De La Hoya eyes Cotto, promotes bookNow, it's one and done for Oscar De La Hoya. The former six-division titleholder has amended his exit strategy from a three-fight plan to a two-bout plan in the wake of Floyd Mayweather's unexpected retirement last week. Initially, De La Hoya, who easily outpointed Steve Forbes May 3, planned to meet Mayweather Sept. 20 in a rematch of boxing richest fight before following it up, win or lose, with a career finale in December. With Mayweather walking away, De La Hoya said he's decided to pass on a September fight and end his career with an HBO PPV fight in Las Vegas or his hometown of Los Angeles on Dec. 6 , which could come against welterweight titleholder Miguel Cotto if he is successful in a July 26 fight against Antonio Margarito. De La Hoya said he thought about such opponents as Ricky Hatton, Sergio Mora, Manny Pacquiao, Felix Trinidad and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Cotto figures to be the most difficult opponent he could pick in Mayweather's absence, as well as the opponent who can help him finish his career with the most commercial success. De La Hoya is dead serious about a potential fight with Cotto, who is from Puerto Rico, where De Le Hoya now lives. "I've always fought the best," De La Hoya told ESPN.com Thursday in the midst of his national book tour to promote his autobiography, "American Son." "Who do people consider the best? Floyd retired. He wouldn't fight Miguel Cotto," De La Hoya said. "I would fight him. People see him as one of the best. I know he has a tough fight ahead of him, but I strongly feel he is too fast for Margarito. I see Cotto winning this fight." Later Thursday, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer and Top Rank president Todd duBoef exchanged emails expressing a desire to open negotiations for the fight. "I will discuss with [Top Rank] the possibility to put together a fight with Oscar and Cotto," Schaefer said.
AP Photo/Brennan Linsley
This one's for the fans: If De La Hoya, center, has his way, his last fight will come against Miguel Cotto, left, in December.
No interim fight for PeterSamuel Peter will go directly into a mandatory defense of his heavyweight title against Vitali Klitschko (35-2, 34 KOs) rather than take an interim fight in July, promoter Dino Duva told ESPN.com.
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Cut to the chase: Samuel Peter will bypass a July interim fight and go straight into his mandatory defense against Vitali Klitschko.
• In the wake of middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik's three-round destruction of Gary Lockett last Saturday, Top Rank's Bob Arum and Frank Warren, who promotes light heavyweight and super middleweight champ Joe Calzaghe, continue to negotiate a fall showdown between them. They're talking about an Oct. 18 pay-per-view. "Talks have been quite productive," Arum said. "Frank needs to go over the proposal with Joe." Warren said that the Wales Calzaghe is willing to come to the U.S. again to fight -- he made his American debut by outpointing Bernard Hopkins April 19. "He's 'road show' Joe, so if the money is right, we'll be here again." Arum said that if he finalizes a Calzaghe fight, it would be Pavlik's final fight of 2008. He said if he couldn't make the deal, Pavlik would return Sept. 27 in his native Ohio and possibly fight a third bout of the year in December.
• Junior featherweight titlist Steve Molitor of Canada, who has split with Ontario promoter Allan Tremblay and is seeking exposure in the United States, contacted Arum this week to gauge his interest in his services. "He called me and I had a nice talk with him," Arum told ESPN.com. "He said he is a free agent. We're interested." Top Rank has an interest in the 122-pound division because it already promotes newly crowned titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez.
• The Aug. 2 HBO fight between Joshua Clottey and Zab Judah, who will vie for the welterweight belt vacated by Antonio Margarito, is headed West. Originally, it was going to be at Connecticut's Mohegan Sun resort, but arena scheduling issues forced the fight to move. It will now take place at The Palms in Las Vegas, Arum told ESPN.com.
• In preparation for its coverage of the June 21 rematch between Arthur Abraham and Edison Miranda, Showtime has secured rights to their Sept. 23, 2006, first fight, which aired only in Germany. Abraham defended his middleweight belt via controversial decision in a brutal slugfest. Showtime announcers Steve Albert and Al Bernstein revoiced the fight and it will air three times: Monday and Thursday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime 2 and again June 21 at 6 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.
• In a signal that perhaps Floyd Mayweather really is serious about retirement, he sent written notification to Ring magazine this week and relinquished the welterweight championship, editor Nigel Collins told ESPN.com. Collins said the publication has dropped Mayweather from its rankings and perch as No. 1 on the pound-for-pound list, to be replaced by Manny Pacquiao. "Mayweather put it in writing, so as far as The Ring is concerned, it's official," Collins said.
• Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez told ESPN.com that he's made a fight between ex-super middleweight titlist Jeff Lacy (23-1, 17 KOs) and Colombian puncher Epifanio Mendoza (28-5-1, 24 KOs), who was stopped in the fourth round of his last fight challenging light heavyweight beltholder Chad Dawson last fall. The fight is tentatively scheduled for July 23 on "Wednesday Night Fights" (ESPN2), but could move because of logistical issues. If Lacy wins, he might face former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor in the fall on HBO in a battle of 2000 U.S. Olympic teammates.
• Jose Armando Santa Cruz (25-3, 14 KOs) suffered a hand injury while training, forcing him to withdraw from a June 14 title elimination bout in Mexico against Antonio Pitalua (42-3, 36 KOs), Gomez told ESPN.com. Santa Cruz, who was on the losing end of a highly controversial decision to Ring magazine lightweight champion Joel Casamayor last fall, will be idle for a few weeks, Gomez said. He said the fight would be rescheduled. The winner will become the mandatory challenger for the June 28 David Diaz-Manny Pacquiao winner. The June 14 card is still a go, with Edgar Sosa (31-5, 16 KOs) defending his junior flyweight title in the main event against Japanese southpaw Takashi Kunishige (18-2-1, 2 KOs).
• Boxing fans interested in getting a look at four of America's best amateurs can catch the USA Boxing Olympic Invitational this weekend on network TV. NBC will air taped coverage of the May 9 event on Saturday (3 p.m. ET). The event showcased four of the U.S. boxers who will compete at the Beijing Olympics against Olympians from China and Brazil. The Americans featured are light flyweight Luis Yanez of Duncanville, Texas, bantamweight Gary Russell Jr. of Capitol Heights, Md., lightweight Sadam Ali of Brooklyn, N.Y., and heavyweight Deontay Wilder of Tuscaloosa, Ala.
• While unified heavyweight titleholder Wladimir Klitschko gets set to defend against mandatory Tony Thompson on July 12 (HBO) in Germany, Klitschko's other mandatory and probable fall opponent, 2004 Russian Olympic gold medalist Alexander Povetkin, will tune up for the title shot on July 19. He'll face American journeyman Taurus Sykes in Moscow.
• ESPN2 has picked up the rights to a light heavyweight eliminator between Tavoris Cloud (18-0, 17 KOs) and ex-titleholder Julio Gonzalez (41-5, 25 KOs). They'll meet Aug. 8 in Chicago on "Friday Night Fights." The winner will become the mandatory challenger to beltholder Antonio Tarver.
• With so much of the heavyweight action taking place in Europe, there's been a change to a notable fight there. A viral infection has caused former world title challenger Matt Skelton to withdraw from a July 4 bout in Turkey against Sinan Samil Sam, who will instead face Paolo Vidoz for the vacant European title. Sam and Vidoz are both former European champs. Also on the card is the oft-rescheduled bout between 2004 Olympic heavyweight gold medalist Odlanier Solis and Francois Botha.
• The long-delayed mandatory fight between junior middleweight titlist Joachim Alcine (30-0, 19 KOs) of Canada and Puerto Rico's Daniel Santos (31-3-1, 22 KOs), a former welterweight and junior middleweight titlist, has finally been scheduled for July 11 in Montreal. Also in action: top-10 middleweight Sebastien Demers (25-1, 9 KOs) facing Miguel Espino (19-2-1, 8 KOs), a first-season participant on "The Contender."
• Former junior lightweight beltholder Carlos "Famoso" Hernandez (42-7-1, 24 KOs), the only boxer from El Salvador to win a world title, has signed with Golden Boy and is planning a comeback. He hasn't fought since dropping a decision to ex-featherweight champ Kevin Kelly in September 2006. Hernandez has lost three of his last four, although his split decision loss to Bobby Pacquiao was viewed by many as the worst decision of 2005. "This is a great moment in my career and I know that with Golden Boy Promotions behind me, I will not only get the opportunity to fight for a title again, but I will get the big fights I've always dreamed of," Hernandez said. "I feel rested and better than ever. This break has made me hungry again." Hernandez won a vacant 130-pound title against David Santos in 2003 and defended it against Steve Forbes before losing it to Erik Morales in 2004.
"I've never been this focused for a fight. My only concern is that because this is Abraham's first fight in the U.S., after I knock him out people will think I just took out a nobody. That's OK though, people will always remember him as the guy on my highlight reel." -- Trash-talker extraordinaire Edison Miranda, on his June 21 super middleweight rematch with middleweight titleholder Arthur Abraham.
"Does anyone really care about what Miranda says? He should tell his psychologist about his problems. Had I failed to beat a man who has his jaw broken twice, I would have retired immediately and would rather work as a night watchman." -- Abraham, on Miranda, whom he defeated via controversial decision in September 2006 despite suffering a broken jaw early in the bout.