De La Hoya picks veteran trainer Beristain

Veteran boxing trainer Nacho Beristain will prepare Oscar De La Hoya for his Dec. 6 fight with Manny Pacquiao, De La Hoya confirmed Tuesday.

De La Hoya went in search of a new trainer three weeks ago after Floyd Mayweather Sr., his longtime cornerman, agreed to train Ricky Hatton for his Nov. 22 bout with Paulie Malignaggi. Mayweather accepted the job before De La Hoya finalized his 147-pound fight at the MGM Grand Garden against Pacquiao, generally considered the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighter.

Beristain is a Boxing Hall of Famer who trained Juan Manuel Marquez for both of his acclaimed bouts against Pacquiao over the past four years. He also trains Rafael Marquez, Juan Manuel’s brother and a talented super bantamweight whose three thrill-packed fights with Israel Vazquez constitute one of the best rivalries in recent boxing history.

“Nacho Beristain is a great trainer who I have respected for many years, and I’m honored to have him in my corner,” De La Hoya said. “Considering that he prepared Juan Manuel Marquez for two fights against Manny Pacquiao, he knows him very well. I’m confident that with Nacho’s game plan and my execution, we’ll be victorious on Dec. 6.”

Beristain is the third trainer in the last three fights for De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KOs), the biggest star in boxing. He worked with Freddie Roach in his split-decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2007, and Mayweather Sr. returned to his corner for his victory over Steve Forbes last May.

Roach is Pacquiao’s longtime trainer, and his public pronouncements about the Filipino star’s superiority convinced De La Hoya to make the fight, which is certain to be the sport’s most lucrative bout this year.

The elder Mayweather has been De La Hoya’s trainer since 2000, except for the fight against Maweather Jr. De La Hoya considered sharing Mayweather Sr. with Hatton, who fights for his Golden Boy Promotions company, if both fighters could hold training camp in the same location.

But De La Hoya instead chose Beristain, who has trained a long line of Mexican champions, including Ricardo Lopez, Gilberto Roman, Daniel Zaragoza and Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez.

“Oscar De La Hoya is one of the premier fighters of this era, and I am excited about working with him for this very important fight,” Beristain said. “I already have a plan in mind for beating Pacquiao, and I know Oscar will do whatever it takes to carry that plan through on fight night.”

De La Hoya had long planned to end his boxing career with his final fight of 2008. But after he failed to replace the retired Mayweather Jr. with a suitable opponent for a proposed bout in September, the Golden Boy all but confirmed his fight with Pacquiao won’t be his last.

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