De La Hoya speaks to the press


30.04.07 – By Vanessa McConnell: As the “World Awaits” the clock is winding down to one of the most anticipated fights of all times. For years fans have wanted to see the best of both worlds go face to face in the ring and now fans have their way on May 5 when Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya enter the ring. Last week, Oscar De La Hoya held a press conference attended by over 700 media outlets from all over the world. He’s ready to go and can’t wait to step in the ring with Floyd on Cinco De Mayo. “I can and we strongly feel that, yes, it’s going to be a good fight. It’s going to be a great fight, but were ready for anything,” said De La Hoya opening the conference..

“And truly, I think this fight here, aside from all of the other fights I’ve had or other events I’ve been involved with, this one here, I’m just anxious. I just can’t wait to get inside that ring and to let that bell ring. I just can’t wait to run over to his corner and just starting fighting. I mean, that’s, I can feel it now, I dream about it every night. So it’s actually fun. I’m enjoying this training temp; I’m enjoying this whole event. So I’m making it worth my while. So it’s definitely going to be a big fight.”

“This by far has to be the biggest (fight or promotion in his career). Just being involved with the whole promotion obviously because we’re promoting it, it just feels and it seems that much bigger than any other fight I’ve been involved with. Leading up to the events, just with all the interviews I’ve been doing and photo shoots of various magazine. And people wanted to go to the fight, celebrities and it just feels really big. And so when I was involved with the Trinidad fight we didn’t have this, we didn’t have all this. We didn’t, I mean, we didn’t’ have national sponsors or putting our, the fight prints on cans. Or we just didn’t have all that stuff, so it’s really exciting, this is what it’s all about.”

“This is the way boxing should be promoted. If Golden Boy Promotions was promoting the Trinidad fight with me, we would have easily done more than two million homes. If other big events were promoted through Golden Boy we would have gone through the roof. And it really is it just feels different with working with my staff and working with the other staff in the past. It’s just whole different feeling and we just bring something new and fresh to the table. With sponsorships it’s just a whole different promotion and I’m just really, really proud of our team.”

“Golden Boy Promotions who really has been doing all the work in the behind the scenes, putting the press together and making sure everything is running smooth. From Richard Schaefer who, I mean, I kind of, it’s hard to explain the gratitude I have. What he brings to the table. I’ve never ever in my life worked with another individual like Richard Schaefer. It really is amazing.”

“Those fights that I was involved with, the Chavez’s, the Whitakers, all those fight, they easily should have surpassed the million mark easy. Without a doubt because the way we’re promoting, the ways we’re letting the world know that hey there’s a fight. I mean, this is, we’re promoting like no other promoter has ever promoted. And we’re bringing in something new to the table with sponsors and it’s, the synergies that are, they’re just amazing with the Tecate Beer and the Casa Dorez bringing in Southwest Airlines and Dr. Pepper, it’s incredible. Everybody knows about this fight. So it‘s just been, and it‘s team effort and obviously with having Richard Shaefer, the mastermind it‘s a pleasure.”

“Obviously any media adds to the excitement and adds to the, it brings attention; it draws attention to any event. But what really sets it apart is what our sponsors are doing to take the fight out there to the public. I mean, Tecate Beer putting our, putting the fight image on their cans. On every can out there that people drink and then every store you go in, you’ll be able to see the fight imprint on the can. And what Casa Dorez (ph) is doing and Dr. Pepper and Southwest Airlines, I mean, that’s those are new fans that really haven’t been introduced to boxing. So and obviously with HBO, what they’re doing with the 24/7 show, I mean, that’s just priceless.”

“Our lives will be on the boxing world inside that ring and the only thing we have to do is perform. And perform as hard as we can. I keep on saying this, in my end I’m going to perform as hard as I can. I’m going to fight as hard as I can, because now it’s up to us. Everything else outside the ring, to take the fight to the public and to make sure the public knows about this fight is done. Everybody knows about this fight and so now it’s up to us to perform.”

“HBO brought in this new series 24/7. It would be wonderful if HBO can do that for every major fight. I mean it would be great for the sport; it would great for the event. But I think it boils down to fighters fighting each other. The best fighting the best, that’s what it boils down to. And I think what this fight is going to do, when all those fighters out there are watching this event. They’re going to say, you know what, I want to be there. Let me fight the best. And it’s not only going to attract fans, it’s not only going to attract the attention to the boxing world. But it’s going to make the fighters say, hey, I want to be involved in these big fights. And I think that’s how you are going to create that momentum, fighters fighting each other and one big event after the other.”

“Golden Boy Promotions is promoters working with, together, with each other. I mean that’s what we have to do. We have to get together and make these fights happen.” What Golden Boy Promotions have been able to do with promoting this fight and magnify the success of the event was “attract sponsors.” De La Hoya feels, “obviously the sponsors that we’re attracting now it’s because of what we represent. What our company represents.”

In reference to all the trash talk from the Mayweather camp, De La Hoya distinguished the negative from the positive and is focusing on one thing, the fight. “Oh, it’s night and day. Night and day, I mean, he ask for it and he’s going to get it. When I go to the gym, I train hard anyways for any fighter. It’s just my work ethic is very professional. But when a fighter just talks that little trash, for some reason it just sparks something in me. It takes me to a whole new level. It really makes me a student of the game. I want to learn, I want to run more. I want to run extra miles. I want to spar more rounds. And everything has just been running smooth and everything is perfect.”

“I mean with Freddie Roach in my corner for the first time, I’m so motivated because of him. I want to impress him. I want to train hard every day so he can see that I am a fist fighter. So everything is perfect. I’m not going to fight angry. I trained angry, but I’m not going to fight angry and that’s going to be the difference. Everything that comes out of his (Floyd) mouth, it’s motivating to me because it just makes me work that much harder. But there’s no respect whatsoever there.”

“I will always need boxing. Boxing is what made me. Boxing is what’s always going to make me. The sport is a sport that I just have so much passion for and that I love. And obviously that’s one of the reasons why I turned promoter. To continue on receiving from the sport and also contributing to the sport because it works both ways, but obviously boxing is, I owe everything I have to boxing.”

Everybody thinks that because De La Hoya has the advantage over Floyd when it comes to weight, but Oscar is not using it for personal gain. Floyd said that the fight is not going to be about “weight smarts,” and Oscar agrees, “you can be smart in the ring, but he’s not fighting no pushover here. It’s going to make a big difference,” but weight is not “what is going to be the advantage.”

Sponsors have stepped up to support this fight with deep pockets and this has opened the eyes of many others who want to benefit from major sponsors coming on board. Several sponsors have signed on already for the upcoming Pay-Per-View fight in July between Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright. Golden Boy Promotions is also talking to other Fortune 500 companies to bring to the sport as well. Hundreds of stores are tied in with Golden Boy as well as one that just signed up with Bally’s Fitness.

No press conference is complete without somebody bringing up the UFC controversy. Will UFC succeed boxing instead of will UFC gain the respect from boxing is what everybody want to know. In boxing defense, Oscar said, “ Well, I don’t really think we’re competing for the, I mean, the same audience. I mean if you take a look at UFC’s biggest event that they’ve ever done which they said was going to pass, you know, millions and millions of homes.”

“I mean I don’t think they’ve even reached the 900,000 home marks, you know, I mean the UFC is a sport that recently, you know, was introduced to the world, to the United States and, you know, it’s obviously doing very well with the younger audience, but, you know, it doesn’t have that history of boxing. It doesn’t have, you know, the 100 years of history that our great sport has, you know and I think that’s the difference. I mean, you know, boxing will always be around but, you know, we have to ask ourselves, I mean, will the UFC be around for as long as boxing.”

De La Hoya could care less about fighting on Floyd’s turf and who’s corner the fans may be in. He’s only there for one reason, to fight. “I’m not even thinking about that and, you know, I mean I had the choice of having this fight in Los Angeles which is obviously my home. Or in Las Vegas which is Floyd’s home and I decided, hey, let’s do it in his backyard, you know, I mean Las Vegas is where he’s from and, you know, I have no worries whatsoever.”

“I mean we’re going to do a fight – put on a great, great fight, obviously I know that on my part, but if it goes to the judges, you know, the decision is in their hands and obviously Nevada Commission always appoints competent judges to, you know, to do the right thing so I’m not worried about it whatever. I mean if the fans are, you know, cheering me on more than they are, you know, for him, I mean that’s – it’s, you know, probably his fault.”

“I mean, the way he acts, the way he carries himself. I mean, you know, he didn’t choose to be the villain; He is a villain. I mean, that’s just the way he is, you know, and, you know, that has nothing to do with any outcome or, you know, leaving it to the judges’ hands. I mean, we have to fight in there and we have to win the fight and, like I said, if it goes to the judges, you know, Nevada’s, you know, competent in having good judging in their state.”

“Ever since I first met the guy, you know, I mean every since we wanted to tour and he started talking all that trash. I mean, you know, it’s – I did have respect for him obviously as a fighter, but it’s just gone – it’s just – he goes over the top so much that it’s just that I lose that respect for him, you know. I mean, do I hate the guy, I don’t hate the guy. I mean I’m not really that type of person to hate anybody but, you know, I think he just lost the respect I have for him. What comes out of his mouth is garbage, you know.”

“I mean I don’t know what it is. I mean I remember talking to him, it was me and Sugar Ray Leonard, we were flying on a private jet back from I think it was the Boxing Hall of Fame and we were talking to Floyd, Jr., we were on the same plane together, and we were telling him, oh look, you’re the future and you can be very marketable and this and that. And he was just like, awe, whatever, you know, I don’t care, you know. So his attitude has been, you know, has been just, you know, keeping him from being a Sugar Ray Leonard the way we had in the 70s.”

Oscar admits that Floyd has good speed and that‘s his strength, “but I’ll tell you one thing, that night, May 5th, I’m going to be able to match his speed and I think, you know, his fast movements, his body movements are fairly quickly so, you know, we have to look out for his foot work, you know, which obviously starts and which triggers everything so, you know, we’ll make sure that we cut off the ring good and attack.”

The emotional impact of fighting one of the biggest fights of his career on Cinco De Mayo was astronomical. “I just – it just feels – I feel proud, you know, of fighting on such important Mexican holidays, you know, especially here in the United States of America. I mean obviously, I’m a proud American and always will be. But fighting on those days which is Cinco De Mayo which is the War of Pueblo and the Mexican Independence Day on September 16, you know, those are special days for the Mexican National and obviously we know that a lot of Mexicans here in the United States and to me, it’s just – it’s a representation of me supporting and being there for my family who are obviously Mexican and for families that are here in the States.”

The HBO series “De La Hoya/Mayweahter 24/7” will give us an all access pass to both camps leading up to the fight premiered last weekend. Oscar doesn’t get caught up in what’s said or done by now, he’s only focusing on his night in the ring. All myths and rumors will cease on that night. “I have watched it. I mean it’s obviously, you know, I’ve contributed to the great ratings we’ve had and I mean obviously his comments I, you know, one ear out the other.”

“I obviously have no comment whatsoever on what he has to say but, you know, and the way he acts, I mean he’s just, you know, as the fight gets closer and closer, you know, you tend to see it. He’s getting nervous and more nervous and more nervous, you know. I can see these things and obviously a big event like this can make you jumpy, and you know, and as the fight gets closer, we’re going to be able to see it firsthand on 24/7 how Mayweather is just getting nervous.”