Monday, April 2, 2007

Golden Boy, Talks Training Camp, Roach, and More.

When Oscar De La Hoya decided to drop his long-time trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr. this past January, the announcement of who the “Golden Boy” would tap to train him for his mega-bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 5th became the most anticipated one of the young year. He chose Freddie Roach, and in early March, the two set up a full-time training camp in Puerto Rico to begin the heavy work of preparing for Floyd Jr.

During a media teleconference this past week Oscar De La Hoya brimmed with confidence and energy when reporting how his training under Roach had been going. About a month in to camp, Oscar says that Roach has whipped him into shape, lined up great sparring partners and devised a strategy to beat “Pretty Boy” Floyd.

“Everything is going great, as planned. I’m truly excited about working with Freddie Roach. He is very instrumental at this point in my career. He makes a huge difference when it comes to getting the right strategy and getting in tip top shape. I’ve got sparring partners that have the speed and even more power than Mayweather. I didn’t think I could get in better shape at this point in my career, but Freddie has really kicked it up a notch.”

Oscar also says that, though he respects his former trainer Mayweather Sr., the differences between he and Roach’s styles are stark.

“There’s a big difference. The styles are totally, totally different. Floyd Sr. is a great trainer, but the way they hold the mitts and the way they talk to you is night and day. Sr. will have you throw a 25 punch combo where maybe those first 3, 4, 5 punches will be effective but the rest will be all arm punches. With Freddie Roach you will be throwing punches that you will be throwing during the fight. Freddie Roach is more intense. Its combination after combination, ducking under punches, constant pressure, and it’s allowed me to get in better shape. I feel in incredible shape right now. I could never understand why Manny (Pacquiao, the energetic pound for pound great and long time and current charge of Roach) was so explosive, now I know, it’s because of Freddie Roach.”

Roach has also brought out the aggressiveness in the former Olympic gold medalist, says Oscar.

“Roach is a trainer that has an aggressive style, he likes to fight. For many years my style was always like that, very aggressive and out front. But over the years I started to change my style to one as more of a boxer. That aggressive style is what I like; fighting hard with a lot of aggression.”

When De La Hoya hired Roach to prepare him for Mayweather Jr. he cited Roach’s ability to develop a sound fight strategy as a main appeal. And it seems that Roach has risen to Oscar’s expectations thus far as the six-division champion says he and Roach already have Floyd Jr. figured out.

“We have him down. It’s not a fight where I have to change my strategy or change my whole game; it’s going to be a fight where I have to make little adjustments here and there. I’ll be able to do whatever I want to do inside that ring on May 5th.”

If nothing else, Oscar’s confidence seems in place. But many pundits will still have him as the solid underdog to Floyd Jr. come fight night, in large part because of the four-division champion’s blinding speed.

De La Hoya, who will have former two-time in-ring adversary and Golden Boy Promotions partner, Shane Mosley in camp with him this coming week as a sparring partner, is unconvinced. Oscar believes that a combination of his own speed and ring savvy will make the difference for him against Floyd.

“I’m sure there will be many times where I will lure him into my trap. I’ll take some risks. I’ll be in tremendous shape where I’ll have no problem taking those risks. There will be times where I forget to block a punch, let him hit me once or twice or three times to see what happens” says the naturally bigger De La Hoya speaking of the luxuries he believes his size and intelligence will afford him against Mayweather.

“People will be very surprised on how much I’ll be able to match his speed. Fighters like this really take me to another level.”


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