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Wednesday March 1, 2006

Boxing: De La Hoya, Mayorga trade verbal shots


BEVERLY HILLS, California AP) - With their fight more than two months away, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricardo Mayorga are tuning up with some verbal sparring. 

The 33-year-old De La Hoya has said he hopes to close out his career with the May 6 bout against Mayorga, and a grand finale against either Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Felix Trinidad in September. 

Mayorga, a wild-swinging WBC champion from Managua, Nicaragua, talked a great game on Tuesday, saying that he intends to spoil De La Hoya's plans. 

"This clown sitting here to my right has disrespected me,'' the animated Mayorga said at a news conference.  

"He keeps saying that he's going to be fighting in September or October, like he's fighting a nobody in May. 

"I'm the champion. You've got to recognize that. My strongest hand is my right hand. You see his eye? I'm going to detach his retina,'' Mayorga said through a translator. 

"I recognize that at one point that you were a great champion. But I'm going to prove on May 6 that you have nothing left in the tank. You remind me of an old lady that's past her prime that should be sitting home in a rocking chair doing nothing.'' 

De La Hoya sat staring coldly at Mayorga. 

At one point, after Mayorga said he was going to bust up De La Hoya's face, the two traded shoves before others quickly stepped in to separate them. 

When De La Hoya's time at the podium came, he spoke in a measured tone. 

"This will be,'' he said and then took a long pause, "the fight of my life. I've never had any anger toward anybody, or disrespect, except for one man out there who got knocked out,'' De La Hoya said, ostensibly alluding to Fernando Vargas. 

"This guy here, May 6, believe me, he will get knocked out. 

"He's throwing fuel at the flame. I'm not a talker at all, but inside the ring, he's going to pay.'' 

Again staring at Mayorga, De La Hoya added, "I'm not afraid of you at all, nothing. Fighters are not afraid. But inside the ring, I'm going to knock you out. Believe it.'' 

He added, drawing out the words for emphasis, "I'm going to knock you out.'' 

Mayorga, who turns 33 on March 10, will put his super welterweight title on the line in the bout at the MGM Grand. 

The fight will be De La Hoya's first since he was stopped by Bernard Hopkins in the ninth round on Sept. 18, 2004. 

A six-time champion, De La Hoya has a 37-4 record, with 29 knockouts. His other defeats were a pair of decisions to Shane Mosley, and another by decision to Trinidad. 

Mayorga (27-5 with one draw, 22 knockouts) has had some impressive fights, including beating Vernon Forrest twice in 2003.  

But he has lost two of his last four bouts, decisioned by Cory Spinks in 2003 and stopped by Trinidad in 2004. - AP 

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