De La Hoya hires Beristain to replace Mayweather Sr. as trainer

Updated: September 23, 2008, 7:59 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Oscar De La Hoya made it very clear all along that he wanted Floyd Mayweather Sr. to train him for his Dec. 6 welterweight showdown with pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.

However, with Mayweather already committed to training Ricky Hatton for his Nov. 22 junior welterweight championship fight with Paulie Malignaggi and the logistics of him running both training camps difficult to work out, De La Hoya went with Plan B on Tuesday, hiring Mexico's Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain as his chief trainer.

Beristain will be De La Hoya's third trainer in his past three fights.

De La Hoya had said that Beristain was the leading candidate to replace Mayweather if they were unable to work something out. The others De La Hoya expressed interest in were Jesus Rivero, who previously trained De La Hoya, and Rudy Perez, best known for his work with Marco Antonio Barrera.

Beristain is quite familiar with Pacquiao, twice training Juan Manuel Marquez for fights against him, both of which ended in controversy. Their first bout, a featherweight championship fight in 2004, was a draw. In March, Pacquiao eked out a split decision in their junior lightweight championship fight.

"Nacho Beristain is a great trainer who I have respected for many years and I'm honored to have him in my corner," De La Hoya said. "In addition to his great tactical mind and considering that he prepared Juan Manuel Marquez for two fights against Manny Pacquiao, he knows him very well. I'm confident that with Nacho's game plan and my execution, we'll be victorious on Dec. 6."

Beristain is generally regarded as one of the best trainers to come out of Mexico. He has trained numerous champions, including Hall of Famers Ricardo Lopez, Daniel Zaragoza and Humberto "Chiquita" Gonzalez.

He is also known for his work with three-division champion Marquez, who claimed the recognized lightweight title with an 11th-round knockout of Joel Casamayor on Sept. 13, and his younger brother, Rafael Marquez, a former bantamweight and junior featherweight champion.

"Oscar De La Hoya is one of the premier fighters of this era and I am excited about working with him for this very important fight," Beristain said. "I already have a plan in mind for beating Pacquiao and I know Oscar will do whatever it takes to carry that plan through on fight night."

De La Hoya decided to hire Beristain after a face-to-face meeting with him Saturday in Monterrey, Mexico. De La Hoya was there because his Golden Boy Promotions was promoting the Jose Armando Santa Cruz-Antonio Pitalua lightweight title elimination fight, and Beristain had a fighter on the card.

"Oscar and Nacho met and that sealed the deal," Golden Boy vice president Eric Gomez said. "Oscar wanted to ask him some questions and just talk to him about some things and they worked it out."

Mayweather Sr. trained De La Hoya from 2000 through his May victory against Steve Forbes with the exception of the May 2007 blockbuster against his estranged son, Floyd Mayweather Jr. Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer, was hired for that fight before De La Hoya returned to Mayweather Sr. for the Forbes fight.

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