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Q&A WITH OSCAR DE LA HOYA

He'll 'Keep on Fighting the Biggest and the Best'

Nearly a month and thousands of miles removed from the disappointment and controversy of his loss by unanimous decision to Shane Mosley in their super-welter- weight title fight at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena, Oscar De La Hoya seems to have found peace and resolve in his favorite new retreat, Puerto Rico. The homeland of his wife, Millie Corretjer, has offered De La Hoya the solitude he needed to put his defeat in perspective. He spoke from there by phone this week.

October 09, 2003|STEVE SPRINGER | Times Staff Writer

Question: Have you watched a tape of the fight?

Answer: I've watched it. What can you do?

Q: Did the tape bear out your initial conviction that you won?

A: I was pleased and actually surprised by what I saw. I thought I did even better than I had thought that night. I was keeping Mosley at bay and landing good punches. He came forward later in the fight because he knew he was behind, knew he was losing. But I used long punches to win rounds. The strategy was always to lure him in. I could have gone forward, no problem, but I let him make the mistakes. After watching it, I definitely feel comfortable saying I won.

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Q: It seemed both of you were waiting for the other guy to make a mistake. With two fighters who know each other as well as you two do, it became, at times, as much a chess match as a boxing match. Is that a fair analysis?

A: If I made any mistake, that was it, being too conservative.

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Q: Any problems in the fight with your left hand, which has been injured so many times in the past?

A: No, actually I was very surprised that it gave me no problems. I was hesitant to throw it for a while in the fight because I thought I might injure it, but there was no pain at all. It was great.

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Q: Any regrets about your announcement afterward that you were launching an investigation into the judges' decision, an announcement you backed away from several days later?

A: I do regret it. I realize it's going to be impossible to pursue. When I made that comment about an investigation, I wasn't really thinking too much. But one thing I want to make clear to the public, and I talked to [Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director] Marc Ratner about it, I want the whole process on how judges are picked to be made public. How they are picked and why they are paid so little? The public is demanding to know.

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Q: What were your initial feelings when ring announcer Michael Buffer declared that all three judges had given the fight to Mosley, 115-113?

A: While I was fighting, I didn't feel like I was losing. When the final bell rang, I didn't feel I had lost. When it was announced that it was 115-113 all across board, I was very confident. Then I lost focus [on Buffer] because I was busy greeting people. When he said "the new [super-welterweight champion]," I kind of heard it in slow motion. It was weird, very weird.

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Q: You stopped discussing retirement the day after the fight. What about your prefight declaration that, if you lost to Mosley, you would retire?

A: I didn't lose anything. I didn't get beat up. I feel great and I'm going to keep on fighting the biggest and the best.

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Q: When exactly did you accept the verdict in your mind and look to a continued future in the ring?

A: That night, as I was getting stitched up at the hospital from a head butt, everybody in the hospital was coming up to me and telling me that they heard it was a bad decision. Right then and there, I said to myself, "Let's move on. Let it go."

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Q: Any idea of when you'll fight next, and against whom?

A: I don't know yet. It's only been a few weeks. I'm still kind of like regrouping. I'm going to need a little more time before I make any decisions. In the next few months, I should have a schedule for the rest of my career. I do know I can't take a year off anymore after a fight.

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Q: Mosley, who has now beaten you twice, says he would be interested in fighting you again within the next year if you are interested. Are you interested?

A: I'm glad Shane is feeling that way.

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Q: In the first two fights, your purse was much bigger than Mosley's. You had a $17-million guarantee last month to $4.5 million for Mosley. Wouldn't the purses have to be a lot closer for there to be a third fight?

A: Let's just say that whenever he fights again, we will have to see what his market value is. That's the way I work. What I would recommend for Shane would be to test his value by fighting someone else, like [Ricardo] Mayorga. Then, if he won, it would be an even bigger event when he fights me.

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Q: Would you consider taking a lesser opponent as a tuneup before your next megafight?

A: No, I'm going to go after a Mosley or a [Fernando] Vargas, or even a [Bernard] Hopkins. At this point, I've got to go after those guys. I might as well go for the best because I don't plan on fighting forever. I'm not going to stay in this sport very much longer.

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