Exclusive Inteview: Oscar De La Hoya Part I

By G. Leon


Exclusive Inteview: Oscar De La Hoya Part I

Yesterday afternoon six division champion Oscar De La Hoya gave yours truly more than an hour of his time just so we can provide our membership with the kind of interview that can only be found on Boxingtalk. Who does Oscar De La Hoya want to fight next? Will it be Vargas? Will it be Ricardo Mayorga? Will he try to lure Tito Trinidad out of retirement? How does he feel about Mosley-Vargas? Why has he again changed his mind about facing pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr? Will he fight Winky Wright?  How does he feel about Arum's snide remarks directed to Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer? And most importantly, why will he retire after his next two fights?

Oscar began by stating, "I was very happy to read on Boxingtalk that Winky Wright is going to be starting his own promotional company. I'd like to wish him the best with that and I hope everything goes well for him. I've been saying it all along that the fighters eventually are going to be the ones taking over."

GL: After Team Wright turned down $6M to fight you on November 12, you decided to take the rest of the year off. Now that Winky has his own promotional company are you hoping that's a fight that can be revisited for May 6?

Oscar De La Hoya: "Absolutely. I guess it was Gary Shaw who was negotiating for him and he turned down the offer and that made things impossible so the fight fell off. Now that it seems like we'll be able to deal with Winky directly it should be much easier to make things happen, so Winky Wright is definitely a possibility."

GL: There's always a lot of possibilities for you Oscar, you're the Golden Boy. You've got your pick of the litter..Winky Wright, Zab Judah, Fernando Vargas, Floyd Mayweather Jr. Is there anyone out there that floats your boat the most? And do you feel that you still have the desire to compete on this level?

Oscar De La Hoya: "The desire is there and it will always be there. Fighting the best is a must. If I'm going to leave this sport next September, which I am...there's no doubt about that, so it's going to have to be against the best. There's a lot of names out there which you mentioned and me with my competitiveness, I'm going to want to fight the best. For May I think it will be a different story. It will be a tough guy, but it's not going to be someone like Winky...

GL: (cutting in) So it will be a fight that people should be interested in, but it won't be the kind of fight that generates one million PPV homes.

Oscar De La Hoya: "We're talking maybe more in the range of 700,000 plus buys, so it's going to be a big fight, but it won't be one of those million home buys."

GL: Many people were buzzing about the potential rematch between you and Fernando Vargas, however, Golden Boy Promotions also has Shane Mosley. I think Mosley and Vargas could be an intriguing fight, is that something you guys plan on exploring?

Oscar De La Hoya: "Absolutely! We love that fight and Mosley loves that fight. I think it's the fight to do for Mosley and for Vargas. If Vargas is never going to fight me again then he should go up against the guy who beat me twice, Shane Mosley. He could try to get his redemption there, but you never know the possibility of me and Vargas fighting again is also out there."

GL: Really? After you knocked him out, you said, and I give you props for it, that you saw no need to give a rematch to someone you knocked out. Why has your position changed on that?

Oscar De La Hoya: "Because with this May fight it's going to be something like a year and a half between fights. I'm not going to come right out there against someone like Winky in May. I'd rather fight someone like Vargas or Mayorga, where people might give me the edge, but it will be a competitive fight that some people will think is a toss up. And if everything goes well in May, then I'm going to be looking for a fight like Winky Wright where I'll be coming in as the underdog. Being the underdog is challenging to me, it movitates me and I enjoy it. If I'm going to be leaving this sport I want to do it with a big bang!"

GL: I've been hearing it's going to be two fights for you in 2006 and adios. Is that true?

Oscar De La Hoya: "Yes it is. I will retire after next September. I will not be looking back, there's no reason for me to look back. I've fought great fights, I've been in there with the best and I want to leave as one of the best and to do so I have to fight the elite fighters. And when that time comes next year we're going to have to sit back and analyze who is on top because things change from month to month, but we're going to be going for whoever is on top at that time."

GL: Having Floyd Mayweather Sr. as your trainer has always caused you to exclude Mayweather Jr. as a potential opponent. Has your position regarding the Mayweather fight changed? And if so, why?

Oscar De La Hoya: "I don't know if it has changed. Mayweather is a great fighter. He's a tremendous fighter. He's fast and he's on top of his game right now. The fact that I respect his father so much, I don't think it will happen. I've made comments about it recently but you know what? After thinking about it some, I don't think that fight will happen out of the repsect I have for his father. Deep down in my heart, I couldn't do that to a man like Mayweather Sr. who I respect so much, so I think I'm going to keep my word on that."

GL: In a recent interview with Bob Arum I asked him when Golden Boy and Top Rank were going to do business again. I told him that boxing fans have missed out on some good fights as a result of the two companies not doing any business since you and Hopkins partnered up. Arum then explained to me that he has no problem doing business as long as he's in charge. Tell him what you want and he'll cut the check, but he doesn't want no partner.

Oscar De La Hoya: "We're certainly hoping to give boxing fans the fights they've been missing out on. We're not about anything but giving the best fights to the fans.There's a lot of fights for us to do with Top Rank, but as I heard Bob Arum say on Boxingtalk, he wants to have full control of everything and we might have a problem with that because of numbers. I mean because with Bob Arum, he's proven over and over that it's really hard to trust him. If we have a fighter, we'd put him against a Top Rank fighter as long as the fighter is being taken care of financially and is being treated the right way. I don't really care if it's a Top Rank event as long as the fighter is being taken care of, that's our main concern. It's about the fighters, not the promoters."

GL: Arum was also a bit sarcastic in letting it be known that he doesn't need a banker in his life questioning why he spent ten dollars when he should have spent seven. How do you feel about Arum's remarks?

Oscar De La Hoya: "I'm thankful to have people who are going to look after every penny. And that's something every single fighter should do. We're an example for in that we're not just going to get paid and forget about the last dollar that came in. We're smart people who ask for the last cent and that's the way it should be. In the past, that's been a problem because a fighter gets taken advantage of when he says yes to what's there and is thankful for the opportunity. We're people who are going to grind for that last cent because we want what's coming to us. We're smart people on top of all this and that's the way it should be."

GL: Tell us about Mexico versus Thailand.

Oscar De La Hoya: "That's going to be tremendous. It's a series that we're starting and it's going to be country versus country. Boxing fans will not only be able to root for the individual fighters, but they're going to be able to root for their country as well. We'r starting with Mexico versus Thailand. The concept is, we're going to have four world championship fights and they're all going to be tremendous fights. We've got Daniel Ponce De Leon facing Sod Looknongyangtoy for the vacant WBO title at 122 pounds, Jhonny Gonzalez will face Ratananchai Sor Vorapin for the WBO bantamweight title, Fernando Montiel will defend his (WBO) title aginst Pramuansak Phosawan and Hugo Cazares will be fighting Kaichon Sor Vorapin for the WBO junior flyweight title. It's going to be a tremendous event and we're hoping it catches on. Mexico is behind it and Thailand is behind it. When they first started doing the Super Bowl they didn't sell out the games or get the major sponsorships, but it this catches on, which we believe it will, we think we've got something."

GL: I believe it's an intriguing concept, however relationships like Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank need to get reconciled so boxing fans can the best Team Mexico and Team Puerto Rico and Team Thailand.

Oscar De La Hoya: "Exactly. And I have no doubt that this concept will work. I'm only 32 years old and I'm going to stick around this boxing business. This business has a lot of potential for growth. Arum and King have done a great job of bringing us great fights in the past, but with guys like Winky Wright starting their own promotional companay and Golden Boy Promotions, I mean this is the next generation."

GL: I spoke with Tito Trinidad recently and he still seemed happily retired. I mentioned to him the trip to Puero Rico which you and Don King had planned that never came to pass. Are you still interested in fighting Trinidad and will there be another trip to Puerto Rico with Don King to try and make it happen?

Oscar De La Hoya: "As long as there's a chance of having the fight at 154 I would have no problem with it. I'm not going to fight any higher than 154. I'm not going to fight any higher than 154. If he wants to stay retired that's fine, but if it's something that he's intersted in Trinidad is not someone we'd look to exclude. I'd probably even come in at 150 for that fight because that's where I feel my best. I feel fast and strong and if he's willing to come down there I have no problem with it. Dealing with Don King, actually it's not a problem for me. We had a meeting the other day and we were discussing a few things and I actually enjoyed it."

Tomorrow the final part of this must read exclusive interview with the Golden Boy will be released. You won't want to miss what he has to say about Fernando Vargas, Ricardo Mayorga, Miguel Cotto and MUCH MUCH MORE!


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