LAS VEGAS — Even as Oscar De La Hoya makes his last preparations for tonight's undercard fight against Carl Griffith, his long-awaited matchup against Rafael Ruelas--potentially the biggest bout involving Los Angeles-area fighters in decades--is moving swiftly toward realization.
Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters, says the De La Hoya-Ruelas grudge match is "as set as anything can be in boxing," and is scheduled for May 6 in conjunction with the Cinco de Mayo weekend at the MGM Grand here.
And Arum has begun negotiations with the Forum, which represents World Boxing Assn. junior-lightweight champion Genaro Hernandez, to try to add another L.A. spotlight fight to the bill: a unification bout between World Boxing Council junior-lightweight champion Gabriel Ruelas and Hernandez.
De La Hoya (14-0, 13 knockouts) first must defeat Griffith (28-3-2, 12 KOs), who has had drug problems recently, then Johnny Avila in December at the Grand Olympic Auditorium, then possibly either Azumah Nelson or John-John Molina on HBO in February.