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Guest Workout

Sprints, Weights for 100% De La Hoya

November 16, 1998|CANDACE A. WEDLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"For this guy, I have to be 100% in order to beat him," says Oscar De La Hoya, the World Boxing Council welterweight champ. "This guy" is Ike Quartey, a 28-year-old from Ghana, who's scheduled to meet De La Hoya on Feb. 13 in Las Vegas. Originally, the fight was set for Saturday.

Now, De La Hoya will have a few more months of training to be 100% ready. The lid over his left eye--the same eye that was bruised in his victory over Julio Cesar Chavez in September--was split open during a sparring session last month.

"I guess the bigger the event, the tougher the fighter, the more motivated I have to get because I know what I have to do in order to come out victorious," De La Hoya, 25, told me recently. This interview took two rounds: The first was during the limo drive from the Biltmore Hotel in downtown L.A., where he had spent the morning promoting the fight with Quartey. The rest of the talk time was at Lacy Street Production Center in Los Angeles, where the Golden Boy from East L.A.--he won a gold at the 1992 Olympics--was going to shoot a commercial.

De La Hoya noted that he had been "maybe 60%" prepared for the Chavez fight. Still, he came away with a TKO and the sore left eye. It was still red five days later, when we talked.

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Question: How do you nurse an eye injury?

Answer: I put steak on my eyes.

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Q: You really do that? I thought that was just in the movies.

A: It works actually to take the coloring off, the bruise, to bring the swelling down. Like, tonight, I would put a frozen steak on until it's not cold anymore.

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Q: Any particular kind of steak?

A: New York steak.

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Q: How do you get back to 100%? How do you get that motivation back when you already have the title?

A: I can't get it back with just an ordinary opponent. It's impossible. It's just not there. I mean, that's the reason why I chose this guy [Quartey]. Nobody wanted this fight. But I told my promoter, I told a few of my advisors--my father--that this is the only way I'm gonna get that motivation back.

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Q: All right then. Let's hear how you train.

A: I wake up at 6 in the morning. Monday and Thursday I do sprints, and it accumulates to about four miles of sprints, which is about a good hour of running, per day. And Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday I do seven miles of running.

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Q: When do you get to eat?

A: I come back and eat breakfast--about five, six egg whites scrambled. I like onions. It gives it some flavor. Oatmeal. Wheat toast. About half a glass of orange juice, and I take 20 vitamin pills. So then I rest for a couple hours, and I do my boxing workout: The heavy bag, the speed bag, jumping rope, working on leg shadow boxing, which is in front of the mirror. So that takes about an hour and a half to two hours. I do that six times a week. And three times a week after my boxing workout--I rest two, three hours--I do weights for a good two hours from head to toe. We work all the body parts--the calves all the way to the neck.

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Q: What about lunch and dinner?

A: I have, like, fish--something very light. This is after my boxing workout. Something that would digest fast. My nutritionist will give me a protein shake to drink. And I'll have again 20 pills with it, so I take 60 pills a day.

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Q: Any idea how much water you drink every day?

A: I can drink like a good gallon a day or more.

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Q: Can you have anything between lunch and dinner?

A: A protein bar. For dinner, I'll have a good, good dinner--sometimes pasta, chicken.

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Q: Wait. Where are the vegetables, Oscar?

A: I hate vegetables. I can't stand vegetables. I hate 'em. I just don't like 'em.

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Q: Ever since you were a kid, I bet.

A: Yes. To this day I just can't stand 'em. The supplements give me the vitamins that the vegetables have.

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Q: Anything different about your preparation for this particular fight? You said Quartey is peligroso--dangerous--always coming at you.

A: Oh, yeah. My physical workout has to change completely--my weight training. My last fight we didn't train the body to be strong, to have power. We trained the muscles to tone up, yes. This time we have to train 'em to bulk up, get stronger. So that's going to be a big difference.

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Q: So what changes with the weights?

A: Less reps and more weight.

The limo dropped us off at the Lacy studio. De La Hoya jumped out of the limo and went inside. He can move fast. By the time I caught up, he had already pounced on lunch.

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Q: Wow. When you're not fighting, you can just cut loose and eat like this?

A: My favorite is McDonald's. I have a Big Mac with onions on it.

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Q: I see two Big Macs. And a large Coke.

A: And French fries. Excuse me. I'm so hungry.

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Q: When you study Quartey tapes, how he fights, how does your workout change?

A: Let's say he has a good left jab, nice straight-up jab. Then what I have to do is work on my reflexes, to get away from that jab.

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Q: By leaning back from the waist, you mean.

A: Yeah, so I work on my lower back to make it stronger so I can move away faster.

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Q: How do you do that?

A: I lie on my back and I have my hands on my side, and I lift myself. I lift my buttocks, lift it, and I put a lot of tension here on my lower back. So that works the lower back and the buttocks. I do 20 reps, three times each, 60 reps altogether. I do that three times a week. It'll get my lower back stronger, and it'll just make it solid and strong.

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Q: If Quartey's style is to keep coming in close without backing away, how will you work on that?

A: One thing I have to do is work more on my legs, on my calves, in order to stay on my toes and be able to jump back whenever he tries to come forward. I use a Smith machine--I have the weights on my back, and I lift from my calves.

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Q: How far in advance of a fight do you have to stop eating like this?

A: Six weeks.

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Q: Do you push it right to the limit, Oscar?

A: Yes. Midnight--boom.

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Guest Workout runs weekly in Health.

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