By Ronnie Nathanielsz
“The Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya has been quoted as saying he “wouldn’t hesitate” to put sparring partner Victor “Vicious” Ortiz (22-1-1, 17 KO’s) against any light welterweight in the world.
De La Hoya’s confidence in Ortiz came shortly after a story went the rounds that Ortiz “beat-up” De La Hoya during a sparring session which was vehemently denied by Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer who said at the time of the report De La Hoya hadn’t even begun sparring.
Even Top Rank promoter Bob Arum who at one time handled Ortiz, downplayed the report about De La Hoya getting beaten-up by his sparring partner saying he didn’t put any faith in such reports and even claimed that while Ortiz was good, he wasn’t that great.
Ortiz who is ranked No. 8 by the WBO is likely to move up in the ratings following a spectacular 5th round stoppage of Roberto Arrieta last September 13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
In fact De La Hoya has been so impressed with Ortiz that he is scheduled to fight Jeffrey Resto (22-2, 13 KO’s) on the undercard of the De La Hoya “Dream Match” against Filipino ring idol Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand on December 6.
After watching Ortiz demolish the tough Argentine Arrieta, De La Hoya said Ortiz “showed poise, accuracy in his punching and power in knocking Arrieta down three times.”
Golden Boy Promotions vice president and international matchmaker Eric Gomez, in an overseas telephone conversation with www.insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports half-seriously said if Ortiz beat-up De La Hoya in the gym “that’s good news for Manny.”
Gomez revealed that De La Hoya only “just started sparring but is feeling very good and everything is fine.”
However, without admitting anything, Gomez pointed out that “ there are certain fighters that don’t look good in training and only go through the motions but when it comes to fight time they end up doing really well. That is kind of like the way Oscar is. Sometimes in the gym he looks good but there are times if he’s feeling tired, his body is tired from all the work, he doesn’t perform like other days but when it comes to fight time he’s ready to fight.”
Gomez, a boyhood friend who grew up with De La Hoya in the same East Los Angeles neighborhood recalled a personal story. He said when De La Hoya was getting ready for a fight maybe for Hopkins , “ he had a kid he was sparring with. One day he got the better of Oscar .He really took it to Oscar and he got the better of him that day.”
Gomez said the kid, whose name escaped him “ went around Los Angeles and started bragging that he got the better of Oscar and that Oscar was finished.”He said that when they mentioned it to him, Oscar said “I’ll teach him a lesson.” Gomez recalled that “the next time the guy went up there (Big Bear training camp) they sparred .He was only able to do two rounds of sparring because Oscar beat him so badly to the body that he didn’t want any more.”
He noted that for all fighters “some days are better than others” even as he mentioned “We’ve heard so many stories about guys beating up Manny.”