I don’t feel anything. … I expect it. He’s an a–hole. … I put my lawyers into 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’s “definitely going to sue [Alvarez] for defamation.”

“I’m going to defend myself when somebody’s speaking negative about me and that’s what I did,” he said. “This was my perfect moment to let him know how I feel. It felt so good. Finally — I was just holding my tongue for all these years — and finally I can f—ing tell him in his face, put some f—ing respect on my name.”