Oscar De La Hoya: Mayweather fight isn't happening!

By G. Leon


Oscar De La Hoya: Mayweather fight isn't happening!

Golden Boy still not giving up on Trinidad rematch!

GL: Did you get to watch the Mayweather-Baldomir fight?

ODLH: "I caught a glimpse of the HBO result on Boxingtalk, but I didn't see the fight."

GL: Did you not watch the fight because your cable guys didn't get your service installed on time, or did you not watch on purpose?

ODLH: "I was just not going to pay for the fight. I just didn't feel the full card was worth whatever they were charging."

GL: Since you didn't see the fight allow me to fill you in, Mayweather won every round. I don't know if you watch Star Wars but it looked like Master Yoda fighting a Storm trooper.

ODLH: "That's the way I called it, Mayweather was going to blow him out of the water. Mayweather wasn't going to knock him out because he can't hurt him and Baldomir wasn't going to hit him because he's too fast. What I was shocked about was Shannon Briggs knocking out Liakhovich. That I did see and that was pretty cool."

GL: Let me find out Oscar De La Hoya is watching Showtime.

ODLH: (laughs) "Well, the reason I was watching that is because Sultan Ibragimov is now the mandatory to Shannon Briggs and that's big news for us. Obviously we have to do that fight and start negotiating with Don King so that's going to be interesting. I think we can do a big fight there and work together on the heavyweight division, King and I, so it'll be fun."

GL: What do you think about Mayweather saying one more fight and he's retiring?

ODLH: "You know I was reading that and I thought it was just emotion."

GL: Are you saying that from experience?

ODLH: "Yeah, most likely. I thought I was going to retire a long time ago, right after the Trinidad fight, but those were just emotions running through me, so I wouldn't pay too close attention to that. After a fight like that there's usually high emotions."

GL: My phone still hasn't stopped ringing since our last interview. Have either Bob Arum or Gary Shaw presented you with a copy of their contracts with Manny Pacquiao and Diego Corrales?

ODLH: "I haven't seen no contract yet."

GL: Richard (Schaefer) was at the Mayweather fight, why was he out there?

ODLH: "To pay close attention to the whole situation. I wanted him to see with his own eyes how many people were in the arena, what the atmosphere was like. Is this kid generating any enthusiasm or is he generating any more excitement? The first thing Richard told me was that it doesn't even come close to when Mosley fights or when Barrera fights or when Hopkins fights. There's no energy whatsoever so I assumed that the arena wasn't closed to selling out, because when an arena is sold out there's some real excitement."

GL: The arena looked pretty full to me. I'm not sure it was a paid sell out, but I know that by the time Mayweather and Baldomir got into the ring there didn't seem to be too many empty seats."

ODLH: You'd be very surprised Greg, how you can fill an arena in ten seconds without selling tickets."

GL: Really? Are you saying that from experience also? (laughs)

ODLH: "Obviously we know that Mayweather cannot fill an arena up. We all know that it's no secret. Pay-per-view's, I'm waiting very patiently to see what the numbers are going to be but the indication is somewhere in the neighborhood of 300,000-350,000. Then we'll take it from there. To really tell you the truth I was really turned off with what Richard explained to me, turned off with some quotes that I read from him talking to Larry Merchant, but we'll see."

GL: What did Richard explain to you that turned you off? How badly did it turn you off? Badly enough that you don't want to fight Mayweather anymore?

ODLH: "The whole situation, here I am offering tons of money to him and if he's not going to accept it, it's not going to get done, it's simple as that."

GL: I don't think anybody other than those involved would know the specifics of any offers that you've made to Floyd. Can you fill us in any?

ODLH: "Obviously I'm not going to negoiate with him over Boxingtalk. Let me tell you though, he'll be making a lot of money, I just feel it's just not worth it."

GL: What's not worth it? Getting into a negotiation over money when you feel you're giving him the opportunity to take himself to another stratosphere.

ODLH: "Let's put it this way, if I was offering him $1, that $1 is off the table and now he's being offered 50 cents. If he's not going to take it, he's not going to take it we're just going to move on."

GL: If he's unwilling to take your offer which has been cut in half...

ODLH (cutting in) "And it's still a lot of money."

GL: (continuing my question) Would you still want to make Mayweather-Mosley?

ODLH: "Whatever my partner wants to do, if he wants to fight Mayweather so be it. Obviously those negotiations, we're going to look out for Mosley and get him the best deal possible. If he wants to fight Mosley and have his last fight with Mosley, that's fine. I have no problem with it whatsoever."

GL: It sounds like your day to day with your boxing decisions. It doesn't sound like you have a firm foundation on what you're going to do next. Will you be fighting in May? Will you be fighting again period?

ODLH: "I'll be fighting believe me."

GL: I recall you saying if it wasn't Mayweather, or Mayweather and Trinidad you weren't going to fight again. Are you saying we're getting one more fight regardless of who it is?

ODLH: "I will be fighting, there's no retiring for me yet. I don't know, for some reason how Richard was explaining the sitaution to me, it's like this guy doesn't deserve the chance. Eric Gomez, our matchmaker also told us how arrogant he was with Larry Merchant. I have to see the fight myself. But when I was talking with Eric, I said to myself, why am I going to fight this guy? What has he done to deserve to fight me for all this money? What has he done?

GL: He's established as the best pound for pound fighter Oscar.

ODLH: "Well yeah, but beating who."

GL: He never beat anyone in particular for that title, he was elevated to that position after Hopkins lost to Taylor because of his resume and longevity. Kind of like how Hopkins received the position after Roy Jones Jr lost.

ODLH: "Let him do his thing and fight Margarito now, I have no problem with that, or let him fight Mosley. Let him fight these guys."

GL: So you're not really feeling the Mayweather fight?

ODLH: "I was really turned off by it and I don't feel it. Like I told you, am I willing to walk away from it? Can I walk away from it? Yes I can. I have to feel it in order to make the fight happen and I don't feel it."

GL: Do you think boxing fans would be disappointed if the Mayweather fight doesn't happen when it's the biggest payday and biggest fight that could be made in all of boxing?

ODLH: "I'll tell you one thing, I think if Mayweather fought Margarito they wouldn't be disappointed. I think if we made a Mayweather-Mosley fight they wouldn't be disappointed so it would be okay."

GL: But as it relates to Mosley and Mayweather you believe it has to be a 50-50 split and you're not sure there's enough money to make it happen, correct?

ODLH: "Absolutely. Mosley being involved in big PPV fights, what he did with Vargas, what he did with me, Mosley is a bigger attraction that Mayweather and he can fill more seats than Mayweather can and he can sell more PPV's than Mayweather could ever sell. If Mayweather thinks he's going to get more than a 50-50 split he's crazy. It's what's called market value. That's exactly the way I was negotiating with my partners Hopkins and Mosley. You take market value, obviously Hopkins and Mosley each made a lot of money but it wasn't a 50-50 split. Now with Mosley being the bigger attraction than Mayweather, I'm not saying it can't be a 50-50 split, it can be. I think both fighters are on the top of their game right now. All I'm saying is that Mosley is a bigger attraction than he is."

GL: Do you think Mosley beats Mayweather?

ODLH: "I'll tell you one thing I think he has a real good shot at it, absolutely."

GL: Good enough that you might advise him to take less than parity for the opportunity to once again become the pound for pound fighter again?

ODLH: "Obviously he has a solid team and people who are very capable of making that decision on their own. With Mosley and Jin they're going to make a wise decision, all Richard and I do is explain to them how we feel. I think after this fight, and that's the reason I wanted to wait until after this fight with Baldomir, everything is back to the negotiating table with everyone. Because with me and Mayweather, it's not going to happen. I'm not going to go into a fight if I don't feel it. At this point in my career I'm not going to fight somebody if I'm not motivated."

GL: As much as you're not feeling the fight right now, would you fight Mayweather if he accepts your current offer for less money?

ODLH: "If he accepts the offer than obviously it becomes something to think about, absolutely. Ultimately, I have to feel it, I have to feel the fight and I don't feel that Mayweather deserves to be in the ring with me and make all that money and elevate his status to another level. Because that's what happens Greg. You know what happens, when everyone fights me, they get a lot of exposure and imagine if they beat me, they go to another level. Hopkins understood that, Mosley understood that, they're smart people. But for some reason I don't think Mayweather understands that."

GL: I think it's because he's making more money than those guys were at that point.

OLDH: "Well, yeah, at that point, probably. But believe me if he fights me he's definitely going to making a lot more than he does now."

GL: Tell us about November 25, you originally planned to feature Jesus Chavez, but Don King won the purse-bid. Now that date will feature Juan Manuel Marquez and Demetrius Hopkins. Tell us about that card.

ODLH: "It's going to be a fun card. We have Juan Manuel Marquez fighting Jimrex Jaca from the Philippines and we have Demetrius fighting for the mandatory at 140 pounds and Ishe Smith is also going to be fighting on the card and it's going to be an exciting card. We had a lot of trouble putting the card together and I believe people were trying to sabotage the plans we had. But myself, Richard Schaefer, Don Chargin, Eric Gomez and various other people who work with us were able to put our heads together and we made it happen."

GL: On December 2, you promote Wright-Quartey tell us about that.

ODLH: "Working with Winky Wright has been an incredible pleasure and I'm looking forward to working with him on his future fights. We look forward to giving the public what they want to see on HBO. The week after Winky fights we have Kassim Ouma challenging Jermain Taylor and those are our last two big fights of the year and we're going to start off with a big bang in 2007."

GL: Is May 2007 going to be the biggest bang of 2007?

ODLH: "Let's put it this way, it's going to be a pretty big fight."

GL: Have you given up on the Trinidad rematch yet?

ODLH: "No. After yesterday I think my mind changed a few times so we'll see."

GL: It's good to be Oscar, although it can change, your opinions during these kind of interviews creates a lot of moving and shaking within the industry.

ODLH: "I'm going to fight, let's put it that way, because I love fighting, but ultimately I have to feel it. If I don't, that's when it gets dangerous for me. When I fought Mayorga, I felt it. He started talking so much smack and I felt it and I was motivated. Now I have to feel it when I go up in that ring. That's why you'll get a good performance from me, because I'm motivated to get in there. I'm not going to make the same mistake I did when I fought Felix Sturm. I'm not going to make that same mistake when I took other guys lightly and I took the fight just to take it because I thought I was going to win easily. All the stars have to be aligned for me to get into that ring. Can they be aligned? Yes, and many times over."

"Before last night all of the stars were getting aligned, but after the fight all those stars just went their own way. The only thing that is for sure is that I'm fighting again. The thing that the fans have to know is that after reading this article or listening to me is that I'll be at 100% when I step inside that ring. Because if I'm not and I don't feel it I won't be in that ring because it's too dangerous."

GL: Let's go back to Trinidad for a second, you mentioned that you're willing to re-evaluate that situation, but to what extent? I'm sure you're aware that after seven years of demanding 60-40,  Papa Trinidad came on Boxingtalk and said that they would accept 50-50 for the rematch just to prove that you don't want the fight. Are you willing to make any concessions now that you were unwilling to make before?

ODLH: "All I can say about that is that I'm going to talk to Don King about that and try to open it up for discussion. I can't discuss with Trinidad or with his father or anyone else other than the person who will ultimately make it happen on the Trinidad side and that's Don King. He has control of Trinidad so Don King is the one we'll talk to."

GL: And that discussion could take place in the near future, like when you and King discuss Chavez and Diaz?

ODLH: (laughs) "When we discuss Briggs and Sultan Ibragimov we'll discuss that as well as a possible showdown."

GL: Is there anything you'd like to say in closing?

ODLH: "I'm sure a lot of people are going to be scratching thier heads and thinking, 'oh, he's probably scared because after his performance', I have to study the tape and analyze his fight with Baldomir. But it's not like that, fighters are never scared of fighters. I know what it's like to be in the ring and I'm never scared. I just don't feel it and that's that. I'm not going to be like other fighters who just step up in there like Zab Judah did and like I did when I fought Sturm, like other fighters who make mistakes because they take guys lightly or they're not ready 100% or they're not focused. I can't have that happen again, I need my stars to be aligned for me to get in that ring. Right now they aren't but I'm sure they will be by the next time I step inside the ring on May 5.


Send questions and comments to: gleon@boxingtalk.com