Saturday, September 13, 2008
De La Hoya still looking for trainer for Dec. fight, could share Mayweather Sr.
By Dan Rafael
LAS VEGAS -- Oscar De La Hoya is in search of a third trainer in as many fights after the boxing icon held out little hope of Floyd Mayweather Sr. training him for his Dec. 6 welterweight showdown with pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.
"There is no decision on who the trainer is going to be," De La Hoya told ESPN.com. "We'll be making a decision in the next couple of days."
Mayweather Sr. trained De La Hoya since 2000 with the exception of his May 2007 fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr., the estranged son of the trainer.
Although De La Hoya said he wanted Mayweather Sr. to train him, he recently agreed to train junior welterweight champ Ricky Hatton, who is promoted by De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions, for a Nov. 22 fight with Paulie Malignaggi. With the fights so close together, and Hatton planning to spend at least part of his training camp in England, it was unlikely Hatton and De La Hoya would share his services.
"I wouldn't mind sharing Floyd. Floyd Sr. is worth sharing if that is what it takes," De La Hoya said. "If it can't be worked out, I'm going to move on and get another trainer. It's going to take a call from me directly to Ricky and say, 'Hey, what do you think? Can we work something out?' I think it's still possible. But the time is coming where I have to make a decision and that decision has to be made in a few days."
When De La Hoya faced Mayweather Jr., Mayweather Sr. was replaced by Freddie Roach. But Mayweather Sr. returned to De La Hoya's corner for his May victory against Steve Forbes.
However, De La Hoya said he had not spoken to Mayweather Sr. since that fight.
"I hope I am right when I say there was a misunderstanding that he didn't know I was going to fight in December," De La Hoya said. "That's his excuse, that he didn't know I was fighting in December. So, obviously, he signed a contract to train Ricky Hatton and so now he can't train me. I'm a bit disappointed, yes, but obviously I have nothing bad to say about Floyd. I respect him as a trainer. He's an excellent trainer [but] he could have just called, picked up the phone and said, 'Hey, I have an opportunity here with Ricky Hatton.' But I don't hold it against him."
Mayweather Sr. said he was open to the idea of splitting his time with Hatton and De La Hoya if Hatton would agree to train in Big Bear, Calif., where De La Hoya plans to train.
"Of course, I can't be in two places at one time," Mayweather Sr. told ESPN.com. "I would love to train Oscar. But I did make a commitment to Ricky. I am not a person to make a commitment and back out. If I give you my word, it is my bond. I am hoping some kind of way I can get Ricky to come to Big Bear and train. I could train both of them. A lot of stuff can happen, man. A lot of stuff that happens in life, you have to roll with it."
De La Hoya identified three trainers -- Nacho Beristain, Jesus Rivero and Rudy Perez -- as potential replacements, but said a decision wouldn't be made until the Mayweather option was exhausted and he had a chance to talk to the candidates.
The leading candidate is Beristain, who trains pound-for-pound ranked brothers Juan Manuel and Rafael Marquez. Beristain is one of the most respected trainers in the sport and he knows Pacquiao well. He was in Juan Manuel Marquez's corner for both of his fights with Pacquiao, a controversial draw in 2004 and a controversial split-decision loss in March. Many believed Marquez won both fights.
Rivero, known as "The Professor," trained De La Hoya earlier in his career, including for his junior welterweight championship victory against Julio Cesar Chavez in 1996.
Perez is best known for his work with former three-division champion Marco Antonio Barrera.
"I want to talk to them face to face and give them how I train and [find out] what does he think of my training regimen, and then see what they can add," De La Hoya said. "It's just a matter of who I feel comfortable with. At this stage of my career it's not rocket science."
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.