January 25, 2002

The Official Word On Vargas-De La Hoya Press Scuffle - And Who Really Got Hurt

The Golden Boy, when he finished his photo shoot Thursday in Los Angeles, did some quick shadow-boxing, flashed his left jab and told his handlers "....I know exactly right where to hit Vargas, right on his glass chin."

Trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. agreed. "This will be a big knockout, champ," Mayweather said.

De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas had, as described by the RJ's Kevin Iole, an "edgy' press conference at the Bilt-more in Los Angeles.

A quick pre-press conference photo posedown turned into a stormy in-your-face, push-and-shove confrontation.

The only injury on the stage: TR publicist Ricardo Jimenez was hit, went flying in reverse, took a bad spill and cracked his right knee. He's home for the next five days, then will be on crutches.

Meanwhile, De La Hoya and Vargas said they would each train in Big Bear.

"When training, I never leave my place," De La Hoya said. "I've got cameras mounted outdoors with video always rolling. It wouldn't surprise me if we see Vargas in his car, driving slowly past and looking into our compound. That's how obsessed he is."

De La Hoya said he "doesn't know" where Vargas' hatred comes from.

"The snowbank story isn't true," De La Hoya said. "He claims years ago he was running ahead of me on a snowy trail in Big Bear. He fell into a snowbank, I ran by, he held out his hand and I kept right on, laughing.

"It's a great story — but not true," De La Hoya said.

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