De La Hoya and Mayweather go head to head (pic Roger Carlin)
By Clive Bernath in Las Vegas: After three months in the planning,an 11 city press tour and more media interviews and photo sessions than they care to remember, WBC junior-middleweight titleholder Oscar De La Hoya and pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jnr can finally concentrate on the trade they are paid millions of dollars to do-and that is to fight.
Earlier today at the Hollywood Theater inside the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, the 34 year-old ’Golden Boy’ and king of bling, Mayweather came face to face for the last time until they finally clash at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday(May 5) night.
The final press gathering produced none of the hype, drama and now infamous insults from previous conferences between the two boxers. Instead Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer took the opportunity to thank HBO,the world’s media and the sponsors for working tirelessly to make De La Hoya vs Mayweather not only the most eagerly awaited boxing event of the last 10 years but also the richest.
Within three hours of tickets going on sale all 16,200 had been sold, grossing a record breaking $19 million dollars, surpassing the previous record of $16.2 million for the Lennox Lewis vs Evander Holyfield rematch in 1999. HBO’s Senior Vice Precident Mark Taffet also confirmed that De La Hoya vs Mayweather could almost certainly generate more PPV buys than the non heavyweight record breaking 1.4 million buys generated when De La Hoya fought Felix Trinidad in 1999. That fight generated a massive $71 million dollars at the box office. To further indicate just how massive a fight this is there is every chance that Oscar himself could become HBO’s all time biggest PPV attraction. ’The ’Golden Boy’ is currently HBO’s third highest grossing boxer after generating $492 million dollars from 10.4 million buys, behind Evander Holyfield($534million/12.6 million buys) and Mike Tyson($545 million/12.4 million buys).
All the parties involved in this Golden Boy Promotions ’The World Awaits’ card,have worked incredibly hard to market the biggest and eagerly awaited fight of the last 10 years but no one more so than the fighters themselves.
So now the waiting is over and the fighting begins and despite already having made millions of dollars Mayweather today revealed he is as hungry as ever to preserve his perfect 37-0-(24) record.
“I’m here and I know what it takes to win,” said Mayweather, “I’m hungry and May 5 I’m ready to go out there and die. I want this fight so bad. I knew this fight with Oscar was gonna happen when I was with Top Rank(promoter), thats why I never got close with Oscar. I knew this fight was gonna be the biggest fight in boxing history and I’m ready to take this fight to the next level. I’m sure Oscar’s ready but I’m hungry and May 5 you will see the best of Floyd Mayweather.”
De La Hoya, too is ready for the biggest test of his 38-4-(30), career: “I’m pleased to be back in Las Vegas and I’m ready to fight, what, can I say?,said De La Hoya.
“We chose this fight many months ago, we know Floyd is always in shape and is the best of the best so we prepared for that. We have had a very good camp. Having Freddie(Roach) in my camp, were very happy with our game plan. We’ve executed everything we need to execute. Its up to me to go out there and fight hard because thats what I always do. All the attention will be on May 5 and now its up to us fighters to fight the best we can and I want to make sure we give all the fans a great fight”.
May 3, 2007