- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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AROUND THE RING
De La Hoya, Mayweather trade barbs
Their trash-talk-filled cross-country media tour ended more than a month ago and they won't see each other in the ring for another month, but that hasn't stopped Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. from continuing their war of words in the buildup to their highly anticipated May 5 showdown at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Although junior middleweight titlist De La Hoya (38-4, 30 KOs) is training in Puerto Rico, and pound-for-pound king Mayweather (37-0, 24 KOs) is thousands of miles away in Las Vegas, they continue to stoke interest in their HBO PPV fight by showing an utter lack of respect for each other.
During recent back-to-back teleconference calls with boxing reporters, they each had their say.
Mayweather, who verbally attacked De La Hoya with abandon during the media tour, hasn't let up. When asked what he had learned about De La Hoya while on tour, Mayweather responded quickly.
"He ain't real," Mayweather said. "And you all keep believing all of them stories he be telling you all, all that media stuff he been telling you all. Oscar De La Hoya is a fake-ass fighter. And it's just like he says stuff like I don't deserve to be in the sport of boxing, and I don't deserve certain things. It's more like we all know Oscar De La Hoya is greedy. He's ungrateful and he's a brat, and HBO will tell you that."
Mayweather also attacked the way De La Hoya negotiated the fight and ripped his promotional company, Golden Boy.
"Oscar is a brat," Mayweather said. "Let me tell you what he did. First, we had a problem negotiating the money. We got the money settled. And then the dude [is] talking about what he wanted to wear. He wanted to wear Reyes gloves. I can't wear the gloves I want to wear, but he can wear the gloves he wants to wear. So he said let's put that in the contract, so I said, 'OK, no problem.'
"And then he said, 'Well I'm not fighting [below 154 pounds].' I said, 'No problem.' Then he said he wanted to choose where he wanted the fight to be at. I told him, 'No problem.' I'm telling you man, this dude is -- I'm amazed -- I mean [expletive], I don't ever want to do business with Golden Boy Promotions again. As of right now, I don't want to do business with them. You can see how the company is. That's like when Bernard Hopkins' nephew [Demetrius] fought [on March 17]. He was with Golden Boy Promotions. He fought Steve Forbes and he really got his ass kicked, and look how they gave him the fight. So, you know, you just have to watch them. They're slick. They've got tricks up their sleeve. When I talk like this, they get mad about me putting their company on blast, but to be honest, I mean they have been no different from Don King. They're no different from Bob Arum."
And when Mayweather was done attacking De La Hoya, he took a poke at Shane Mosley, a possible future opponent and De La Hoya's business partner and chief sparring partner for this fight.
"Shane Mosley is a nobody," he said, when asked about how Mosley might help in De La Hoya's training for the fight. "Shane Mosley is a sparring partner. That's what he is. I can't really talk bad about Shane because he's not his own boss. If I'm going to say anything or talk about Shane, I'm going to talk to his wife [Jin], or I'm going to talk to Oscar, because them are his bosses. So all I can say right now about Shane is Shane ain't nothing but a sparring partner."
Although De La Hoya is usually very respectful toward his opponents, he also can light them up when he is attacked, like he did before fights against Ricardo Mayorga and Fernando Vargas.
"I truly feel that Mayweather Jr. needs a humbling experience," De La Hoya said. "He really is a little brat, you know? That's just the way he comes across. I mean he's very arrogant. Obviously we were on a press tour for so many days, and he can get up on the podium and say a few nice things, and then his real side will come out. He starts talking all of this trash, about I'm nothing, and I haven't fought anybody, and this and that. It's uncalled for, it's unnecessary. I mean you would never see Tiger Woods talk bad about Jack Nicklaus. It's just something that is disrespectful and, therefore, it revs me up to really shut him up on May 5."
Before the media tour, De La Hoya said he really didn't know much about Mayweather other than what Floyd Mayweather Sr., De La Hoya's former trainer, used to tell him.
"The only thing I knew about him was what his father would tell me while we were training, you know, how he's a bad guy," De La Hoya said. "How he hangs around with bad people, and how he's a little brat, and he needs a lesson. Things like that. I would tell Floyd Sr., 'How bad can he be?' I didn't think he was that bad. But once I got on the tour with him, now I can understand what he meant."
Both fighters took part in the WBC's mandated 30-day pre-fight weight check this week. Each was within the mandated weight limit. De La Hoya checked in at 164.5 pounds and Mayweather was 152 pounds.
The June 2 bout between heavyweight titlist Shannon Briggs (48-4-1, 42 KOs) and mandatory challenger Sultan Ibragimov (20-0-1, 17 KOs) was supposed to take place at the 12,000-seat Luzhniki Sports Palace in Moscow. However, the threat of an Oleg Maskaev-Vitali Klitschko heavyweight title bout on the same day in the same city was enough to make organizers re-think the wisdom of that plan. Therefore, Seminole Warriors Boxing, Golden Grain Promotions and Golden Boy, the backers of Ibragimov (who won the fight rights at a purse bid) elected to move the bout to Atlantic City, N.J.
Warriors' Leon Margules quickly made a deal with Bally's Atlantic City senior vice president Ken Condon to place the fight at Boardwalk Hall.
A few days later, the Maskaev-Klitschko bout fell apart, leaving Moscow 0-for-2 for June heavyweight title matches.
Margules attempted to strike a deal for his bout to go on the same card as Maskaev-Klitschko, but when that didn't work out "my people decided to move the fight," he said.
The fight still has no American TV broadcaster, however. Margules said he offered the bout to HBO "virtually for free" but the network wasn't interested, although when it was originally scheduled for March 10 (before Briggs became ill), the network planned to air it as part of a split-site doubleheader along with Wladimir Klitschko's heavyweight title defense in Germany.
Margules, trying to get exposure for Ibragimov, said he even offered to pay HBO's production costs if it would air the fight June 2.
"If they would broadcast it, I would give it to them," Margules told ESPN.com.
Now, the bout probably will wind up as the main event on a $29.95 pay-per-view card, Margules said.
Briggs apparently has recovered from his bout with pneumonia. One of the things he did to aid his recovery? He spent more than two weeks using a hyperbaric oxygen chamber at the Hilton Head Health Institute at Hilton Head Island, S.C.. The chamber is used to pump pure oxygen into the blood, which is supposed to help increase lung capacity, help in the healing of muscle tissue and relieve tension. No word on whether it helps a fighter punch harder.
• Sugar Shane Mosley arrived in Puerto Rico on Wednesday to join Oscar De La Hoya's training camp, where he is preparing for the May 5 mega fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. According to Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez, who is also in Puerto Rico, Mosley and De La Hoya will spar for the first time on Saturday. "Shane is really excited to be here and Oscar is excited he is here. They will really feed off each other," Gomez told ESPN.com. "Oscar thanked him for coming. He told him he really appreciated him coming to help him." Expect some footage of the sparring sessions to show up on HBO's upcoming four-episode series "De La Hoya/Mayweather 24/7" (premieres April 15).
• Promoter Dan Goossen told ESPN.com that he is in talks with HBO to stage welterweight titlist Antonio Margarito's mandatory defense against Paul Williams on June 2, a date that opened up when a proposed Oleg Maskaev-Vitali Klitschko heavyweight title fight ticketed for HBO fell apart. The fight makes sense for HBO, which could use it to promote its June 9 PPV card headlined by Miguel Cotto defending his version of the welterweight title against Zab Judah. If Margarito and Cotto both win, they have agreed to meet in the fall.
• Heavyweight titlist Wladimir Klitschko's camp continues to work on a rematch with former titlist Lamon Brewster, who owns a knockout win against Klitschko. Shelly Finkel, Klitschko's adviser, told ESPN.com that he hopes to conclude the deal in the next week or so. Assuming they do, the HBO bout would take place July 7 in Germany. There had been brief discussion that Brewster, who hasn't fought since losing his title to Sergei Liakhovich in an all-action fight last April, might fight Calvin Brock on the June 2 Shannon Briggs-Sultan Ibragimov card, but that was more sizzle than steak.
• Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com that he is working on an Aug. 4 pay-per-view card featuring Erik Morales challenging David Diaz for a lightweight title. Although the fading Morales (48-5, 34 KOs) has lost three in a row and four of five fights, the Mexican star has designs on winning a title in a fourth division before retiring. A win against Diaz (32-1-1, 17 KOs), however, would only net Morales a tainted title. Diaz was an interim beltholder who simply was given a world title when the WBC stripped legitimate champion Joel Casamayor while he was considering a fight with Acelino "Popo" Freitas earlier this year. Arum said he planned to finalize the deal next week, when he will meet with Morales and Mexican co-promoter Fernando Beltran in San Antonio, where Top Rank is promoting the Manny Pacquiao-Jorge Solis PPV card. Arum said the site for Diaz-Morales hasn't been determined, but that it would be either in Las Vegas, Chicago (Diaz's hometown) or Texas, "a place like El Paso."
• Although light heavyweight titlist Chad Dawson's first defense is expected to fill Showtime's June 9 main event slot now that the Roy Jones-Tony Hanshaw fight has fallen through, promoter Gary Shaw still has an undercard fight to put together. That means you can expect to see either flyweight titlist Vic Darchinyan or ex-junior welterweight beltholder Vivian Harris. Shaw told ESPN.com that he has spoken to Golden Boy about Darchinyan moving up in weight to challenge junior bantamweight titlist Fernando Montiel. "I've been in touch with Golden Boy and we're talking about a Montiel fight," Shaw said. "Vic would love to fight for his title. Vic will fight anybody." The other bout Shaw would like to make is Harris' mandatory shot at 140-pound titlist Junior Witter of the England. "The Witter people have told me they would come here for the fight," Shaw said.
• Super middleweight Allan Green returns to the ring on "Friday Night Fights" May 11. Green (23-1, 16 KOs) was unsuccessful in his attempt to go down to middleweight to face Edison Miranda in March in Puerto Rico in a big opportunity on HBO. Although Green knocked Miranda down, Miranda won a clear decision. Green is now back at super middleweight but having a hard time finding an opponent willing to fight him. According to Green's handlers, Yusaf Mack and Rubin Williams both rejected the fight.
• Main Events continues to move forward with plans for former four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield to fight in Canada this summer. The target date is June 30 at the Pengrowth Saddledome, the home arena of the NHL's Calgary Flames. Holyfield going to Canada was in the works for last December, but that was before promoter Murad Muhammad swooped in and changed Holyfield's schedule. Instead of going to Canada, Holyfield faced Fres Oquendo in November on pay-per-view in San Antonio. Holyfield has since dumped Muhammad and the Canada deal has been revived. No possible opponents have been mentioned.
• Light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins hoped that his July 21 HBO PPV fight against Winky Wright would be on the East Coast -- in Atlantic City or New York -- but that probably won't happen. It's not official yet, but the fight is headed to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
• Still reeling from Dan Rafael's Quick Hits? Check out his hard-hitting blog that keeps boxing Insiders informed about the latest happenings in boxing.
"Based on history, the older man should give the young boy a spanking. So, on April 28, I will give him a spanking."
-- Lightweight beltholder Acelino Freitas, 31, predicting the outcome of his impending title unification fight with 23-year-old Juan Diaz.
10hMichael C. Wright