August 29, 2003

Oscar de la Hoya Prepares For War

By Fiona Manning

Boxing’s “Golden Boy” Oscar de la Hoya welcomed the media up to his swanky mountain home in the Snow Summit district of Big Bear Lake, CA, this week, ushering in his upcoming revenge match against Shane Mosley on September 13, live on PPV.

It was the most relaxed, the most entertaining we have seen the super-welterweight champion who , along with trainer Floyd Mayweather and surprisingly, his singer-wife, Puerto Rican pop star Millie C, told how he will take no prisoners in his battle with “Sugar” Shane.

Since their initial fight two years ago, de la Hoya’s and Mosely’s careers have gone through as many detours as the road up to De La Hoya’s complex in the mountains.

A very confident de la Hoya entertains the media in Big Bear. Photo by Paul Gallegos

Mosely is 0-2-1 in his last three fights since taking De La Hoya’s title. Many boxing boxing experts are wondering is he can ever fully recover from his two vicious losses at the hands of Vernon Forrest.

De la Hoya recovered from his one legitimate loss (very few consider his “loss” to Felix “Tito” Trinidad as genuine) and delivered three stunning performances that have kept his official and unofficial rankings as one of the top five pound for pound fighters in the world.

“I went into the Mosely fight thinking KO,” said de La Hoya. “This was the wrong plan. I didn’t go into the Mosely fight trying to win a round. Each round I was trying to end the fight. I had four fights in which I was going to win specifically by KO and then call it a career.

“I wanted to go out in spectacular fashion. I didn’t just want to win, but I wanted to win to solidify my place in history. I had to KO Mosely and everyone else or I wasn’t satisfied. After that loss, I had to rethink and regroup. I needed to surround myself with new people and a new trainer. Floyd Mayweather Sr. has been the key to my resurgence.”

Both fighter and trainer make no secret of the fact that de la Hoya chafed initially under Mayweather’s “old-school” style.

But when de la Hoya observed Mayweather doing the exact same thing he asked of his fighter, including running in the mountains with stone-filled boots, walking on his hands and chopping down trees, a genuine friendship was born.

Mayweather who enoys the repu-tation of being one of the best trainers in the sport stated that, “Mosely ain’t shit. He’s got all kinds of loopholes. He’s the bull and Oscar is the matador. There is no way in the world that he’s even going to touch Oscar.

“I fully expect Oscar to knock him out during the 8th through the 10th rounds. Mosely will be punished in this fight. He doesn’t know shit, he’s going to get his ass whipped, and he’s absolutely damaged goods right now. What he needs to do is get another trainer. His trainer Jack, don’t know jack.”

Mayweather was asked what he was able to take away from the first De La Hoya-Mosely fight. “I didn’t like a thing that Oscar did in that fight,” said Mayweather.

“Tell us what you really think,” kidded de la Hoya.

Mayweather smiled but he is a shoot from the lip type guy and says exactly what’s on his mind – at all times.

“He didn’t do a thing right. He went in with the wrong plan, if there was a plan. He fought small when he should have fought tall. He came down to his level and tried to match speed with him. We have been working on Oscar’s timing rather than speed. There’s no secret in that. Oscar is more powerful and he needs to use his power.

“Oscar can’t go in the ring thinking, ‘knock out.’ He needs to work up to that. I am talking about tripling up with the jab and really working over the body with solid shots to slow this man down.”

De la Hoya was so relaxed with the press, that many felt comfortable strolling the grounds of his complex which is gorgeous. The Spanish-hacienda style house and training facility are sculpted and manicured immaculately.

The chiseled landscape of the multi-million dollar Taj Majal is complete with huge pine trees, perfect lawns, an array of flowers, a minimum of two huge houses, a maze-like pond with trickling stream, and finally a training facility that puts most gyms to shame. Two incredible Hummers line the driveway and garage that would have Arnold Schwarzenegger envious.

But it’s the facility that gets everyone’s attention including Oscar’s. “Early in my career, I had to make some serious changes,” said the Golden Boy.

“After my first six or seven months as a professional, I went to my accountant and asked him how much money I had in the bank. He told me that I only had $7,000 dollars. If it happened to me, I know how it happened to Mike Tyson. After that shocking realization, I knew that I had to take control of my own finances and clean house.

“If I didn’t get involved in my own affairs, then someone was always out to take something from me. I had to rethink my situation and surround myself with good people. I am the president of my organization so I have to stay on top of everything. I still have to clean house every so often. I am not going to become like Tyson.

“You know, I have talked with Mike a couple of times and one on one, he’s a good guy. But you get him when he is with his entourage, and the whole image thing takes over. He’s not the same guy. The people that he surrounded himself with really did him wrong.”

Oscar’s one shadow is the left hand which has given him so many problems over the years. Even today, it still pains him to use it.

“I damaged it a long time ago and it’s never fully healed,” he said. “I have been shadow boxing 12 rounds of late, but I haven’t had the opportunity to hit anything. I plan on sparing on Friday, but it still pains me. If I hit a solid punch, it’s like it pinches. But there is no way that I am going to call off this fight.

“It’s going to happen no matter what. By fight time, it will in excellent shape. This injury pisses me off that it won’t go away. It’s very frustrating. On Monday I am going to have an X-ray. I have to wait until Monday because my doctor is in Puerto Rico. This is definitely the injury that is going to cut my career short.”

Currently Oscar is already walking around at 157 pounds. By fight time he will be down to a ready 154.

“I run everyday under the direction of Mayweather. We know that Shane has a lot of energy and is very quick. We found someone for me to spar with that even faster than Shane. I will be prepared. Besides that usual training, I have also been wearing the heavy boots while I run as well as chopping wood. Chopping wood has really allowed me to become stronger in my shoulders which I feel is an edge.”

“I am training for the best Mosely,” said De La Hoya. “I know that Shane is training hard for this fight. He thinks that he has my number, but I changed my style for this fight. Shane hasn’t changed. He proved that in his last three fights-especially the fights with Vernon. He didn’t adjust. He got beat the same way both times. I won’t let that happen with me. He will see and feel a completely different Oscar on September 13.”

De la Hoya’s promoter Bob Arum who was almost killed in a plane crash the last time he came to Big Bear would never miss an outing with Oscar. He arrived – safely this time – and chimed in with his prediction of the fight.

“The difference this time is that Oscar has Mayweather. He will not try to match his speed with his but instead use both hands this time. Last time, Oscar was a one dimensional, one handed fighter. The difference will be Oscar’s ability to use both hands with power.”

Oscar is a powerful fighter, but fighters with speed have historically give De La Hoya fits. “Last time I shrunk down to his level,” said De La Hoya. “I didn’t fight the way I should have fought. This time he is going to have to come up to my level to take my title away from me. I am going to be doubling and tripling jabs and use right hands to the body. He will feel my power. In that first fight he never hurt me. I respect him as a fighter and an individual. He’s a good guy, but I think he needs to get new people around him. Mosely is fast, but he’s not strong. This will be the difference. If the KO comes, it comes. This time out, I am out to win round by round. This time out, I promise you war. This time out, I get revenge.”

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