De La Hoya thinks Mayweather-Pacquiao ‘too big not to happen’

LOS ANGELES — Oscar De La Hoya said he thinks his promotions company soon will wrap up a deal for Floyd Mayweather Jr. to fight Sugar Shane Mosley in May.

And after that, De La Hoya said, he still thinks Mayweather will meet Manny Pacquiao in the not-too-distant future.

"That fight has to happen," De La Hoya said Tuesday of Mayweather-Pacquiao, which fell apart this month in a drug-testing dispute. "It’s too big not to happen. We just have to cross one hurdle."

De La Hoya weighed in on the state of the welterweight division at a news conference to announce the next fight for Victor Ortiz, one of his junior welterweight proteges. Ortiz will headline the first Fight Night Club show of the new year at Los Angeles’ downtown Club Nokia on Feb. 25.

De La Hoya, who runs Golden Boy Promotions with chief executive Richard Schaefer, said Mayweather and Mosley are in negotiations to meet May 1, probably in Las Vegas. De La Hoya is eager to match Mosley, a Golden Boy partner, with Mayweather, who has been represented by Golden Boy in his recent negotiations.

"The various camps are working extremely hard to make it happen," De La Hoya said. "That’s the fight that could really take boxing to another level, because it’s two great American fighters meeting each other."

No matter the outcome of that proposed bout, De La Hoya thinks Mayweather’s path ultimately must cross with Pacquiao, the Filipino pound-for-pound king who will fight Joshua Clottey on March 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Mayweather and Pacquiao were achingly close to a deal this month, but couldn’t close a 10-day gap in their preferences for the last session of drug testing before their proposed March 13 bout.

"The public will hopefully make him (Pacquiao) change his mind," De La Hoya said. "Why would you not want to earn $40 million? Why would you not want to show the public that all this speculation is nonsense? Be the one to stand up and say it."

Although Mayweather dislikes De La Hoya and usually limits his Golden Boy interaction to conversations with Schaefer, De La Hoya firmly is in Mayweather’s corner in his apparent quest to bring a higher level of drug testing to boxing.

De La Hoya has fought two opponents who later acknowledged using steroids, beating Fernando Vargas in 2002 and losing a close decision to Mosley in 2003.

"I know where Mayweather is coming from with this," De La Hoya said. "This was a perfect stage to show the world that, hey, us fighters have nothing to hide. … It’s not like hitting a baseball or running a sprint. These are our lives at risk up in the ring."

De La Hoya said he thinks Pacquiao eventually will agree to Mayweather’s drug-testing demands. Mayweather is thought to be demanding the same testing procedures for Mosley, who has acknowledging using designer steroids — though claiming he did so unwittingly.

"I believe Mosley will raise his hand and say, ‘Take me to the laboratory,’ " said De La Hoya, who believes Mosley’s protestations of ignorance in his dealings with the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative. "And I’ll be the first to applaud him."

De La Hoya is less forgiving of Antonio Margarito, a former welterweight champion caught using illegal hand wraps before a loss to Mosley in January 2009 in Los Angeles. The California State Athletic Commission suspended Margarito, but Top Rank is trying to get a license for Margarito to fight in Texas on the Pacquiao-Clottey undercard.

"I’m actually disgusted by the fact they’re going over California and weaseling their way into Texas to get a license," De La Hoya said. "Whatever type of cheating you’re doing, it’s wrong. You should be banned for life."

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