MIAMI—World Boxing Council super welterweight champion Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga will be fighting one of the most popular boxers in history on May 6, “The Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya, and his training regimen is evidence that he is taking this fight seriously.

Mayorga started his training here on Feb. 23 at the new Fight Club gym. The first interval of training began with a 3-mile morning jog each day at 7 a.m. After his jog, El Matador eats breakfast and takes a nap.

Gym training begins at 1 p.m. His work consists of stretching, skipping rope, exercises and strength and conditioning for an hour. Then it’s into the ring where his coaches are stressing technique with pads for 30 minutes. The workout concludes with warm-down exercises.

During the second week of March the training schedule changed to include 30 minutes per day of sparring. The adjusted training schedule starts at the gym beginning at 1 p.m. Roadwork was increased to four-to-five miles per day beginning around 7 p.m.

Mayorga and his co-trainer Stacy McKinley were interviewed during today’s media workout in Miami.

“We have already achieved 90 rounds of boxing, which is a large number,” McKinley said. “We’ve also put in 50 rounds of pad work and an equal number of rounds for shadow boxing. We’ve also put in 30 rounds with the heavy bag so far.

“Right now, we’re ramping down the training regimen to avoid peaking too soon. Next week, we’ll pick it back up so Ricardo peaks on May 6.

“Ricardo is already in as good condition as he was for his last three fights. Come May 6, he’ll have moved up two more levels. That’s what I call the fifth level or world championship condition. That’s what it takes to survive at the top. Ricardo has always been dangerous, but imagine what he’s going to be like when he arrives in perfect condition.

“I co-trained Ricardo for both the fights with Vernon Forrest where he was in excellent condition. He will be in better condition for this fight. Not only that, he’ll be stronger for this fight because he’ll be at the 154-pound limit as opposed to the suffering he had to endure to make 147.

“Everyone knows this is a dangerous fight for Oscar, including Oscar himself. We know this is a great opportunity for us and some members of the media have forgotten how talented Ricardo really is.

“I left Ricardo after the Spinks fight because I didn’t agree with the strategy to try to box Spinks.  Now he’s doing what he does best. He’s a banger. Oscar is a better boxer than Ricardo.  Likewise, we know Ricardo is a better fighter than Oscar is. Our strategy is to make this man stand and fight. De La Hoya will have no choice. No running room, no ducking and hiding. We are training to fight, and I mean fight, for 12 full rounds.

“Oscar’s got a good chin; I think Ricardo’s is better. Oscar’s got heart, but he doesn’t have the heart Ricardo has shown. If you notice, when it gets tough, Oscar will give it up. I saw him do it with Felix Trinidad and Bernard Hopkins. Mayorga will make him do the same thing. Oscar’s a front runner. Once you catch up to him, you can hunt him down. Ricardo’s a gunslinger. He’ll unload both guns from the first round.”

Mayorga was equally defiant meeting with the media.

“It takes discipline to become a champion and even more to remain a champion. I am being disciplined in my training camp. I have even tailed off the drinking and cigarettes.

“My motto for this fight is: I’ll live and die for my championship. De La Hoya is coming into my danger zone. The fight is being called danger zone because that’s where Oscar is headed. He’s stubborn and he disrespected me during the media tour and that will be his downfall come May 6.

“I don’t have to prepare mentally all that much for this match because I’m always ready to fight. That’s what I am, a Nicaraguan street fighter. Oscar is the one that needs to prepare mentally to face me.

“Honestly, I have not watched a single tape of Oscar De La Hoya’s fights. I already know what his weaknesses are. He is crazy to think he can try to stand up in front of me and take the punishment I will deliver. Oscar’s washed up. He was great at one time but logic and Mother Nature tell you he’s washed up now.

“I have my work cut out for me because I’m fighting in his backyard but I would fight him in the backyard of his home in front of all of his fans and still beat him.

“I don’t want to leave the decision up to the judges so I’m going to knock him out before the sixth round.

“I have been sparring with live chickens as they emulate ‘chicken’ De La Hoya best. They run just like he does. Most people don’t understand that of all the fighters in boxing, Oscar is the one I like least. He’s a pretty boy and it makes me want to defeat him.

“He shouldn’t have gone down from that body shot that Bernard Hopkins threw. Everyone knows he took a dive in that fight.

“If he’s a man like he says he is, he should show his Mexican pride and fight with me. I know he is not the fighter he once was but he can still stand and fight me like a man.

“My strategy is to have a larger punch output and knock Oscar out. I don’t want to hear him back out of the fight because his butt hurts or he hurt his pinky finger. I want him to come to fight.”

Tickets for De La Hoya vs. Mayorga, “Danger Zone,” priced at $1250, $950, $750, $350 and $150 are on sale now at the MGM Grand Garden Arena box office and are also available at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (Tower Records/WOW!, Smith’s Food and Drug Centers, Robinsons-May stores and Ritmo Latino). Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (702) 474-4000.  Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.comor