By Mike Indri
Retired Boxers Foundation
This past week, New York’s ESPN Zone was the location for the last stop on the Oscar De La Hoya vs. Ricardo Mayorga media “circus”; their WBC Super Welterweight World Championship bout, on HBO Pay-Per-View, is set for May 6th at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. The “circus” had made prior stops in Los Angeles and Chicago, before its grand finale in New York.
The scenario was the same; the highly anticipated return to the ring of “The Golden Boy”, De La Hoya, who will be ending a 20 month hiatus with his challenge for Mayorga’s title.
Also getting into the act was promoter extraordinaire Don King, intertwined with the event as Mayorga’s pro-moter. King, deftly fended off barbs by De La Hoya promotional partner, middleweight great Bernard Hopkins, who respectfully suggested that the tenure of King’s engrossing promotional reign is in its twilight.
Needless to say somewhere within King’s rhapsodically pontificated rhythmical rhetoric he assured us all that he indeed was still boxing’s pound-for-pound world champion promoter and has no plans of relinquishing his crown. The affably loquacious King even offered, through Mayorga, to “elevate Oscar’s career as a promoter by burying him as a fighter.”
Alas, no “circus” would be complete without a clown; and that’s where Ricardo Mayorga comes in.
After verbally berating De La Hoya during the Los Angeles press conference and actually pushing Oscar twice in Chicago, many thought New York would become the prelude to their meeting inside the ring on May 6th.
All the credit for this actually not happening goes to the class and professionalism of Oscar De La Hoya.
Mayorga, dressed in a white suit complete with a white derby, vehemently spewed gratuitous off-color remarks which obviously angered De La Hoya, who admirably used his better judgment and waited for Mayorga’s skit to conclude before addressing the media.
“I’m getting tired of this, but hearing this guy it’s actually funny,” stated the 1992 US Olympic gold medal winner, who continued “I never hated a person, except one other fighter - and I knocked him out (referring to his eleventh round TKO victory in 2002 over Fernando Vargas). Come May 6th I will knock Mayorga out.” Then turning towards Mayorga and looking directly into the Nicaraguan fighter’s eyes, De La Hoya reiterated, “I will knock you out!”
The easily excitable Mayorga - whom this reporter has tagged with the uncomplimentary nickname of “El Pollo” (The Chicken) instead of his actual “El Matador” moniker; since his disrespect of then WBA welterweight champion Jose Rivera, and his reluctance to fight or even come prepared to fight for Rivera’s title, during their scheduled championship fight in 2004, which was ultimately cancelled - then uttered his lone non-ignorant remarks. “Come to fight, don’t run around the ring,” urged “El Pollo”, adding, “don’t just run around the ring, come to fight.”
Inappropriately named “The Danger Zone” (as De La Hoya is in no danger of losing to Mayorga), this fightcard is significant as it marks the first time De La Hoya’s promotional company has been the lead promoter of one of his fights (in association with Don King Productions, Mayorga’s promoter).
“This is a big fight for Oscar and an important event for Golden Boy Promotions,” stated Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer. “All of us are looking forward to this with great anticipation.”
Essentially, the perfect fighter for Oscar De La Hoya to look great against on box-ing’s biggest and brightest stage. Setting today’s most popular pay-per-view attraction up for, quite presumably, the greatest non-heavyweight fight ever: Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather!
Tickets for De La Hoya vs. Mayorga, “Danger Zone,” are available at the MGM Grand Garden Arena box office and at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations. To order by phone, call Ticketmaster at (702) 474-4700. Tickets may also be purchased at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.