It’s not business. It’s personal.
Usually professional boxers talk about their upcoming fights as being business only with no real animosity toward opponents. But a Wednesday morning telephone conference call with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya crossed that line with bulldozer impact.
“He’s fake,” said Mayweather from his training camp in Las Vegas.
Mayweather attacked De La Hoya’s dress habits, victories, promotion company and his boxing style during his portion of the interviews with the press. Meanwhile De La Hoya, who is in Puerto Rico, didn’t hold back completely either in skewering his opponent’s personality.
Verbal blows were liberally exchanged.
With only 37 days left until De La Hoya and Mayweather meet at the MGM Grand on Cinco de Mayo, the two boxers seemed to have twisted the psychological tourniquet another wrung as the most awaited junior middleweight clash or non heavyweight fight nears. Promoters expect the fight to break pay-per-view records.
“It’s going to be the biggest fight in the history of the sport,” said Richard Schaefer, CEO for Golden Boy Promotions. “The Dish Network is already accepting orders for the fight. That’s unprecedented.”
The Mayweather-De La Hoya clash at the MGM Grand has already broken gate records with its three-hour sell out that passed the $19 million mark. The previous gate receipt mark was held by Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis for their second fight in 1999 that sold $16.8 million in tickets.
Mayweather bluntly says it’s not solely his opponent’s drawing power that afforded the gate record, though De La Hoya’s fights are ranked in seven of the top 12 most successful gates in Las Vegas history.
“He thought he sold this fight out. I do good numbers with or without Oscar,” said Mayweather matter of fact. “I needed a dance partner and he needed a dance partner.”
The Michigan native who now makes Las Vegas his home, also said his father Floyd Mayweather Sr. is in his camp daily, but his uncle Roger Mayweather is his trainer.
“My uncle Roger has been a hell of a trainer for years. He just doesn’t get the props,” said Mayweather of his uncle who recently served a stint in prison for assault. “It’s more like my dad ‘s going to be in the fight front row, he may be in the corner. He’s been in the gym and it’s been nothing but love.”
The undefeated four-time world champion – he captured the junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight championships – made a point of describing inefficiencies in De La Hoya’s arsenal and fighting style.
“There are four ways to beat him because he’s got four L’s (losses),” Mayweather said. “There is no style that can beat Floyd Mayweather cause we haven’t seen him lose yet.”
Mayweather skewered De La Hoya’s stance and claimed many of his victories bogus.
“He got a lot of gifts,” said Mayweather of several close victories by De La Hoya noting the decision wins over Ike Quartey and Pernell Whitaker. “We know he gets tired and he will lay down.”
Several thousand miles away, in Puerto Rico, De La Hoya verbally fired away on one occasion but preferred to speak of his new trainer Freddie Roach, his own training on the island of Puerto Rico and the relationship with Shane Mosley.
“Shane Mosley’s style will help me for my fight and my style will help him for his upcoming fight,” said De La Hoya by telephone.
De La Hoya feels pressure to represent in good fashion the Mexican fighter as well as Latinos overall because he now lives in Puerto Rico.
“It’s a motivation that I don’t look bad to the Puerto Rican people,” De La Hoya said. “Historically they are great fans and I feel obligated to look good for them.”
Mayweather also said De La Hoya’s straight up boxing style is penetrable. Oh, and one more thing: “I found out the *** can’t dress.”
After spending days on the traveling press tour that took place several weeks ago, De La Hoya had one more thing to say: “He’s saying I’m nothing and haven’t fought anybody. It’s uncalled for and unnecessary. You would never see Tiger Woods talk bad about Jack Nicklaus. It’s disrespectful and it really revs me up to shut him up on May 5.”
San Jose fight card Thursday
Andre Ward, Jesus Rodriguez and Shadi Hamsho will be featured on a fight card on Thursday March 29, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. The special guest of honor will be heavyweight contender James “Lights Out” Toney.
For tickets and information call (408) 977-4715.
Contender star on Montebello card
Miguel Espino (13-2-1), one of the contestants on the Contender reality television show from the first season, will be fighting Juadiel Zepeda (8-1-1) in a middleweight boxing match at the Quiet Cannon Golf Course in Montebello on Friday March 30.
Espino fights out of the San Fernando Valley area and ironically will be fighting in fellow Contender Sergio Mora’s territory. Both are friends.
The fight card promoted by All Star Boxing will also feature amateur star Jennifer Barber making her pro debut. For ticket and information call (323) 781-4871.
Carlos Molina signs
Speaking of the Commerce Boxing Club, one of its gems Carlos Molina recently signed with boxing manager Frank Espinoza. Team Espinoza also has former world champions Israel Vazquez, Martin Castillo and several other excellent fighters in its roster.
Molina is a junior lightweight who combines speed with a lot of pop. He also has excellent boxing ability. He reminds me of a younger version of Panchito Bojado with his sharp punches and serious power.
The former US Olympian boxer Vicente Escobedo will be facing Mexico’s Sammy Ventura at the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson on Friday March 30.
Escobedo has been training at the Wild Card Boxing Club and like many others at that gym, he will be fighting without Freddie Roach in his corner. The famous trainer is busy with Oscar De La Hoya in Puerto Rico. But Escobedo still has Justine Fortune working with him. The fight will be televised by Telefutura.
Marquez Honored in Mexico City
Juan Manuel Marquez was toasted in Mexico City before a packed crowd in a restaurant on Tuesday. Those in attendance to greet the new world champion from their town were Chucho Castillo, Pipino Cuevas, Carlos Zarate, Lupe Pintor and others.
Marquez said he plans to fight in September against either Marco Antonio Barrera or Manny Pacquiao.