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An Exclusive interview With Oscar De La Hoya
Francis Walker

February 24, 2000

February 23, 2000

An Exclusive interview With Oscar De La Hoya:
De La Hoya Returns To The Garden
By Francis Walker

This past Wednesday at the final press conference leading up to this Saturday's highly anticipated return of Oscar De La Hoya, I had an opportunity to chat with the former undefeated welterweight champ. De La Hoya (31-1, 25KOs) who faces WBC No. 1 welterweight contender, Derrell Coley (34-1-2, 24KOs) on February 26 at Madison Square Garden, was able to shed some more light on his 12-round loss to WBC/IBF 147-pound champ, Felix Trinidad last September. In addition, De La Hoya was also willing to discuss other issues that he feels has hampered his career as a "fighter."

Francis Walker: Oscar, I had you ahead after the eighth round in your welterweight showdown against Felix Trinidad last September, but what happened in the final four rounds?

Oscar De La Hoya: All of the blame is on me, and what happened? I just did not have the confidence to exchange punches. I did not have the confidence because, I did not train hard enough to exchange punches with him.

FW: You did not have the confidence to exchange punches with Felix Trinidad, although it was clear he had nothing in his arsenal in the earlier rounds?

De La Hoya: The last four rounds!

FW: Why is that?

De La Hoya: I trained to box him, but not to exchange punches. It's a whole different conditioning that you have to go through. Exchanging punches just requires so much. Boxing - you can coast and just play with the guy, and your heart beat just stays at one certain level. When you exchange punches, your heart beat goes up and you are so tired.

FW: Do you feel any regrets, as you look back toward your performance against Trinidad?

De La Hoya: There are a lot of regrets! I can blame myself - that is all I can do. No more boxing I guess? That's the way it should be, that's the way it has to be.

FW: In the first eight rounds you performed one way, but in the final four rounds you did not press the action as accustomed. What altered you thinking at that point?

De La Hoya: I was in the best shape of my life to box. I stood on my toes for twelve rounds - that right there alone requires to much! Just when you have to go down and dig deep down inside, which I didn't, I do not did down deep to unleash those combinations. I did not have the confidence to do that.

FW: I mean come on? A fight of that magnitude: De La Hoya vs. Trinidad.

De La Hoya: I know, that's why I regret. I regret that whole fight. I am disgusted with myself - let's put it that way!

FW: On the night of the Trinidad fight, an several other prior, you had Gil Clancy in your corner. Was it because you were not awarded the decision against Trinidad Clancy was fired?

De La Hoya: Gil Clancy, we decided, not to have him because, there was too much confusion in the corner. When you have my father and then my brother complaining about certain things, I'm not going to argue with them. Gil Clancy there's is no problem what so ever.

FW: Does Trinidad beat David Reid, the WBA 154-pound champ next Friday on March 3?

De La Hoya: I truly feel that fight is going to happen for some reason. If it does happen, I feel that Reid has an advantage because of his speed. Reid can box. Reid is a very fast fighter and that can present a lot of problems for Trinidad. I'd prefer for it not to happen because, that would be two more opponents for me down the road.

FW: How much do you know of Derrell Coley?

De La Hoya: I think Derrell Coley. To tell you the truth, I have no idea how he fights. I did not see any tapes, I did not study the guy. All I did was train twelve, thirteen, fourteen fifteen rounds every other day. I am not going to adjust to his style, he has to adjust to my style.

FW: Why have you had so much difficulty on setting with one, maybe two types of fighting styles?

De La Hoya: It's not my problem, it's people that come in to try to be a part of my team. People who want to put in their two cents in. People are telling me I have to box Coley. I'm not going to box Coley. I'm going to go in there and fight. When people were telling me though out the whole camp to box Trinidad because he was strong, I did not box Trinidad. When they are telling me every single day Gil, and not Robert, he wanted me to fight. There's other people that have more influence, more power than Robert - maybe myself!

FW: Who are these people, Oscar?

De La Hoya: You know, there is too much politics involved. That's the way boxing is.

FW: Oscar, you're always talking about having a number of different fighting styles and not settling on one style. After what happened against Trinidad, will you ever decide to settle with one specific style? If so, what would it be?

De La Hoya: I'm going back to my old style. This is the first camp nobody to me to box. When I fought Kamau (KO 2) that's me - go out and knock him out. I think that I have learned so much, even Robert has picked-up stuff from Emanuel, stuff from Gil. So we are working with that now. Now we are dealing with our style - just go in their and just fight!

FW: If Trinidad loses to Reid next week, is there still a possibility of a rematch with Trinidad ?

De La Hoya: I don't feel I need him. I have to fight him just to get revenge from the guy who beat me. Even if he loses there is still a possibility down the road two, three years. I am staying at 147 for quite a while. I feel good at this weight-class. If he wants, we could to fight two years down the road at 154. I ordered the rematch, but it did not happen. June 17, its either Trinidad or Sugar Shane Mosley.

FW: Do you feel that you are at the rebuilding stage of your career once again?

De La Hoya: I really do feel that way - yes! I think I've gotten this new energy once again. For once, it's train hard and duke it out in the gym.

FW: How important is it for you to win your belt back?

De La Hoya: I actually do not care about winning titles anymore: WBA, WBA, and IBF. Fighters make organizations. Organizations do not make fighters. People have been following that for so many years - you have to fight for the WBC title because, it is the most prestigious title out there. I just feel that if I fight twelve rounds against a formidable opponent, people are going to watch the fight. They are not coming to watch the title.


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