Exclusive Interview: Oscar De La Hoya

By G. Leon


Exclusive Interview: Oscar De La Hoya

Will DLH, Hopkins and Barrera Fight On Free Network Teleivision?

Believe it or not, by the time we got a hold of him early yesterday afternoon, Oscar De La Hoya had just finished running five miles. Rather than fatten up over the Holiday's, De La Hoya is working out regurlarly to make sure his venture back down to the welterweight division is a smooth transition. "I weigh 153 right now and I'm not even trying that hard, so I'm going to be able to make it easy," said De La Hoya, who, in this must read exclusive interview, provides answers to all of the questions you want answered, while discussing the possibility of Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins and Marco Antonio Barrera fighting on free network television.

GL: Have there been any new developments regarding your next fight since the last time you spoke with Boxingtalk.com?

Oscar De La Hoya: "Not really. I'm just focusing on making this weight. I've been running heavy for the last few weeks, but before we make a big announcement, I want to make sure I can make the weight. I'm at 153 right now and I'm not really trying that hard."

GL: It sounds like making welterweight isn't going to be a problem

Oscar De La Hoya: "I'm going to make it easily."

GL: Through Boxingtalk.com, Shane Mosley recently broke the news that he too will be moving down to welterweight. Obviously, with that news coming down, most people are already talking about the possibility of De La Hoya-Mosley III. However, I remember the last time you and I spoke, you said you'd rather promote him than fight him because you feel he has your number like Barrera has Morales' number. Has your outlook on the possibility of a third fight with Mosley changed any?

ODLH: "No. I would love to have a partnership with him. We've been friends for a long time and he beat me twice, so what can I say? They were good close fights, but Mosley is the type of guy who has my number, just like Hopkins has Trinidad's number and I have Trinidad's number, he has my number."

GL: (On Monday morning) you guys won the purse bid for Hopkins-Eastman. Can you tell us some of the venues under consideration and who we may be able to look forward to seeing on the co-feature?

ODLH: "Well, Richard Schaefer and our Team at Golden Boy Promotions will be talking to our partner, Bernard Hopkins to figure out the best venue. We're going to pursue Vegas, Los Angeles at the Staples Center and Phildelphia, where Hopkins is from, because the big story here is that Hopkins is making his twentieth defense. And that's a big deal because it's never happened, and this is a legitimate defense from a legitimate champion who holds all four belts, so it's got to be done big."

GL: The fight that EVERYONE wants to see at middleweight is the Hopkins-Felix Trinidad rematch. It's no secret that Hopkins and King are going through their legal matters right now, and I'm sure you'd rather leave that for the lawyers, but are you confident that Golden Boy Promotions, will one day be able to negotiate  Hopkins-Trinidad II with Don King?

ODLH: "I've talked to Hopkins and he's more than willing to give Trinidad the opportunity. We actually talked to Don King and there has been a proposal made, where we could do a two fight deal if he wants. I believe Richard and Don King dicussed that, mentioning hey, you fight Hopkins first and then you fight De La Hoya. You know, anything is possible if Don King wants to work with us."

GL: I remember you telling me, "if anyone out there is taking shots at Golden Boy Promotions, they must have something to hide." In boxing there's always rumblings and rumors, but have you heard anything about any promoters in particular, who might be trying to knock, what you're trying to build up?

ODLH: "I wouldn't want to mention anyone in particular, but I would say that more than 50% of the boxing world doesn't want to see the sport have a national commission, or have other positives added to the sport. All we're trying to do is change the sport for the better, clean it up and get it back on TV, where it's supposed to be."

GL: Richard mentioned this as a possibility to me, will Oscar Larios be fighting Joan Guzman next?

ODLH: "We're actually not sure yet. We've had many offers and we're working on an opponent. It's just a matter of sitting down with Larios and explaining things to him. We've mentioned Wayne McCullough, we've mentioned Injin Chi, because he's willing to fight everybody. He's willing to fight Manny Pacquiao if that's what he wants. Larios is a guy who's ready and willing to take that next step for these big fights."

GL: Will Floyd Mayweather Sr. stay on as your trainer?

ODLH: "Oh yes! As long as I'm fighting Mayweather will be my trainer."

GL: I understand that neither you, nor Benrard Hopkins, nor Marco Antonio Barrera, have any exclusive deal with HBO as we speak. Is that correct?

ODLH: "That's correct."

GL: With that being said I'd like to touch on the following possibility. I know you guys are big on revolutionizing the sport. How do you feel about Golden Boy Promotions bringing boxing back to FREE network television?  Between yourself, Hopkins and Barrera, it seems you can put one hell of a package together. Is that something you've considered?

ODLH: "That's the whole idea, to get it out there to the public the way it was done when the Muhammad Ali's were fighting and the Sugar Ray Leonard's were fighting. Boxing needs that. Obviously, we at Golden Boy Promotions know, that HBO has been very generous, and we consider them friends. 

"We've worked together with them for a lot of years. They've built my career obviously with me fighting on HBO and HBO PPV. But it goes both ways, it takes us to build boxing and it takes HBO to build boxing, so we have to work together to find a way to build champions and make the sport go. Boxing can't go any lower than it is now, and even though we don't have a heavyweight champion and we could always get one in the future, we have to find ways to help the sport grow

"If we have an opportunity to go NBC, if we have a possibility to go to the CBS's or ABC's, obviously with us having a good relationship with our friends at HBO, we wouldn't want to do nothing behind their backs. 

GL: Obviously not, and HBO has been very instrumental in both the success of your career and Golden Boy Promotions, but with that being said I have to imagine that if you, Bernard Hopkins or Marco Antonio Barrera would fight on free network television, they would be events that are seen by 20-30 million homes.

ODLH: "It would be something really big and we're certainly not going to exclude something like that from our plans. If we can put something on the table, where our fighters from Golden Boy Promotions, including myself, could be featured on network television for millions and millions of viewers to see, we can't exclude that possibility.

GL: It would kind of put you in a tight spot though, because as you said, something like that wouldn't be a secret, and Golden Boy Promotions would run the risk of alienating itself from HBO. Would Golden Boy Promotions be willing to take that risk in order to bring yourself and your fighters to network television?

ODLH: "Imagine this Greg, myself, Barrera, Hopkins, our other champions and the Olympians that we're signing as a package deal! That's big for any network television or any other TV that wants to pick us up. Yeah, it's on our mind and we don't want to burn bridges with HBO, but sometimes if things aren't being done on HBO's part, what can we do?

"We can't sit back and say, HBO's not going to help us so we can't do anything for our fighters. We have to build a business for ourselves. And I know for sure, one thing about me personally with me being in this sport, the sport isn't the one that helps me out, the fighter is the one who makes the sport. It's nobody else."

GL: I imagine that if any deal with a major network were struck, time has to be of the essence because your fights and Hopkins fights would probably have a lot to do with the networks interest, but you're nearing the end of your professional boxing career,  and Bernard Hopkins turns 40 before his next fight, so I imagine timing is of the essence.

ODLH: "You're right and like I said, we have a great relationship with HBO and you never want to leave the hand that feeds you behind. They've been very good to us and we've been great to HBO, we hope to have a relationship with them for many years to come."

GL: Will the Spinks-Judah II winner become your primary option for September if you fight at 147?

ODLH: "It's definitely a fight that I have to consider. Spinks is the unified champion, and I always fight the best so we're going to have to see what happens. I'm just really excited to go down to 147 once again and really feel that I can dominate when I get in there."


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