BAD BLOOD: DELAHOYA VS. VARGAS
By "Mr. BodyShots" Carlo Pineda
With all the legitimate animosity between Oscar DelaHoya and Fernando Vargas, along with the many tables filled with friends and family of both fighters, it was only a matter of time before the fireworks got started. It sure didn't take long.
Neither fighter made it to his seat. As soon as Bob Arum introduced both fighters on the dais, they walked towards each other, behind the podium, and began to exchange words, face to face. It didn't take long before Vargas pushed DelaHoya back and the shoving match began, only to be broken up by everyone around. After all the commotion, everything settled down a little, and the main principals took the podium. Among some of the highlights:
Floyd Mayweather Sr. Trainer of Oscar DelaHoya:
"Fernando 'Wannabe Ferocious' Vargas. You are a very emotional guy who needs to understand that when emotions steps in, logic steps out. What is logic? Oscar DelaHoya is the man, with the man, that's gonna make the plans to put you on your pants. So you running through the city going nowhere fast, we trap your ass at last. (DelaHoya's crowd cheered.)
"I remember something about Vargas saying that Oscar wasn't a real true Mexican. Question, what is a real true Mexican? I thought a Mexican was a Mexican. The only difference... ("He's a sell out!" yelled a Vargas supporter).
"...one's going home beat up, or knocked out. Oscar will still be standing. You don't like Oscar, you can't stand Oscar. Now money is the issue. Sounds like you're scared to me. Sounds like you don't want to fight. Oscar tried to be nice, and offer advice for the Trinidad fight. But instead you turned your head like Mr. Ed. (Crowd went nuts.)
Gary Shaw, Vargas' promoter:
"I've never heard more bull shit in my whole life." (Vargas' supporters cheered.)
"Floyd, this is a fight, this ain't a poetry contest. I'm proud to introduce 'The Ferocious One' who can answer for himself.
Fernando Vargas, WBA Jr. Middleweight Champion:
"I want to say something about Mayweather. I didn't know he was such a good rapper. I thought he was selling keys not too long ago. On May 4th, we're gonna get back. You know, I hope I'm not chasing, and chasing, and chasing, and chasing. This is a fight, right? We don't want to see 'I'm gonna run, and run, and run. This is the way I fight.' This fight got canceled about 100 times, right? It wasn't from our standpoint. Let me just break it down like this. Mayweather said he didn't know the difference between one Mexican and the other one. Let me just tell you how you can tell the difference. This one has fuckin' balls!"
Bob Arum, DelaHoya's promoter:
"I know they talk about the rivalry, but this fight means something else. There are two schools of boxing. There's a school of boxing represented by Sugar Ray Leonard, Evander Holyfield, the great gentlemen of the sport, and the school of boxing represented by Mike Tyson, Zab Judah, and unfortunately I think, Fernando Vargas. This is a crossroad for the sport of boxing. I am thankful that I can introduce to you a true gentleman.
Arum turned to DelaHoya and said: "you're a gentleman, a true gentleman."
Vargas yelled into the microphone: "Bob, this is a gentleman who called you a 'Jew'."
At that point the crowd went wild, and chant's of "East LA. East LA" began.
Oscar DelaHoya, WBC Super Middleweight Champion:
"Is that all you have? Is that all you have? I gave him one free blow and he couldn't even wrinkle my tie. Last time I checked I have 'cojones' too. One thing that I have to say, is that I try to represent boxing in a good way to make the sport grow. On the other hand we have this guy here who is along with the Tysons and the Judahs of the world.
Vargas: Oh, you're the savior of boxing now?
DelaHoya: This sport is a sport that has to be a clean sport
Vargas: Lets do all the talking in the ring.
"Im gonna be doing a lot of talking in the ring. I mean, my fist are gonna be doing the talking. You can sit there and talk, and say 'you don't have huevitos'. We'll see what happens in the ring. You've been knockdown like 8 times, well its gonna be about 12 this time. I know where to hit him. I know he has that glass jaw. Its gonna be an exciting fight. I'm not gonna do a one punch, a Rivera right hand, and then get scared, Im gonna go out there and finish you off. Make it a good fight. So I can't wait."
Bob Arum then dismissed the fighters and their people, without asking the fighters to pose for a press photo opt, for obvious reasons.
A little later we caught up with DelaHoya, who talked to a panel of media reporters.
Oscar DelaHoya Q&A:
Q: Just from the emotion that you saw in the press conference. Could the emotion in the ring get completely out of control?
DLH: Not with me. It depends. Having Mayweather in my corner, it wont.
Q: You were willing to say before hand, you came out and said 'I dislike the guy, I hate the guy,' you've always been politically correct in all of the things that you've said, that seemed to stop.
DLH: Well its an emotional fight. A fight that I never wanted. I never wanted him to make the money. Now he's making great money, I have to eat that up. Im gonna make him pay for it.
Q: Could it be a similar fight to the Trinidad fight, there's a lot of fury?
DLH: The angrier he gets, the better it will be for me. I will fight him intelligently
Q: What do you think of his behavior during the press conference. Do you think its all publicity to heat up the fight?
DLH: Its his immaturity. He's young. He doesn't know what he's saying. That's the way it is.
Q: What do you think of a possible fight against Bernard Hopkins, who wants to fight you?
DLH: I would love it. For my birthday, February 4 next year.
Q: The fact that you've known him and worked with him since he was younger, do you think you know him, and he won't be able to come out with anything new, and you'll defeat him easily?
DLH: Believe me, it won't be a problem. Because Im working with Mayweather.
Q: Is the fact that its Fernando Vargas for this fight gonna make it different?
DLH: He tried to get a cheap shot in. So he pushed me. Let him come up in the ring angry, so I can just school him, and knock him out.
Q: Oscar, what did you feel when he told you that you run?
DLH: Nothing. I am an intelligent fighter. You must be to last in boxing. Trinidad knocked him down 5-6 times, Rivera dropped him. I know he's been soften up.
Boxing Jungle: Will his emotions get the best of him in the end?
DLH: The more angry he gets, the better for me. Let him get furious. I'm gonna box him like Muhammad Ali. Jab, left hook, you watch.
Boxing Jungle: What finally made you take this fight? You said you were never gonna fight him. What caused you to make you want to fight him?
DLH: Well, because here you have a guy who built his career trash talking about me, putting me down. Kind of like a celebrity stocker, he's on my back all the time. Leave me alone! I just got fed up with it. I said 'you know what, let me talk inside the ring, let me shut you up in the ring. That's what I want to do.
FERNANDO VARGAS Q&A:
Q: How do you feel about them trying to paint you as the bad element in boxing?
FV: This guy thinks he's like the savior of boxing. Off course he's gonna say something like that. "oh I just try to do everything ood for boxing." You know, Im a fighter, since I was born. He's a boxer. Im a fighter, since I was born. I fight, in life, in everything I do. This is his last fight. He wouldn't be taking this risk if he didn't' know this was his last fight.
Q: Awful lot of talk from their side.
FV: Well you got Mayweather, ex trafficker, who wants to go out there. He's a good trainer, but if he's so good, why did Floyd leave him?
Q: Do you think Floyd's style with the rolling of the shoulders, and all of that, doesn't suit what Oscar's strengths are?
FV: I don't think that you can teach that. Floyd grew up in that. He's a black fighter. He has quick twitch muscle. Does the rolling. I don't think he can be taught that. Even in the fight with Gatti. I don't think he changed much. He got hit a lot. I hope he fights me like that.
Q: Did you get any joy in being able to shove him today?
FV: Not really, he said a few things, that's why I shoved him. I look forward to stepping into the ring. This is my dream.
Q: I couldn't see from where I was sitting. You said he was crying?
FV: Im not gonna lie to you, I thought he was crying. His eyes got very watery. I don't know what was going on in there.
Q: He was wondering why you said that real Mexicans have 'cojones'?
FV: The perfect example is the Trinidad fight. I think if he would have stooped a little bit and put his punches together, it would have been all right.
Q: Fernando, it was kind of see exactly what happened. Was it just the push?
FV: Just a push. Nothing serious.
Q: Can you go back to how all this bad blood started?
FV: Im not gonna get into it right now. After the fight, that way there's no misleading information.
Q: Fernando, Oscar said that he hates you, and he'd never use that word about an opponent before.
FV: I hate him too.
Q: He said he hates you, and you are in love with him.
FV: I don't know what type of homosexual thoughts he's been thinking. Sorry to burst his bubble.
Boxing Jungle: He called you a celebrity stocker.
FV: Who is he? Britney Spears?
Boxing Jungle: Is it possible that emotions will get the best of you for this fight, instead of thinking logically, and clear?
FV: You see, this is something I've been wanting for a long time. It kind of reminds me of the fight with Raul Marquez, 'cause I didn't like him at all. We almost got into it before. I hated the guy, but I fought with a controlled anger. That's what I"ll do this time. For the Trinidad fight I kind of got away from that. I learned from my mistakes. Im gonna give everything to make sure this is his last fight.
Q: Back when he won the gold medal, was there a time when you admired him?
FV: Definitely. When I met him, that's when it ended. I've said it openly, that I looked up to him. After the fight, when I beat him, I'll explain the situation.
Q: In DelaHoya's last fight, you said his power dropped off. Did you also notice his hand speed dropped off?
FV: A lot of people say that he is very quick, and this and that. Yeah, from 130-147. I think at 154 he looked mediocre to me. Power, nothing whatsoever, I feel. He had a fighter in there who didn't want to fight. I feel I would have gotten Javier Castillejo of there in 6 rounds. Im training for the toughest, and best Oscar come May 4.
Q: Everybody keeps talking about the Trinidad fight, whether you can get over that. What's your response?
FV: The more I fight, people are gonna see. I took 5 months off after the Trinidad fight, 2 for the Shibata fight. Now Im fully back. I've been able to stay in shape, feel strong.
Q: Fernando, just to be fair, why did you use an obscenity on the dais? Where you emotionally overwhelmed?
FV: I don't even remember saying anything. I just want to fight. There's not gonna be no love words between us.
Watch DelaHoya vs. Vargas on May 4th on HBO PPV.
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