De La Hoya/Forbes: Oscar Interview Transcript

Richard Schaefer: Hello everybody. On behalf of Golden Boy Promotions I welcome everybody to today's conference call. I guess some things never change. What I mean is we have 126 media members on the phone right now so that shows you again when Oscar fights the world watches. And indeed the boxing world will be - will have its focus on Los Angeles next week..

Oscar will be arriving on Friday here in Los Angeles from his training camp in Puerto Rico and he will be throwing the opening pitch at the Dodger game on Saturday and then will attend as well the Fiesta Broadway which is the largest Hispanic festival in the country pretty much all - it's the closing down all of Los Angeles. So the weekend will start off in a few days.

On Thursday of fight week we will have the boxing writer's dinner as well from downtown Los Angeles. A few tickets have been made available to the public there as well. I think that's going to be a great, great affair as well. Then on Friday May 2 at the Home Depot Center the tennis stadium, a perfect venue for boxing. We will have a Solo Boxeo (Ulu Luzian) fight featuring the 2000 U.S. Olympian lightweight contender Vicente Escobedo and as well the rising middleweight star Julio "Baby Face" Garcia, probably one of the most talked about young prospects.

Right after these fights we will have a Latin Grammy nominated musical sensation from Mexico, Los Tucanes de Tijuana. They will perform. There will be a light concert available to those people which are attending the Friday night fights. This is a band which usually plays in front of 20,000 to 30,000 people and so we're really pleased that we have been able to bring them to Los Angeles and be part of this big Homecoming weekend.

And a homecoming it will be. Oscar has not fought in Los Angeles since the year 2000. It's the first time that Oscar's going to be fighting on HBO World Championship Boxing since 2001. It is the first time that the fight is going to take care at the - take place at the Home Depot Center soccer stadium where usually the Galaxy with David Beckham plays. It is a capacity crowd there for a boxing match is 30,000 people. We expect a sell out. There are a few thousand tickets left. We are right now at 26,000 sold seats so it will be a sell out crowd witnessing the great showdown between Oscar and Stevie Forbes.

Kelly mentioned a countdown show to De La Hoya/Forbes which aired this past weekend right after Hopkins and Calzaghe and it was the highest rated countdown show in the history of HBO. Unbelievable numbers, absolutely staggering numbers have seen that countdown show and I think that further indicates the tremendous interest in this fight.

It will be - I wanted to thank as well all the sponsors which really have done a tremendous job in marketing this event with AEG, the Home Depot Center, Cazadores, Tecate, Rockstar, Southwest, Affliction Clothing. The presence truly is felt of this by everywhere and that is to no small extent due to the tremendous marketing efforts of the sponsors and of course of HBO as well.

HBO has really put its resources fully behind this fight. There is a record-setting five highway sized billboards all over Los Angeles and in New York as well. There are literally thousands of posters all over Southern California announcing this fight. So the excitement is building and with only a little over a week to go I'd like to pass it on now to the ten time World Champion in six different weight classes, Oscar De La Hoya.

Oscar De La Hoya: Thank you, thank you very much Richard. Well I'll tell you a bit about my training. Just before I start about my training I just want to say that I don't know what I would have done without Mayweather Sr. back on my team. I really thought it was over. I really thought I was, you know, getting close to hanging up the gloves but Mayweather Sr. just brings out the best in me and, you know, this training camp has been no exception.

Stevie Forbes mentioned that, you know, I'm probably looking past him because a showdown with Mayweather in September but that's not the case. I've been training since January for this fight and, you know, we've been taking the necessary steps to be ready and ready I am. I'm - Mayweather has just taken it to another level, the way he always does in all my fights.

You know, I want to obviously say that Freddie Roach is a tremendous trainer and he is by far the, you know, one of the top two or three best trainers out there in the world. But I just think that me and Floyd have this connection that we just work so well together that it just makes me want to elevate my game. So, you know, for anyone who thinks that I'm overlooking Stevie Forbes that's not the case whatsoever. So now I'll go ahead and answer some questions for the media.

Dan Rafael: Oscar, can you just describe just a little bit about when, you know, obviously you had the break with Floyd Sr. to take care of the Floyd Jr. fight last year. Can you talk about what it was like to actually go back into camp with him and at any time in camp you guys ever - I know I'm sure you went over the fight a little bit and whatever, but have you talked about the situation leading up and the split and then the back together? Because it was a little messy there for a minute or two and I'm wondering how that worked out in the beginning of camp.

Oscar De La Hoya: Well when I called Floyd Sr. after the Mayweather Jr. fight, it was a couple of months after the fight actually after the Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight, it was like if nothing happened. I called Floyd Sr. and told him so are you ready now Floyd Sr.? And he says absolutely, I'm ready to get back in there and just, you know, work on a few things that, you know, are going to get you right back to the top. And so it was a conversation that just, you know, like if nothing happened.

And, you know, we've been talking about my performance, my last performance almost every day. We go through it every single day. And, you know, I'm training for Floyd Mayweather now and, you know, my focus is obviously Stevie Forbes and but the main goal is to beat Floyd Jr. and so, you know, with having that in mind, with having that mindset, you know, I'm going to be in tremendous, tremendous shape.

I mean, I'm struggling - I'm really, you know, starving myself to make 150. I mean, it's - I have to work to make the weight and I've already been on weight for a couple of weeks so it's - we're getting down to, you know, hard, tough training and that's what Floyd Sr. does for me. And, you know, but our relationship, it's always a good one. You know, we just had that little snitch in the last fight which is understandable and now it's just back to business.

Dan Rafael: Oscar one other question. You've been down this road before with the "(Tuno) fight." I remember in particular most recently the Felix Sturm fight to get ready for what was a big fight with Bernard Hopkins that followed that. You know, obviously you didn't come in the best shape in that fight. A lot of people thought you lost that fight. I wonder how do you prevent yourself - I know you're saying all the right things right now but how do you in your mind prevent yourself from thinking ahead to Floyd Jr. in a rematch I know you really want bad?

Oscar De La Hoya: Well the goal is to fight these three fights this year and leave on top because there is not going to be a 2009 or there's not going to be no other fight after December. So my body can still do this. My mind still wants to do it.

I mean, you know, my cut man (Joe Chavez) who's over 70 years of age who has been in this business forever tells me you know what, if you're tired of training, if your mind doesn't want to train, that's when you should retire. Well I'm not there yet. You know, I want these three fights and go out like a champion. Because I for sure know it's going to be the last time I step inside that ring in December.

So, you know, there's no looking past Stevie Forbes. I mean, we've been - I've been training so hard for this fight just like if it was a - the most important fight of my life. And it is. It is because I don't feel like a champion, I'm not a champion, I feel like a contender. And, you know, that's how we're going to fight -- like a contender inside that ring. And so it's been a lot of hard work but we're definitely ready.

And, you know, with the Felix Sturm fight I did look past him. I did, you know, not train for him and was sluggish and slow. I didn't feel like a winner in that fight, you know, I felt like a loser. And so it's a hard lesson to learn but, you know, I'm glad it happened back then instead of now because I'm ready to have a big year this year.

Operator: Our next question is coming from Diego Martinez, a reformer from Mexico.

Diego Martinez: ((Spanish Spoken)).

Oscar De La Hoya: ((Spanish Spoken)).

Kelly Swanson: Oscar can you interpret that for us please?

Oscar De La Hoya: Yes, how it's going to feel to fight in front of more than 30,000 people. You know, it's going to be a great experience. You know, being in front of so many people and they're watching you perform just elevates your performance.

You know, I was fortunate enough to fight in front of more than 50,000 people in Texas, you know, but I believe this is going to be an event where you have your hometown fans, you have your family watching. It's going to be some pressure which obviously every fight is but, you know, at the same time it's going to help you elevate your performance because you just want to go out there and perform well in front of your hometown fans.

Operator: Thank you. Our next question is coming from Lance Pugmire of Los Angeles Times.

Lance Pugmire: Good to talk to you. Hey I wanted to ask you, you know, with your homecoming fight, how do you - this may be the same answer but how do you hope and how do you think you're perceived by LA's Latino community?

Oscar De La Hoya: Well I mean, LA in general, I mean, that's my home. I grew up in LA all my life and, you know, it's going to be incredible. I can't wait to be in front of more than 30,000 people there at the Home Depot Center. Knowing that they're there to support, you know, this fight, you know, knowing that they're going to get a great performance, you know, because Stevie Forbes is coming to fight obviously.

He's - like he says this is his dream, you know, this is his dream fight and he said he had a dream the other night that his hands were raised. And so in order for him to beat me it's going to take something special because I'm in tremendous shape and ready to give the hometown fans a spectacular, spectacular show.

You know, I kid around with Floyd and with my team saying, you know, I was fighting only once a year so I can save the best for last for the tail end of my career. Well this is it. You know, this is it. Three fights and I'm gone and I'm definitely going to give it my all.

And I truly feel with what we've been doing in the gym with Floyd Sr. I truly feel until this day people haven't seen the best of me. People still haven't seen me on my toes dancing around in the ring and popping my jab, you know, 40, 50, 60 times around. People have not seen that and I sure hope and I'm waiting for that moment to happen and I feel it's going to happen come May 3.

Lance Pugmire: But how do you feel, you know, the basic, you know, every man of LA looks at Oscar De La Hoya? I mean, do they look at him as like this shining beacon of this is how, you know, to make your, you know, something out of yourself? Can you elaborate on that point, I mean, what the hope and inspiration you think that you may provide to people who will be coming to this fight?

Oscar De La Hoya: Absolutely, I mean, just the fact that I grew up in East Los Angeles where people perceive East Los Angeles as this tough and rough neighborhood which I'm sure it is but to a certain extent you have people like myself who want to succeed, who want to work hard and, you know, become successful and live that American Dream the way I'm living it. You know, you'll be very surprised of how many people think like that in LA.

And, you know, I've been an inspiration, I've been hope for many people especially in my community because I made it. I struggled and, you know, I came from humble beginnings and I made it. And so a lot of people, you know, see themselves doing it and a lot of people tell their kids look, Oscar grew up here and he went to Garfield High School, he went to (Port Bolivar) Elementary School, he went to Griffiths Junior High School, so why can't you do it? If he did it you can do it.

So, you know, it's an honor to be perceived that way and I'm going to continue to fight and make sure that message is out there, you know, the message of working hard and always keeping your head up no matter what.

Operator: Thank you. Our next question is coming from Robert Morales of the Los Angeles Daily News.

Robert Morales: Nice to talk to you man. Hey listen, just two quick questions man. This is obviously the biggest fight of Stevie Forbes' career, his biggest opportunity, not even close. Put yourself in his place for just a second. What would you be thinking right about now?

Oscar De La Hoya: Well I would be thinking upset. I would be thinking upset because he's probably thinking oh Oscar's not training for me. He's already thinking about Floyd Jr., he's already thinking about, you know, he's been in big fights and why should he train hard for me, I'm just Stevie Forbes.

Robert Morales: Right, exactly, okay. And the other question would be Oscar is - and don't take this the wrong way. I'm just - rumors, you know, that I heard. But is there any truth to the rumor that the reason you rehired Floyd Sr. is because you knew how much publicity would be created once you fought his son again which of course would, you know, amount to more pay-per-view buys, that whole thing?

Oscar De La Hoya: Not at all, not at all. I'm still fighting because I want to be on top again. I'm still fighting because I want to be champion again. And, you know, the competitive side in me chose this fight, you know, the champion side of me chose this fight, chose the trainer. You know, I'm doing what's best for me inside that ring. You know, it doesn't matter what publicity is going to stir up or, you know, and me and Sr. already talked about this.

You know, he's already mentioned it to me saying oh well, you know, in my interviews they're always trying to play me and my son together and this and that and I go you know what? Then don't do anything. You don't have to say nothing. You know, just all we have to do is work, train, and make sure we beat whoever we have to beat up in that ring. And so, you know, it's a matter of having the right trainer and the right trainer for me is Floyd Sr.

Operator: Thank you. Our next question is coming from Pablo Socorro of Agencia France Paris.

Pablo Socorro: ((Spanish Spoken)).

Oscar De La Hoya: ((Spanish Spoken)).

Kelly Swanson: Oscar can you translate that for me please?

Oscar De La Hoya: Yes he asked why do I keep on fighting or what motivates me, what keeps me going. You know, I've solidified my history and my boxing career and, you know, what keeps me going. And I go well it's the passion and the love I have for boxing. This is what I do. This is what I do and I love fighting. I love training. I still love training. I mean, I am always looking for something that I haven't done my last fight. I'm always looking for something new.

You know, I mean, just in this training camp which people are going to be very surprised, just in this training camp after so many years I found out how to relax in the ring instead of just fighting tense which obviously is going to allow me to fight 12 rounds with no problem. I mean, when you fight tense you get tired and that's - and I just found that out, you know, in this training camp.

So, I mean, little things like that is, you know, things like that just keep you going and you can always do better. You know, I mean, Mayweather has been telling me for years you've got to relax, you have to relax, you know. Throw your combinations but then after just relax. And I tried, couldn't do it, but just this training camp this just came up so now, you know, now maybe it's going to keep me around for another five years, who knows?

Kelly Swanson: Okay.

Oscar De La Hoya: That was a joke.

Operator: Thank you. Our next question is coming from Marcus Henry of News Day.

Marcus Henry: Okay obviously we all know that you want to win this fight but outside of winning it, what do you hope to get out of this? Like is there any part of your game you're looking to improve on or maybe a style change? What specifically are you hoping to get out of it?

Oscar De La Hoya: Absolutely the style change that we're going to bring into this fight. See one thing that people don't know is that I can box on my toes and I can move elusively and, you know, I can put my hands down and pop my jab from my waist side and I can move around and I can do all that stuff. I just haven't. And, you know, in this fight we're going to do a lot of different things.

You know, I mean, obviously the one thing that I'm going to - that's going to benefit me the most is relaxing in the ring and having fun and staying with the guy, you know, no matter who it is. And so, you know, this fight is going to benefit me a lot.

You know, obviously with Stevie having Floyd Jr.'s style, not quite that similar but to a certain extent. Also I can work on things, you know, Stevie Forbes stays right in front of you. He moves his feet quite a bit and stays in the center of the ring but he is - he'll stay in front of you and fight. So I think it's going to be very beneficial when I step inside that ring with Steve.

Operator: Thank you. Our next question is coming from Rich Bergeron of Fight News Unlimited.

Rich Bergeron: First I was wondering if you could comment on what happened with your plans to get into promoting MMA with Affliction and secondly I was wondering if any of the business aspects of your promotional work create any kind of distraction in preparing for a fight. Do you want me to

Oscar De La Hoya: Right, well we decided that we are going to focus all our energies in promoting boxing. Boxing is the thing that we have to focus on because there's so much room for growth. The potential is enormous and we definitely want to capitalize and have all our focuses and energy in taking boxing to another level when it comes to publicity, when it comes to branding, when it comes to attracting new sponsors.

You know, so it's, you know, it was very crucial for us to make sure we have our focuses on boxing because we still haven't even gotten to where we want to get. And, you know, when it comes to maximizing the potential that boxing has, you know, boxing is a sport that has a lot of room for growth and we have to make sure we focus on that. And we'll still be working with Affliction obviously. I mean, Affliction is a great brand. Affliction has done a tremendous job in promoting fights, promoting boxing, and, you know, Affliction is very much interested in working with Golden Boy.

Richard Schaefer: Maybe I can just - this is Richard, if I can just add to that. We don't rule out eventually to get involved in mixed martial arts but the time is not now. I think mixed martial arts business is going through some very rough patches and some very I think transition issues.

I don't know for those of you who follow the market, but there were recently two SEC filings from two of the companies which actually are publicly held that raised doubt as to the validity of if they can continue as ongoing concerns. So we sort of like want to see what's going to happen with the sport. We want to see how everything is going to shape out and maybe at one point we will enter the mixed martial arts business and diversify our business.

But right now Oscar is absolutely right. There is going to be a lot of news coming out to boxing. Our focus is 100% on boxing and actually on Saturday, May 3 we will have a press conference at noon from the media hotel where we are going to make two major announcements as it relates to the sport of boxing and Golden Boy. So stay tuned on that and we just love the sport of boxing and we have barely - as Oscar said, we have barely scratched the surface.

Rich Bergeron: All right and the second part of that question about the distraction?

Oscar De La Hoya: Well there's no distraction whatsoever. I mean, you know, when I'm in training it's solely training. You know, I have such a competent team, you know, with Richard Schaefer leading the army, you know, he's a person who is always on top of everything and making sure that everything is done right.

And you know, the whole Golden Boy team is, you know, sometimes doesn't even need no, you know, they don't even talk to me or give me a call to get some answers or, you know, they know what they are doing. And, you know, therefore I can be at ease in my training and just focus on all my energies on my upcoming fight.

Oscar De La Hoya: ((Spanish Spoken)).

Jairo Giraldo: ((Spanish Spoken)).

Oscar De La Hoya: ((Spanish Spoken)).

Oscar De La Hoya: The question was for obviously, you know, what happened with Felix Sturm and, you know, these type of opponents, you know, with the fight of their life, you know, have you prepared yourself for this fight here with Steve Forbes. And I go yeah, of course. You know, this is - obviously I don't want that happening anymore, you know, with what happened with Felix Sturm. Had I been in shape Felix Sturm, can I knock him out? Absolutely.

So, you know, it's obviously my fault that I didn't get in shape for that fight but, you know, it's never ever going to happen again. I have learned my lesson and, you know, that's the last thing that I would ever want to happen now at this stage of my career is not be prepared for anybody. So, you know, I'm giving more than 100% for these final three fights and people will see that.

Operator: Thank you. Our next question is coming from Carlos Gonzalez of Primera Hora.

Carlos Gonzalez: ((Spanish Spoken)).

Oscar De La Hoya: ((Spanish Spoken)).

Oscar De La Hoya: Well he was asking me about what this December fight would be and, you know, I told him I never - you can never count nobody out. You can never, you know, scratch anybody off the list. You know, anything can happen. I mean, you know, I mean, obviously beating Stevie Forbes which I intend to do and beating Floyd Mayweather which I intend to do, you know, who will my December fight be?

And I told him well, I mean, if you beat the best in the world against Floyd Jr. you have to continue that, you know, streak and obviously there's (Miguel Codo) who is considered one of the best. You know, but you can never tell, you know, I mean, who you're going to face that much ahead, that much time ahead because, you know, I mean, in December anything can happen.

You know, he's fighting (Margarito), anything can happen there so, you know, but obviously we know it's, you know, an easy fight for (Codo) and, you know, we just feel that, you know, we'll take it one fight at a time and then we'll go from there.

Operator: Thank you. Our next question is coming from Steve Carp of Las Vegas Review Journal.

Steve Carp: Great, great. Hey Oscar, given what's happened to yourself and other Golden Boy fighters in Nevada the past few big fights, you know, Hopkins Saturday, Marquez and Pacquiao. Is there any thoughts on yours or Richard's part of moving this Mayweather fight out of Nevada to either New York or California, some other venue where you may feel you get a fairer shot?

Oscar De La Hoya: Well it's been a rocky road for us in Las Vegas, I mean, but, you know, we have a lot of faith, you know, that Las Vegas will do the right thing. I mean, you know, we're becoming such an important part of Las Vegas boxing and, you know, we want to continue it for many years to come. I mean, Las Vegas has proven that they are the top commission and the top, you know, state to fight in if you want to be in the big time boxing.

So, you know, it's - I guess it's, you know, it happens. I mean, you have those decisions and, you know, it's just so difficult, you know, to win in Vegas though when you're a Golden Boy fighter. But all I can say is that I have my eyes very, very close on them and we're going to open up our eyes even more. And, you know, but we have the utmost respect for them and, you know, the bottom line is that they're a very respectable commission.

Steve Carp: Richard, your thoughts on that?

Richard Schaefer: No comments. I'd rather say nothing. But what I can say is I think the commission - Oscar is absolutely right. I respect a lot Chairman (Bailey) and the members of the commission and same as with (Keith Kaiser) and we have a very nice relationship with them. So I really don't think it has - I know it has nothing to do with the commission. I consider these people friends.

I think some of the judges, I don't know what it is, some of the old time judges maybe have different preferences and again, I mean, I just - it is, you know, looking back the last seven or so close fights in Las Vegas, we lost them all. But, you know, I mean, so it is and I think that Oscar will not leave it in the hands of the judges because knowing the way it is.

And, you know, I think I'm glad you asked the question because you're not the only media member. I think the media is starting to take notice of that against Golden Boy judging. And, you know, maybe it's going to help to make some of these judges more honest.

Operator: Thank you. Our final question is coming from Salvador Rodriguez of The Record.

Salvador Rodriguez: ((Spanish Spoken)).

Oscar De La Hoya: ((Spanish Spoken)).

Oscar De La Hoya: Well, I mean, what - how do I - how are people going to perceive this fight? I mean, how do I want people to remember this fight? You know, what are people going to take in from this fight? This is going to be one heck of a fight. I mean, Stevie Forbes like all my other opponents are going to elevate themselves to another level because they know by having a good performance, by beating me, they take their career to another stage.

So, I mean, I think that's what's going to make it such a great fight is that I know Stevie Forbes is coming with everything. Therefore I will be coming with everything. So I think people are going to really appreciate this performance from both of us.

"Homecoming" --- On Saturday, May 3, De La Hoya will face former world champion Steve Forbes, in what will be the first-ever boxing event at The Home Depot Center's soccer stadium. The bout will also mark De La Hoya's return home to fight for the first time in Los Angeles since 2000 as well as his return to HBO's World Championship Boxing for the first time since 2001. Homecoming" is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Tournament of Contenders, AEG and The Home Depot Center and is sponsored by Cazadores, Tecate, Rockstar Energy Drink, Southwest Airlines and Affliction Clothing. The match up will be televised live by HBO's World Championship Boxing beginning at 10pm ET / 7pm PT.

Article posted on 26.04.2008

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