AT STATUE OF LIBERTY DE LA HOYA AND PACQUIAO SET THE SCENE: “GOLDEN BOY" SAYS HE WILL CONTINUE • Latino Sports

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AT STATUE OF LIBERTY DE LA HOYA AND PACQUIAO SET THE SCENE: “GOLDEN BOY" SAYS HE WILL CONTINUE

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Rich Mancuso attended a news conference with the Statue of Liberty on the background and reports: “One thing is certain about Oscar De La Hoya. The 10-time world champion is not going to retire from the ring after his 12-round welterweight fight with Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao on December 6th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.” For more background information:

NEW YORK – One thing is certain about Oscar De La Hoya. The 10-time world champion is not going to retire from the ring after his 12-round welterweight fight with Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao on December 6th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  On Wednesday afternoon, with the Statue of Liberty in the background, De La Hoya made his intentions known.

 

 

“The bottom line is I am not thinking of retirement,” said De La Hoya who will be at 147 for this fight billed as “The Dream Match.” Pacquiao is considered the best pound-for-pound fighter and will move up from the lightweight division. As for De La Hoya, a co-promoter of the fight with Top Rank, this could be his biggest challenge.

 

Bigger than his fights with Felix Trinidad and Floyd Mayweather Jr. So De La Hoya who was looking for a return bout with Mayweather, one that didn’t happen because Mayweather retired, sought other options.

 

The Mayweather December 6th date with Pacquiao, to be televised on HBO pay-per-view became the best option. “I want to be involved in the biggest events for the sport of boxing,” said De Le Hoya who quickly stopped all speculation that this would be his last fight.

 

Considered the biggest and most popular fighter, at least on a pay-per-view scale, De La Hoya wanted Mayweather. He lost a 12-round decision to Mayweather in May of 2000, a fight that set pay-per-view and revenue records.  But when that fight was scrapped the talk got stronger that De La Hoya would stick with the December 6th plan and focus on another opponent.

 

There was speculation it would be current welterweight champion Antonio Margarito, or Julio Chavez Jr.  But De La Hoya, according to sources at Top Rank did not want to fight another fighter of Mexican descent.  Pacquiao (47-3-2, 35KO’s) from General Santos City, Philippines made a challenge, even if he had to move up in weight.

 

Pacquiao, the hard hitting southpaw who has won 23 of his last 24 fights, including 2008 world title wins over WBC super featherweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez and WBC Lightweight champion David Diaz, was more than happy to hear he would face De La Hoya.

 

“He likes to punch,” said Pacquiao. “Guys I like to fight who punch like me. He’s an exciting fighter and it will be my biggest challenge.” All of this was said after Pacquiao and De La Hoya posed for photos by the Statue of Liberty. It was the first boxing press conference held on Liberty Island.

 

For the two fighters, it was the first stop of a five-city press tour that will take them to the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco the NASA Space Center in Florida and the Alamo in San Antonio Texas. Then it will be off to their respective training camps.

 

And for De La Hoya this fight will prove if it is worth continuing. Commenting on the recurring talk that the Pacquiao fight would be his last he said, “I am still an active fighter. I think the mistake was thinking of retirement.” De La Hoya has quickly become a top promoter in the business, and time away from training and the ring has also led to the retirement talk.

 

An even more interesting twist to the fight is the presence of Freddie Roach, who will be in the corner of Pacquiao. Roach, a one-time trainer of De La Hoya, could make the difference. De La Hoya did not seem concerned about that however, there was speculation that the fight would not go on because Roach would in the opposite corner.

 

As expected De La Hoya expressed no concern or malice toward his former trainer. “No hard feelings,” said De La Hoya who will coming down to 147 pounds for the first time since defeating Arturo Gatti at that weight eight years ago.

 

“Freddie is a great trainer and a great guy,” he said. “I learned a lot during that nine-week period an now I’m going to use it against him,” said Roach who trained De La Hoya for the Mayweather fight. “Can he still pull the trigger? We’ll see,” added Roach.

 

And De La Hoya will be trained by Nacho Beristein, who trained Marquez in his two fights with Pacquiao.  “Oscar is at his best now and this will be a fight that will once again show he is a champion and can still fight at 147 with no problem,” said Beristein.

 

Many were saying this will not be a so-called Dream Match. They wanted to see De La Hoya and Mayweather one more time, and perhaps that fight will happen again. All depending of course if De La Hoya prevails on December 6th and there is talk that Mayweather is restless and contemplating a return to the ring.

 

But for now the focus for De La Hoya is Pacquiao. And as both fighters stared at the Statue of Liberty, and as they stared each other down on the podium, there wasn’t much of a size difference between them.

 

The fight sold out in a few hours when first announced last week, there is a ticket revenue possibility of over $17 million and promoters are offering 33,000 tickets for fans to see the fight on closed circuit television in the :Las Vegas area. The fight could be second in revenue to that De La Hoya-Mayweather bout.

 

“I’m going to ride the wave for a little while,” offered De La Hoya when the proceedings were over. It was off to Chicago as Pacquiao signed gloves and photos for the many fans of Philippines descent that came to see him.

 

  

About Rich Mancuso

Established sports journalist and educator. Contact Rich at [email protected]