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Inside the NFL | BOXING STEVE SPRINGER

Fights Change for De La Hoya

November 22, 2003|STEVE SPRINGER

How do you stay in the fight game when you can no longer fight?

Although he still plans to get in the ring a few more times, Oscar De La Hoya looked down the road and envisioned the perfect life after boxing. He would become a promoter, use his reputation to sign promising fighters, then put on a sharp suit and sit ringside. Thus he could remain involved in the sport that has been his life since age 4 while finally getting out of harm's way.

It has already worked better then he could have hoped. His company, Golden Boy Promotions, has burst into the boxing world in the last two years with the force of a De La Hoya left hook.

Golden Boy, under the direction of De La Hoya business manager Richard Schaefer, will have done 42 shows by year's end, 24 of them televised.

Tonight, Golden Boy will stage its initial pay-per-view show at the Olympic Auditorium, the first of a series to be called Fiesta De La Hoya.

Yet this week, De La Hoya learned that, just because he's wearing a suit, it doesn't mean he no longer has battles to fight. The No. 1 man in the Golden Boy stable, Marco Antonio Barrera, lost last Saturday and is being advised to quit by his trainer.

Also, De La Hoya's own promoter, Bob Arum, is staging a rival show tonight at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, dimming somewhat the focus on the Olympic Auditorium.

Barrera's featherweight match against Manny Pacquiao in San Antonio last Saturday was stopped by Barrera's corner in the 11th round after a thorough beating by Pacquiao. Barrera's trainer, Rudy Perez, is urging his 29-year-old fighter to make that fight his last.

De La Hoya says he isn't about to give up on Barrera without a fight.

"When your biggest star loses, it hurts," De La Hoya said. "I took it personally. But ... in a few weeks, I'm sure he'll want to get back in the ring and get revenge."

As for the rival Arum card, his date, in conjunction with the Arrowhead Pond and Channel 9, was set long before Golden Boy decided on tonight.

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The De La Hoya card at the Olympic will be headlined by a World Boxing Council super bantamweight title fight involving champion Oscar Larios (49-3-1, 34 knockouts) of Mexico and challenger Napapol Kiattisakchocchoi (22-1, 18) of Thailand.

The semi-main event will be for the vacant International Boxing Federation lightweight title involving Javier Jauregui (46-10-2, 33) and Levander Johnson (32-3-2, 25).

Also on the card will be a super flyweight match for the vacant International Boxing Assn. title involving Jose Navarro (18-0, 7) and Reynaldo Hurtado (36-4-1, 27).

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Lightweights John Brown (23-11, 11) and Rolando Reyes (19-2-2, 12) square off in the 10-round main event at the Pond. In the semi-main, super lightweights Raul Franco (22-4, 15) and Jessie Feliciano (11-1-1, 6) are scheduled for eight.

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Also tonight in Houston, Showtime will telecast its 500th fight. Unbeaten featherweight Rocky Juarez (18-0, 14) faces Hector Velazquez (37-9-1, 27), and super lightweight Francisco "Panchito" Bojado (13-1, 11) takes on Juan Carlos Rubio (29-6-2, 10). Both bouts are scheduled for 12 rounds.

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