By Ronnie Nathanielsz

“The Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya says that should he get into the ring against Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao “it has to be very personal.”

In an exclusive overseas telephone conversation with along with Viva Sports and Manila Standard Today, De La Hoya recounted his feelings after Pacquiao first signed up with Golden Boy Promotions and then turned around and went with Top Rank promoter Bob Arum.

De La Hoya remarked, “I think its very personal because I felt I accepted Manny and I trusted Manny and when we looked into each others eyes and we shook hands I felt we had reached a deal. But the past is the past and if we get in the ring it has to be very personal.”

Referring to celebrated trainer Freddie Roach’s comments on dzSR Sports Radio’s “Sports Chat” program in which Roach spoke to host Dennis Principe and myself and claimed that De La Hoya was slow, couldn’t pull the trigger and will be knocked out by Pacquiao, De La Hoya said he had “great respect for Freddie Roach who is one of the best trainers in the world but I know that I can prove him wrong and if Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao are calling me out then I am right here waiting.”

De La Hoya emphasized “I’m a very competitive fighter and I remember when Bernard Hopkins was challenging me and at that time I was a welterweight and he was fighting as a light heavyweight and he called me out. As a fighter I felt I had to challenge him so I did. Now Manny Pacquiao is challenging me and I am definitely considering it.”

“The Golden Boy” noted that his conversation with us was the first time he was responding directly to Roach and Pacquiao. “I see it as a challenge and I think that if Manny Pacquiao wants to consider himself a legend I think by having a fight with me, it will put him in the history books forever.”

A De La Hoya – Pacquiao fight would need a number of crucial issues to be ironed out. But De La Hoya made it clear that Golden Boy “will have to be the promoter in order to make it a record-breaking fight.” He added “no other promoter can generate the numbers that we do.”

However, he left a window open for talks stating that “if this fight can take place I am sure Richard Schaefer and Bob Arum can work something out.” De La Hoya said he had “never met anybody smarter in boxing” than Schaefer and made it clear that “if there is anybody who can make this fight huge – not big but huge – its me (De La Hoya) Manny Pacquiao and Richard Schaefer.”

Asked about his readiness to come down to 147 pounds for a Pacquiao fight which may be a struggle for him, De La Hoya shrugged it off. “No struggle at all” he said. “I am a natural welterweight. I can make the weight easy. There’s no problem.”

He said he only gains a maximum of four pounds by fight night because he is a natural 145-146 pounder. De La Hoya said he doesn’t gain much between the weigh in and fight night pointing out that in his last fight against Steve Forbes “I weighed in at 149 and by fight night I was only 151. The most I gain in-between fights, the maximum, is six to seven pounds.”

On the issue of Pacquiao’s purse which some so-called insiders in Team Pacquiao claim should be at least $20 million , De La Hoya that he was sure that when Schaefer gets back from his European vacation on July 30 “we can come out with a formula where Manny can make two or three or even four or five times what he’s making now so I feel that Bob Arum and Richard Schaefer can realistically make this fight happen.”

Right now with Miguel Cotto having been beaten by Antonio Margarito – a Mexican – who De La Hoya made it clear he wouldn’t fight long before Margarito whipped Cotto since he is also a Mexican, De La Hoya did say there are “several names I have been thinking about.”

He said one of them is Sergio Mora, another one is Shane Mosley and another one “which I do not exclude” is Felix “Tito” Trinidad . De La Hoya thinks that “the fight can be made” and that Schaefer has been talking to Don King but added, “we’ll have to wait and see because this is my last year, my last fight and I think me and Manny can really make history inside that ring on December 6.”

De La Hoya revealed that he would train for four months for a Pacquiao showdown. He emphasized, “I keep myself in good shape now My plan for this year was to fight three times and with the Floyd Mayweather retirement it derailed my plans. But I kept myself in shape and now I am getting ready for December so I’ll be ready for whoever I fight.”

At the same time De La Hoya believes he can entice Mayweather out of retirement stating “I think he retired prematurely.”