LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr has been forced to apologise for an Instagram photo and caption that mocked former world champion and promoter Oscar de la Hoya's substance-abuse problem.
The 36-year-old American apologised for the picture of a sombre-looking de la Hoya which ran on his Instagram page on Monday with the headline "MEANWHILE IN REHAB". The caption underneath the picture said, "OSCAR: "I gave Canelo the wrong Blueprint I was high."
Mayweather described the incident as "stupid" and claimed the photo was posted without his knowledge. He did not go into detail about how it ended up on his Instagram account, or who might have put it there.
The picture ultimately was deleted.
"It's unfortunate that a stupid picture was posted to my Instagram account earlier today that was not posted by me or authorised by me to post," Mayweather wrote in a statement e-mailed to reporters by his public relations firm.
"I apologise to Oscar and his family for this posting. I wish him well and am rooting for him to win his fight too. I also apologise to all of my followers for this ridiculous post."
Mayweather also stressed that he had wished the retired 40-year-old American well at Saturday's post-fight news conference, after he scored a majority decision in the main event over Saul Alvarez, who is promoted by de la Hoya.
It was just the second fight for Mayweather since he was released from prison after serving a sentence for assaulting the mother of his children.
Mayweather went on to say that he hopes de la Hoya recovers quickly.
But Mayweather has also previously admonished de la Hoya's fast-paced lifestyle and the promoter's track record with Golden Boy Promotions.
De la Hoya missed the Mayweather-Alvarez fight after checking himself into a treatment centre last week.
Mayweather and de la Hoya fought in 2007 in a mega world title bout that set the record as most lucrative boxing match in history, with over US$130 million in generated revenues.
Mayweather won by a split decision to claim the world light middleweight title.
"Although we had our difference in the past, I stand by him unconditionally and would never personally disrespect him or anyone else who struggles with addiction," Mayweather's statement read.