By Robert Morales
By now it's obvious that the peace between Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions was short-lived. The newest edition to what has been a long-running feud came this week when Arum suggested to BoxingScene.com's Michael Marley that Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer likely won't have anything to do with negotiations for a potential fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Arum said that Schaefer is "on the outside looking in. Who knows and who cares what Richard says?"
De La Hoya on Tuesday played host to a workout for the four fighters involved in Saturday's co-feature bouts at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. De La Hoya was asked how confident he is about Pacquiao-Mayweather being made. De La Hoya then went off on Arum on a variety of issues.
"Well, I mean, we know Pacquiao wants the fight, we know Mayweather wants the fight; that's a given," De La Hoya. "And Bob Arum is coming out with this nonsense that Richard Schaefer is not even involved with Mawywether. It's ridiculous now what Bob is talking. Everybody wants the fight except Bob Arum; he doesn't want the fight. What's the problem? Let's make it happen."
De La Hoya, standing in the Westside Boxing Gym in Los Angeles, then was asked if perhaps Arum doesn't want the fight because he knows Pacquiao would lose based on his less-than-convincing performance against Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12.
"Well, that could definitely be the reason, but there's no shame in losing to a Mayweather," De La Hoya. "Pacquiao will still be Pacquiao. But who knows? Pacquiao might surprise everybody. It's the biggest fight that the general public and the boxing public wants to see. And that's huge for boxing. Let's make it happen. The boxing world, the boxing public, wants to see it."
De La Hoya then came with a completely unsolicited anecdote regarding Arum's alleged inability to work with other promoters. It was as if he was searching for more missiles to launch at his former promoter.
"I think it's like this Saturday with (Abner) Mares and (Joseph) Agbeko and working with Gary Shaw and working with Don King that, by the way, for me Don King has been
the best promoter in the world by far compared to anybody because he knows how to work with other promoters," De La Hoya said.
"He wants to make these fights happen and work with other promoters. We're willing to work with other promoters. Why can't Bob do the same?"
Mares Looking For Controversy-Free Victory
Flash back to Aug. 13 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Mares and Agbeko squared off in the Showtime bantamweight tournament championship bout. Mares won a majority decision, but it was highly controversial because Mares got away with numerous low blows without having a point deducted by referee Russell Mora, who gave Mares credit for an 11th-round knockdown that was the result of a low blow.
Besides the tournament title, Mares won a major world title that night. But he admitted Tuesday he hasn't been able to enjoy it as much as he might have had there been no controversy.
"It did take a lot from the championship, being controversial," Mares said. "And now I'm looking forward to facing him again. I just want to go in there and perform, fight a smart fight, a great fight and do it in a good way."
According to Golden Boy vice president Eric Gomez, Mares not being able to properly bask in championship glory has given his fighter incredible motivation.
"It has fueled the fire for this rematch," Gomez said. "And when we came to him with the possibility of doing the rematch, he said, 'Let's go. I want to prove to everybody that I belong and I won that title fair and square. I don't want any controversy, I want to clear the air, I want to make sure people give me my due respect. I worked hard for this title,' and that's what it's all about."
Well, the IBF ordered the rematch, so if Mares had turned it down he likely would have been stipped of the belt. It's doubtful Mares would have ever done that, especially since he believes he should have won the title in May 2010 when the best he could get was a draw against Yonnhy Perez in Los Angeles.
"It has been a couple of instances now," Gomez said. "We did the Yonnhy Perez fight, which a lot of us felt he won; he felt he won, and they give him a draw. He does the Agbeko fight, it's close, controversial again. So he hasn't had his due yet. So he feels this Saturday he can slash those demons and finally get his respect."
Everybody wants respect, but it seems Mares is of the mind he hasn't received any. That really bothers him, especially considering his past three fights have come against Vic Darchinyan, Perez and Agbeko - all terrific fighters. The worst Mares has gotten in those three bouts was a draw against Perez, yet he believes no one has noticed.
"I think people should really look at my last three, four opponents have been champions, ex-champions and you know, just tough fights," Mares said. "But they don't seem to look at that. They seem just to see the negative stuff."
Mares at one point seemed to almost apologize for going south of the border against Agbeko.
"Again, I've never meant to throw any low blows, it just happened," he said. "A bad night for all of us. For the ref, for myself, but you know I'm fighting him again. Few people do rematches right away. I could have easily taken an easy fight, like they say a tuneup fight right after becoming world champion.
"But no, here I am, facing Agbeko again for the second time. He's a tough fighter, a really tough fighter. I didn't have no problem facing him again and I hope to win the right way where people can give me that credit that I think I deserve."
De La Hoya said that's what Mares wants more than anything.
"He wants no controversy whatsoever," De La Hoya said. "He wants to show the public who the best is and you have to respect that from Abner Mares. He's a true warrior."
Agbeko a True Gentleman
The man nicknamed "King Kong" was also on hand Tuesday. He was asked a variety of questions. One reporter had a real burning inquiry: Why didn't Agbeko retaliate against Mares by throwing his own low blows? Certainly, many - if not most - would have.
"I'm a professional boxer," Agbeko said. "I'm in the ring to obey the rules of the game, so I have to be professional."
The scrutiny for this fight will be enormous, under the circumstances. Agbeko is happy about that.
"This time the world is going to be watching and the referee (Dr.Lou Moret) is going to be under pressure because he has to do the right thing," Agbeko said. "If he doesn't do it, then the world is going to see him.
"So definitely Mares has to force himself not to go below the belt and I then also I have to prove myself by beating him for the whole to see that I'm the best bantamweight."
Mares Won't Change Style
Anyone thinking Mares will suddenly become strictly a head-hunter so as to avoid any problems Saturday should think again. He will continue to work the body.
"Oh, yes, that's what defines me as a fighter - a body puncher," Mares said. "I always like to work the body."
Mares did say he has other strategies if he starts getting warned to keep up his punches.
King in The House
The man De La Hoya says is the best promoter all-time was in the house Wednesday for the final news conference at Honda Center. King, who promotes Agbeko, contstantly chirped in the background when De La Hoya and Mares spoke.
Of the first Mares-Agbeko fight, King said, "It was worse than a robbery, it was Brinks."
Darchinyan also Butts In
Seated behind Mares as he was speaking on the dais was Darcyhinyan, who also laid claims to low blows by Mares in their fight. Speaking of a potential rematch with Mares,
Darchinyan said, "If he fights me and beats me, I will give him all my purse."
Alexander-Maidana in The Works
De La Hoya promotes Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana, both of whom made their bones by winning world titles in the junior welterweight division. De La Hoya on Tuesday confirmed that a fight between the two is being seriously discussed.
It would take place at welterweight.
"That's the fight that both camps have been talking about," De La Hoya said. "We love the fight, I'm sure fighters would love the fight. Maidana would fight anybody, Alexander is willing and able to fight anybody at 147.
"That fight would be at 147, which is a great opportunity because at 147 you have the big-name fighters who are fighting at welterweight. We want to
position the winner, even the runner-up, to be a contender for those big fights at 147."
De La Hoya said that fight could land in either Las Vegas or Los Angeles. It was at Staples Center in Los Angeles where Maidana stopped Victor Ortiz in a thriller in June 2009.