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Thursday, November 17, 2011
Oscar De La Hoya: Bob Arum's afraid

By Arash Markazi
ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has said he believes the megafight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather will never happen because Mayweather is afraid of Pacquiao.

After Pacquiao's controversial majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez last Saturday, Golden Boy Promotions founder Oscar De La Hoya said the only one afraid of making the fight happen is Arum.

"He's the one who's stopping it from happening," De La Hoya said. "Bob Arum doesn't want to see the fight happen."

So what will it take to finally make the most anticipated boxing fight a reality?

"For Bob Arum to say, 'OK, we want the fight,'" De La Hoya said. "Our side, meaning Golden Boy and Floyd Mayweather, he wants the fight, we want the fight. Mayweather has his date for the fifth of May next year. He wants the biggest fight out there. He wants Pacquiao, there's no doubt about that. It would be very unfortunate if this fight could not be made because of Bob Arum."

Mayweather announced earlier this month he planned a May 5 fight at the MGM Grand and, according to his advisor Leonard Ellerbe, wanted to "make the biggest fight possible and everyone knows what that fight is, the little fella (Pacquiao)."

"The fans are the ones who speak in a big way," De La Hoya said. "They've been asking for this fight for a very long time. Look, Manny Pacquiao is the champion of the people and the people are asking for this fight so let's make it happen. There's no doubt in my mind Manny Pacquiao wants the fight and Floyd Mayweather wants the fight. I guess we all know now who doesn't want the fight. I just ask for the sake of the sport, for the sake of boxing, let's make this fight happen."

De La Hoya spoke at an event at Staples Center leading up to Sunday's MLS Cup where the Los Angeles Galaxy will face the Houston Dynamo. De La Hoya is a part owner of the Dynamo along with Philip Anschutz and Gabriel Brener. The Los Angeles native, however, said he would not pursue purchasing the Los Angeles Dodgers, which was a possibility he had hinted at in the past.

"We've talked about it but I'm actually going to focus on MLS and obviously boxing," De La Hoya said. "I love soccer and I love boxing and I obviously love baseball but we're focusing now on MLS and boxing."

Arash Markazi is a columnist and reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com.