TSN Radio's James Cybulski sat down with one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all-time. Here are the highlights from his conversation with Oscar De La Hoya.
James Cybulski: You have gone on Twitter calling out Bob Arum, and I think most fight fans really appreciate the fact that you're speaking for the voice of a lot of people and a lot of fight fans who want to see Mayweather and Pacquiao. Why is this not happening, Oscar?
Oscar De La Hoya: Well I'm actually speaking for Manny Pacquiao himself. I'm speaking for the fans. I'm speaking for people who just want to watch the fight. You know, we at Golden Boy promotions want to make this fight, Mayweather wants to fight, and I know for a fact deep down inside that Manny Pacquiao in the Phillipines wants this fight also, and we all for a fact know that it's Bob Arum who doesn't want to make this fight.
JC: What is the biggest hold up and is it just simple dollars?
DLH: I don't think it's the dollars, I don't think it's negotiating the fight or who gets what, and who comes out first, and what music is playing and this and that. I think it boils down to Bob Arum not wanting to give Floyd Mayweather that shot. That shot of beating his "golden goose" as I call him. You know, Pacquaio's the top fighter he has in his stable, and he knows that it will be a very difficult fight with Floyd Mayweather.
JC: Why though? Why would he not want to make that fight when it's been talked about for the last 5 years?
DLH: Well, it's hard to say with Bob Arum. You know, his famous quote is "Yesterday I was lying, and today I'm telling the truth." You know, that's what he's known for and it's really sad because we want this fight to happen and the public wants it. And I know that if I had the opportunity to talk to Manny himself, he would also want the fight. I mean, he's the People's Champion and the people are speaking loud and clear that this fight has to happen.
JC: Bob Arum used to promote your fights, that's correct right?
JC: Where did things go sideways then?
DLH: Well, things went sideways when I started asking questions. You know, when we started digging deep down and asking for contracts, and you know, 'where's this money coming from? where does this come from?' So when you start asking questions, that's when things happen, and Manny has to start asking questions if he wants to make this fight happen. Look, Manny Pacquiao's the boss inside that room and he shouldn't have anybody dictate his career. If he wants this fight, this fight should happen.
JC: And have you talked to Floyd at all?
DLH: Well, we've had communication with Floyd, and there's no doubt about it, he wants the fight. Floyd Mayweather wants the fight. And it just goes to show you, you know, Floyd, he's willing to put everything on the line. He wants to be recognized as the best in the world and obviously to be the best in the world you have to have the super-mega fight. Until then, a lot of people are going to be asking the question, you know, when can this happen for the sake of boxing?
JC: Doesn't this drive you nuts, and as a guy who was one of the faces of boxing for a period of time. But the one thing, as a fight fan, that drives me nuts when it comes to boxing that these great fights always seem to be ruined by politics, and you prevent them. And we go back to the 90's, and I referenced them a few minutes ago before you just us but, you know we never got a chance to see Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe for the heavyweight title because of politics. And now this thing seems to plaguing things as well, I mean does it not frustrate you as well? Who makes this potential superfight between Mayweather and Pacquiao then?
DLH: The only way this fight is going to happen is if Manny Pacquaio steps up to the plate and demands for this fight, because as long as that doesn't happen then Bob Arum is not going to want to make the fight.
JC: So you had a chance to step inside the ring, you fought Manny Pacquaio in 2008; you fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2007. There's probably no better expert to ask this question, but if Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather Jr. both step into the ring and go toe-to-toe, that everyone's hoping to see, Oscar, who wins that fight in your opinion?
DLH: Well, styles make fights. Obviously when I fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. I was at the tail-end of my career. When I fought Pacquaio, I was already beyond the end of my career, but I can tell you one thing. Styles make fights, and a Pacquaio style against a Floyd style, you know Pacquaio can give a lot of trouble to Floyd Mayweather, but also, Floyd Mayweather can give a lot of problems to Pacquaio. One thing about Pacquaio is that it's hard for him to cope against fighters who have that same style as a Marquez, those counter-punchers. And Floyd Mayweather's the master at countering you. So it'll be a very difficult fight for both, I think it'll be a great fight, but I have to go and lean towards Floyd Mayweather because of the master techniques that he has in that ring. The way he uses his footwork, the way he waits for you and waits for you to make mistakes. You know, he's a top fighter, one of the best, and I would have to favor Floyd Mayweather.
JC: You are a co-owner of the Houston Dynamo, competing for the MLS Cup this weekend against the L.A Galaxy, led by David Beckham. How excited are you for this opportunity to have a chance to hoist the MLS Cup?
DLH: We are very, very excited. My Houston Dynamo is ready, prepared. We're going into hostile territory. It's going to be exciting, all those LA Galaxy fans, a lot of Houston Dynamo fans are going to be attending, it's going to be an exciting time. I've won many world titles inside the ring, I've won the gold medal, you know, hopefully we can get that MLS Cup and take it to Houston. I think the Houston Dynamo are a great franchise, great fans. It's exciting times for the MLS, and the great thing about it is that the league is just growing at a rapid pace and I truly feel that the MLS is going to be one of the major players in sports. You know, when you talk about Major League Baseball, and football, and basketball, well, you're going to be talking about the MLS very soon.
JC: Okay, let me try and set the odds to maybe make it somewhat of a fair fight, but who wins in the ring between you and Landon Donovan, and David Bechham – the two of them against you?
DLH: Well, those kicks might hurt, from Landon Donovan and Beckham, but my left hook can do some damage, so I would have to call it a draw. If those two were in the ring with me, I would call it a draw.
JC: I know a few months ago you came public about a few demons that you had been battling and you know what, there's a lot of people that deal with substance abuse issues all the time and I think that it certainly gives a lot of people someone to relate to. You know, everybody has issues and it certainly humanizes you as well.
DLH: Well, you know, after these past 7 months, I feel I can finally breathe now and I said to myself one day, I have to finally find the courage to do the right thing and to get help for myself, and that's what I've done. And it was very difficult for me but I felt that I had to do it and, you know what, my life is amazing right now, I'm having the best times of my life with my family, with my kids, and I feel great. I feel wonderful so, I'm very optimistic that everything is going to turn out great and things happen for a reason. And I'm glad this happened because this woke up and shook the world, I guess, it made people realize, yes, Oscar's human, but you know what, these things happen and it can happen to anybody. And the problem is there with a lot of people, and it's never too late, you can get help. Just do it for yourself, and I did it for myself.
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