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Trinidad, Quartey Fights Ahead?

TIMES STAFF WRITER

So when is Oscar De La Hoya going to fight a real opponent?

That’s the question being asked by fight fans and critics, unhappy with mediocre challenger Patrick Charpentier, whom De La Hoya faces Saturday night in El Paso’s Sun Bowl, and disgusted with the thought of a proposed September rematch against Julio Cesar Chavez, generally considered to be well past his prime.

But De La Hoya insists he has been asking the same question of his promoter, Bob Arum, and expects to get some answers soon.

Arum has offered International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Felix Trinidad $7 million to $8 million to face De La Hoya next May. Trindad’s largest previous payday had been $1 million. De La Hoya still would make more than Trinidad, but only by agreeing to get a percentage of the anticipated revenue.

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Trinidad has also been talking about a fight against World Boxing Assn. welterweight champion Ike Quartey, another bona fide challenger for De La Hoya.

To prevent a Trinidad-Quartey match, which would keep De La Hoya out of the picture, Arum says he will offer Quartey a November fight against De La Hoya, right after the Chavez match, thus keeping open the possibility of a Trinidad-De La Hoya fight in the spring.

De La Hoya himself said his toughest opponent might be neither Trinidad nor Quartey, but Jose Luis Lopes, a fighter who is rising rapidly in the public consciousness.

“He might be the most dangerous fighter for me,” De La Hoya said. “The other guys [Trinidad and Quartey], who come out strong, are easy for me. Guys that like to bang are like a punching bag for me. But Lopez has a fast punch, he’s very powerful and he can take a punch.”

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Also on Saturday night’s card at the Sun Bowl will be a World Boxing Council lightweight title fight between champion Stevie Johnston (24-0, 13 knockouts) and Cesar Bazan (31-2-1, 23 knockouts).

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When it comes to getting attention, Freddy Norwood is a pauper compared to Prince Naseem Hamed.

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It doesn’t bother Norwood (29-0-1, 18 knockouts), who will get some attention when he defends the WBA featherweight title against Genaro Rios (18-4, 4 knockouts) on Saturday at Atlantic City, N.J.

Norwood is confident the power-punching Hamed, of Britain, the World Boxing Organization’s 126-pound champion, would rue the day he fought Norwood.

“He can’t take a punch,” Norwood said Thursday. “He’s fought has-beens, he’s never fought a Freddy Norwood, an undefeated fighter.”

It will be Norwood’s first defense of the title he won on points over Antonio Cermeno on April 3.

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There also will be boxing show Sunday at the Taj Mahal, featuring Floyd Mayweather against Tony Pep in 10-round junior lightweight bout.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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