One on One With Oscar De La Hoya

By G. Leon


One on One With Oscar De La Hoya

The Golden Boy Speaks on Barrera, Hopkins, Lazcano, his future and more!

GL: What's good Oscar? " Well, we're almost sold out and we're looking forward to having a packed house here in El Paso. Marco Antonio Barrera is just waiting patientily to put on another tremendous performance tomorrow night."

GL: Should Barrera win this fight, will you look to make him against either Pacquiao or Morales before they end up fighting each other again?

Oscar De La Hoya: "Well, we have options. We've obviously discussed Pacquiao, we've discussed Pacquiao once again and we've even discussed the possibility of going up to 135 pounds and challenging fighters there. Barrera is open to any fighters out there and we're going to sit down after this fight and make a decision."

GL: Tell us about Juan Lazcano. He gets pulled off the show for what Golden Boy's press release called personal reasons. Then Boxingtalk get a call from Lazcano and he's badmouthing Golden Boy big time, he even challenged you to a fight at the Sun Bowl. What are your thoughts on Lazcano's comments?

ODLH: "We're obviously concerned and disappointed at the same time with him bad mouthing Golden Boy when we've just been good to him. That's all we've been is good to him. We offered him the Justin Jukko comeback fight because we know he had a tough fight against Castillo. The obvious thing to do is put him in with a name opponent in his hometown, in a fight that obviously, he could win. He said Jukko was too tough for him.

"I understood because I know his confidence level must've been down. So I said, 'okay', and we scratched Jukko off and we got him an opponent who was 12-6 and has never fought on TV. He said that guy was too tough, and this guy was ranked like number 200 in the world. Here you have a world class fighter in Lazcano, telling me that number 200 in the world is too tough for him. I know his confidence level is down, but him saying that is ridiculous.

"And then to top it all off he challenges me to a fight. Obviously it would never happen, but it concerns me. I want Lazcano to know that we're his promoter and we're behind him 100% and if he wants to fight number 400 in the world we'll be right there with him and if he wants to fight for a world title, we can make that happen tomorrow. 

GL: Lazcano told me Jukko is the reason that fight never happened. Are you telling me that's not the case?

ODLH: "Jukko agreed to the fight. Juan's the one who pulled out. We had Jukko lined up, he took the fight and he was ready to go. Lazcano said we were trying to get him beat and there was something fishy, so we pulled out Justin Jukko."

GL: As a promtoer how do you deal with a fighter like Lazcano, who clearly isn't happy with Golden Boy Promotions and might now want to be with Golden Boy?

ODLH: "It's frustrating to deal with people like this. Golden Boy Promotions is all about trying to help the fighter. We're very honest with the fighter and here you have a fighter who just does not get it, and it's frustrating."

GL: Can you give us some of your thoughts on Anchondo losing his title on the scale?

ODLH: "Here you have a kid who we molded into a world champion. We were good to him, we got him fights, we were excellent with him and then he left and changed promoters. But he had that right as the fighter, and forever whatever reason, I don't why, he decided to sign with another promoter. But he was a free agent and that was his choice. Now he's having problems, he lost his title on the scale. He's still a good fighter, but now he's fighting one of our guys, Barrios, who is a tremendous fighter that we are hoping comes away with the title.

GL: I've been hearing rumblings that the marriage you and Bernard Hopkins formed several months ago, is on the rocks. Are there any problems with you and Hopkins or is the relationship stronger than ever as we speak?

ODLH: "The partnership is great. Obviously we are presenting Hopkins with his future opponent, perhaps a Jermain Taylor, who could still be his next fight. Again, he's the one that calls the shots. He's the fighter and we're his promoters dealing for him, making sure he gets what he wants. As far as problems go, there are none at all. He's a great man, a great fighter, a great negotiatior and he knows his business. If anything, our relationship is stronger than ever."

GL: What's the real reason the on again, off again, Hopkins-Taylor fight is off this week?

ODLH: "The real reason is, obviously when you have two parties involved it makes it more difficult to come to terms. Obviously if Jermain Taylor beats Hopkins, which I feel in my heart and mind, he will not. But if he does, we will have a rematch and the problem is, the 60-40 split on the rematch. To me Hopkins is the man, he's the marketable fighter and he's the one bringing the money to the table. That can be a little problem, but I feel like we're getting close. But like I said, Hopkins is the man and he calls the shots, we're just following his instructions and doing what's best for him."

GL: Is there any concern that the ongoing arbitration in NYC could affect your relationship with him?

ODLH: "Not at all. Obviously the truth will come out there and honesty will prevail."

GL: So tell us about you Oscar. What's next? When? Where?

ODLH: "You know I'm enjoying myself so much promoting, but as for me, I'll be up there soon.

GL: On TV you look like a middleweight, you look comfortable in your promoter suit.

ODLH: "I'm just living happy and eating large. (laughs) But 147 is not out of the question, I could make it easy. Once I start with my diet and everything it won't be  a problem, I just have a little baby fat on now that's all."

"Right now to me regaining that respect and a world championship is more important than money to me."

GL: In the past you said you wouldn't give Vargas a rematch because you knocked him out in the first fight. Is that still your position and what did you think about his comeback fight?

ODLH: "That's still my position. I don't think it would be fair to make a fight like that, I think people expect more from me and want me to face a tougher opponent. It's no secret that Fernando Vargas is not the same and it's very difficult to come back when you've been knocked down so many times in two fights, so he's not an option as an opponent."

GL: Will you return before the end of this year?

ODLH: "Definitely. We always know that September is my date so we're not excluding that month of the year."

GL: Hopkins is looking for PPV fights. If the Taylor fight doesn't come to fruition, are there any other PPV options available to him other than the Felix Trinidad Vs. Winky Wright winner?

ODLH: "There's obviously some different options out there. There's Fernando Vargas and he could always go up to 168 or light heavyweight to challenge the best up there. Hopkins is in a position where he's always in great shape and he's willing to challenge anybody, and I'm confident that he'd be victorious against anybody."

GL: So if he fights Taylor there's no doubt age and treachery overcomes youth and skill?

ODLH: "I think so. Hopkins is just a guy who will make it happen. He'll go out there and do anything to win. Believe me I was in tremendous shape when I fought him, I had a good game plan, I felt fast, I felt strong, and then he beat me. To beat Hopkins will be very difficult."

GL: When might we have a formal update as it relates to your return?

ODLH: Probably in the next couple of weeks. I'm going to be focusin on my career and what's next and then we'll take it from there.


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