Roach named to train De La Hoya

Originally Published: January 30, 2007
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Freddie Roach, one of the top cornermen in the fight game, was named Tuesday to train junior middleweight titlist Oscar De La Hoya for his May 5 mega fight with world welterweight champion and pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Freddie Roach
Roach

Among Roach's current clients are Manny Pacquiao and James Toney. Roach, a former fighter, has trained numerous world champions and is a disciple of the late Eddie Futch, one of the most revered trainers of all time.

The only other trainer that was in the running for the job, according to a source close to De La Hoya, was Teddy Atlas. However, De La Hoya will train for the fight in Puerto Rico, and Atlas is committed to his role as the ringside analyst for ESPN2's "Wednesday Night Fights" and "Friday Night Fights." Training De La Hoya would have been a logistical nightmare, so the talks never went beyond initial feelers.

De La Hoya has been trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr. for his past eight fights dating to 2001, and the notion that Mayweather Sr. would train a man to beat his son was shaping up as a major storyline of the fight.

However, De La Hoya (38-4, 30 KOs), already uneasy with the distractions the storyline would induce, and Mayweather Sr. could not reach an agreement. De La Hoya offered him $500,000 plus an additional $500,000 if he won. Mayweather Sr., who has been earning $250,000 per fight, demanded $2 million.

Although Mayweather Sr. and Mayweather Jr. (37-0, 24 KOs) have been estranged for years, the father taught his son how to box and trained him during the early part of his career.

In addition, Golden Boy announced Monday that tickets to the fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena sold out in three hours Saturday, meaning the match will set the North American record for biggest live gate.

The ticket-buying public doesn't care who will be in De La Hoya's corner, having gobbled up the remaining 5,400 tickets hours after they went on sale Saturday.

The rest of the 11,000 or so tickets -- priced between $150 and $2,000 apiece -- had already been spoken for because of advance requests from casinos, sponsors, HBO, Golden Boy Promotions and the Mayweather camp, according to Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer.

The sellout means the fight's gross will exceed $19 million in ticket sales, shattering the previous record of $16,860,300 generated by the second heavyweight championship fight between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield on Nov. 13, 1999 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

"This is a huge success right out of the gate, unparalleled in boxing, and underscores the importance and magnitude of this sporting event," Schaefer said of the record gate. "We are now in the process of setting up a record number of closed circuit locations in Las Vegas to ensure that any and all boxing fans can be part of this 'Super Fight Weekend.' I urge fans to make their reservations now to be in Las Vegas on May 5."

With the live gate record set, fight organizers will now aim for the pay-per-view record of 1.99 million buys generated by the infamous second fight between Holyfield and Mike Tyson, when Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield's ears.

The non-heavyweight pay-per-view record of 1.4 million buys is held by De La Hoya's 1999 welterweight unification match with Felix Trinidad.

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.

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