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Oscar picks his trainer: Roach

Less than a week after opting not to retain Mayweather Sr. for fight against Mayweather Jr., De La Hoya aligns with 2003 trainer of the year.

January 31, 2007|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

Oscar De La Hoya officially moved past the nagging thoughts of hiring the father of his opponent to train for the "fight of his life," announcing Tuesday that he was aligning with trainer Freddie Roach.

Less than a week after De La Hoya opted not to retain trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. for his fight against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr., the 33-year-old World Boxing Council super-welterweight champion described Roach as someone, "I strongly believe will be in my corner 100%, passionate the way I am about this fight."

Although Mayweather Sr. is feuding with his son and said he would return to the De La Hoya stable for $2 million, the boxer said he remained troubled by the specter of conflict.

"My concern was, is Mayweather Sr. as passionate about a knockout as me? Or how will he feel if someone from his family calls him in the middle of camp and says, 'Don't do it,' " De La Hoya said.

De La Hoya (38-4, 30 knockouts) is scheduled to fight WBC welterweight champion Mayweather Jr. (37-0, 24 KOs) May 5 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The fighters are expected to earn more than a combined $35 million, and the pay-per-view numbers are expected to make it the most lucrative non-heavyweight fight in history.

Terms of the De La Hoya-Roach contract were not revealed.

De La Hoya said he offered to pay Mayweather Sr. $500,000 for the fight, and another $500,000 if he won.

Roach, 46, is a former journeyman boxer who suffered notable losses to Hector Camacho and former lightweight champion Greg Haugen. He's best known for training former super-bantamweight and flyweight champion Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines.

Roach also helped revive the career of James Toney, and briefly trained Mike Tyson. The Boxing Writers Assn. of America voted Roach trainer of the year in 2003.

De La Hoya praised Roach as "a master at dissecting a fighter and figuring styles" to win. Roach said his plan for "the best fighter in the world in the biggest show in history" is for fight fans to see "the best Oscar ever; that's what it'll take to beat Floyd."

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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