30.10.03 – Interview by Carlos “Stiff-jab” Kalinchuk: Last week “The Golden Boy” Oscar DelaHoya was in Houston promoting the Raul “El Diamante” Marquez and Humberto Aranda card featrured on HBO Latino. The card was a success and as Oscar mentioned at the Press Conference, this could lead to a future fight at Reliant Stadium.
With about 8 reporters around after the press conference, I was able to ask Oscar’s thoughts on his career and future. This is the interview in its entirety. Some of the questions reporters asked were odd but the responses were well worth printing considering some of the ideas Oscar has on improving the sport. Hopefully his inquiries bring light to some of the questionable judges in the sport today. Although he mentioned no names, I will. The Anek Hongtongkam’s, David Robertsons (Houston), Raul Cais Sr. (Sacramento), two of the Byrd/Oquendo Judges, and Dalby Shirley’s of the world, have no business scoring fights. Their decisions in the past have drawn the ire of many a fight fan and as Oscar mentioned, and most agree, something needs to be done.
Perhaps finding out how judges are selected and what criteria are used to score a fight is a start (as Oscar mentioned in this interview) but I believe what’s most important, is identifying boxings bad judges by name and publishing the judges names prior to a fight well in advance. This and allowing the public a record of the judges scoring history would help tremendously. Why not show the public which rounds they scored that were contested by the fans and media alike? I’m not advocating the fans or media picking the judges, but the commissions judge selections should be able to stand such scrutiny. Until the fans and media rally around an honest pursuit of change, things will remain the same. Judges need to be judged. Until that happens, as Tony Soprano would say “fa’-getta-bout-it!” We’ll just talk about how much change there will be and 6 years from now, we’ll just be 6 years older and in the same place. Regardless of whether you like Oscar or not, props to him for at least making mention of it. Now we just need another hundred thousand voices out there asking the same.
Eastside: Why Raul Marquez and why the promotion in Houston?
Oscar DelaHoya: Well the reason is, is that he’s from here and he’s a great friend of mine and I think, I know he has what it takes to become Champion once again. And I’m going to try and take him to that Championship. He has a hard fight in front of him with Aranda but he wanted the fight. He wanted to demonstrate to the public and the people of Houston, where he has his biggest following and support, that “HE CAN.” That he still has the desire to fight.
Eastside: Talk to me about your 2 functions in boxing nowadays. With one being more physical (of course) in the ring and the other being serving as a Promoter where the mental stress is more significant.
Oscar DelaHoya: Promoting can also be more physical (laughs).
Eastside: Which of the two tire you the most?
Oscar DelaHoya: What tires me the most…in reality when I’m in the ring fighting, I get really tired with the fighting and trying my best but as a promoter, flying and negotiating is very tiring both mentally and physically too. Having to be in New York and then Florida and all parts of the world, there has to be a balance. I like to fight and I like to promote so I’m going to be doing both for a very long time.
Eastside: How significant is it with the injustice that recently occurred in the ring in your fight with Shane Mosley (we all saw it) that not only as a participant an observer but a promoter that you disagree publicly with the decision. Everyone knows there’s politics in boxing but how do you deal with that aspect of it?
Oscar DelaHoya: We have to change with what’s happening with boxing. We’ve seen a lot of decisions that have not been fair and just. I don’t want to mention which ones I’m talking about but I think we all know what I’m referring to (smiles). But I as a promoter I have my homework cut out for me. I along with others want to change the perception in boxing (thinking)…and I know I can with my efforts and with the people. I know that it can be done. I want to make the change for the sport. So the sport could improve and people’s perceptions could change also.
Eastside: Money is not an issue for you. You’ve made a lot of money in your life from the sport. How much of an obsession is it to try and clean out the sport that needs incredible improvement?
Oscar DelaHoya: To me it is an obsession. The public doesn’t think well of it. They don’t like it. We have to try and change “that” image. The majority of people that saw the fight between Shane Mosley and I we not happy with the judges decisions. Even now they’re upset about the decision. For that reason they won’t watch boxing from now on. I want to change that mindset and tell them that I will try everything possible to make that change happen.
Eastside: Since the fight you and Bob Arum made demands indicating various things. Arum mentioned going to the Boxing Commission in Nevada and then everything died. Was this more as a result of diplomacy in boxing or did you just figure there was nothing to your allegations?
Oscar DelaHoya: I thought about it real well. I thought about what happened from the fight in the ring and in the dressing room. The people all around me were telling me that fight was yours. You won. In my mind I said, “hey” I’m going to do something about this and fight the decision and that’s when I thought I would initiate an investigation. But then when I got home and thought about it when everything was calmed down, and I said to myself “We don’t need an investigation, we need change for the sport!” And what I want to do is analyze the judges and see what are the qualifications to be a judge. I want to know that. Why one judge…when there’s 3 judges ringside see the fight one way and the rest of the public, at least 90% sees it the other way.
Eastside: Do you honestly think this is a start in cleaning up the sport?
Oscar DelaHoya: Yes. It’s the start. There has to be a start. We have to try and clean it up and I’m real confident that I can do it.
Eastside: That sounds real diplomatic for a man like you that wants to change the sport, but let’s not fool ourselves. Something happened there. Aren’t you really ticked off the way it all happened? People of your stature and Champions are often supposed to be protected from decisions like this but it seems in this case the exact opposite happened. Something happened. What do you “really” think?
Oscar DelaHoya: To this day I can’t figure it out. You’re exactly right. The big fighters, the Champions are protected and that’s the way it is. But why did this happen to me. In a fight that was very close, why did it happen to me? Why didn’t I get the decision? The truth is I don’t know what happened there. I don’t know if it was the commission or if it was someone else because the judges are paid $1,000 to be a judge. Now anyone can…but I don’t know what happened. I’m really confused.
Eastside: Then that’s the way the decision will stand?
Oscar DelaHoya: I believe so but this inspired me to let the public know (so they too will know) that with the investigation that I am doing with the judges…that how can you become a judge? What is necessary to be a judge? That is what the public will find out.
Eastside: What did you think about seeing two very hotly disputed decisions two weeks in a row with your fight and the Fres Oquendo and Chris Byrd fight? It was also a bunch of crap.
Oscar DelaHoya: I was really bothered by that. I was bothered because it happened again and no ones doing anything about it! No one’s fighting the decisions. Nothing. The Commission…nothing! And for that reason the public is asking me…not to make an investigation per say but more to find out how the judges are selected and trained. Everyone wants to know.
Eastside: Did you expect not to get the rematch with Tito Trinidad? You were ripped off in that fight too and with this recent fight also. Is that just the way it’s going to be? These chapters seem to have no closure and everyone gets real disenchanted with this. Is this just the same result with just a different opponent and date attached to it?
Oscar DelaHoya: I just have to move on and move forward. I will never forget about but I just have to move forward.
Eastside: What’s your future in the ring? Looking ahead, what can we expect?
Oscar DelaHoya: Two weeks after the fight, I took some time off and I began to think about it and analyzing my options. I want to fight. I still have love for the sport and so I don’t want to retire like that.
Eastside: How many more years in boxing? Until you beat Mosley? You’re not in a place where you’re going to be fighting just anybody.
Oscar DelaHoya: I have a lot of fights out there. I’m not ready to retire today. There’s still a lot of fights to make but not soon.
Eastside: Have you spoken with Mosley?
Oscar DelaHoya: No. No, but I would love to fight him again. I have to fight him again. It was a close fight for two tough warriors and I know the next time I will win. I just have to negotiate and I don’t know if he’ll be my next fight but I will fight him again
Eastside: Is there a chance of you ever fighting Tito Trinidad again?
Oscar DelaHoya: No. No. No. I’m positive that he won’t return. I’m confident he won’t and I spoke with him like 3-4 times and he’s happy and at peace with his family and he took care of his money.
Eastside: How about Fernando Vargas? Have you spoken with him?
Oscar DelaHoya: And him too! I can fight him or Mayorga…Bernard Hopkins. I have a lot of options. I’m just going to take my time and rest and analyze things and see what will happen.
Eastside: You spoke about fixing the sport. Can you be more specific?
Oscar DelaHoya: Well, first we need to talk to the commissions. First know what the qualifications are to be a judge.
Eastside: From your point of view, is that just the deceitfulness of boxing?
Oscar DelaHoya: It could be but no one knows. It could be a lot of things. The truth is that no one knows and like the public I’m confused. We’ve all seen fights where the decisions have been real bad but where just starting to make those investigations so…the public will know. The public is who pays their money when there is Pay Per View or HBO. We need to show them (the public) this because this is what they’re asking for.
Eastside: Unfortunately the Promoters don’t have a good name in boxing. You’ve managed your boxing career well. Do you worry that promoting and boxing at the same time, will hurt your name in the long run?
Oscar DelaHoya: No. Not at all. The people that I’ve hired at Golden Boy Promotions were not involved in boxing. They are not part of the landscape of boxing and have never been involved in the sport but they are great business people. We know that a lot of people mixed up in boxing have a questionable image. They’re business people that do everything by the book and straight and not crooked. And so with my mind and the beliefs that I have, I know I can clean up boxing image. A lot of people think, “Oh, he’s the Promoter, he buys/fixes the fights.” I can change that image because I’m very honest. I’m honest with the public and I think that will change a lot of minds.
Eastside: With that honesty that you run your business with, do you think that like other Promoters and Politicians, you will start off real well but over time that will change? Are you sure you can maintain that honesty over time?
Oscar DelaHoya: I am very, very sure because of one man in my company. He would ever let something like that happen for nothing. He’s very important in my company and even I, as a Hispanic and Latino, I would feel (thinking)…I wouldn’t feel good doing those types of things. Lying to the public. I’m not like that and I will never do that.
Eastside: Thank you.
Oscar DelaHoya: Thank you.
Carlos “Stiff-jab” Kalinchuk
Contributing Writer and Photographer