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Four Days After His Controversial Loss to Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya Sits Down and Watches the Fight With The Times and Says: ‘I Demand a Rematch’ : Boxing: He says he will fight welterweight champion anywhere and promises a more aggressive style.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Forget the yearlong vacation.

Forget the move to 154 pounds.

Forget the other opponents.

Four days after suffering the first loss of his professional career, Oscar De La Hoya has refocused on one goal: a rematch with Felix Trinidad.

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Having lost to Trinidad on Saturday at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Events Center on a majority decision, De La Hoya says he is willing to meet the Puerto Rican 147-pound champion any time, anywhere, at any price--within reason, of course.

“I demand a rematch,” De La Hoya said after watching a replay of Saturday’s fight at The Times on Wednesday by invitation of Times Sports Editor Bill Dwyre. “I want my title back. I will fight him whenever he wants. . . . All I want is my belt back.”

That was a much different tune than De La Hoya and his handlers were singing Saturday night when De La Hoya said he was going to take a long vacation, De La Hoya promoter Bob Arum said his fighter didn’t need Trinidad and De La Hoya trainer Robert Alcazar said that De La Hoya should get on with his career and move up to 154 pounds.

De La Hoya and Arum had serious doubts about the judges’ scoring.

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“I have watched the fight seven times,” De La Hoya said, “and I still don’t understand how he won the fight.”

Rather than blame the judges directly, De La Hoya hinted at wrongdoing by Don King, Trinidad’s promoter.

“I thought, ‘If Don King is involved, be careful,’ ” De La Hoya said.

De La Hoya’s promoter was more testy.

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“Give me a break, we are not accusing anybody,” said Arum, who then proceeded to do so. “I’ve said all along that, when there is a Don King fight, there is always controversy.”

Contacted at his Las Vegas home, Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, defended the judges, but admitted he had two problems with the scoring. He questioned Jerry Roth for giving the first round to Trinidad and Bob Logist for giving the 12th round to De La Hoya. Roth and Logist had Trinidad winning the fight, Roth 115-113 and Logist 115-114. The other judge, Glen Hamada, called the fight a draw, 114-114.

“These are three of the best judges in the world,” Ratner said. “I thought it was an extremely close fight. I can make a case for the decision they came up with, for a draw or for Oscar winning. If you change one round on any of the cards, you would change the decision. Between the three judges, they have judged close to 150 world title fights, so they are experienced in world-class events.

“This was a tough fight to score. There were rounds where there were very few punches thrown. Judges who like the aggressive fighter will go for him in close rounds. Judges who like a defensive fighter will give the edge to him in a close round. It’s an inexact science and as subjective as can be.

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“I’ve looked at the fight scorecards and I question Roth on the first round, and I question Logist on the 12th round. I was disappointed especially in the 12th round, which I consider the easiest round to score for Trinidad, and he gave it to De La Hoya.”

Don’t look for Logist to be asked back for a championship fight in Nevada, according to one source outside the commission.

But look for De La Hoya-Trinidad II regardless of the public posturing going on between Arum and King.

De La Hoya will wind up making between $23 million and $24 million from Saturday’s fight, Arum said Wednesday, then backed off from his earlier insistence that the purses remain the same for a rematch. Trinidad made $10.5 million in Saturday’s fight. King has said that he wants the two purses to be reversed for a rematch.

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“If Felix Trinidad wants to fight,” Arum said, “the money will work itself out. The promoters will not stop the fight.”

The most likely compromise will be for the fighters to split the pot, with each receiving about $15 million.

De La Hoya said he would love the fight to take place in Las Vegas on Cinco de Mayo, May 5th, of next year. If that is indeed the date, he won’t fight again until then. If negotiations drag on, De La Hoya will move up to 154 pounds and fight World Boxing Council super-welterweight champion Javier Castillejo and perhaps World Boxing Assn. super-welterweight titleholder David Reid while waiting for Trinidad.

And if he should get back into the ring with Trinidad, De La Hoya said he won’t leave it to the judges.

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“This time I will have to brawl,” De La Hoya said. “I am stronger than him.”

But while saying he must be more aggressive the next time, De La Hoya wouldn’t admit that his strategy this time of moving and jabbing and staying out of the reach of the powerful Trinidad was flawed.

“That was the game plan, 12 rounds of boxing,” De La Hoya said. “I was happy [toward the end of the fight]. I was celebrating. I knew I won more than six rounds. . . . Even Papa Joel [his father] was happy. I’ve never ever seen him like that.”

Although De La Hoya clearly looked tired on the replay in the last three rounds, although he was no longer able to mount an attack, although his jabs were far less frequent and effective, he insisted that it was confidence that he was ahead, not fatigue, that caused him to fight like that.

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“Why brawl?” he said.

As disappointed as he was at Saturday’s outcome, De La Hoya is getting better at losing. The last time he suffered a defeat, it was against Marko Rudolph at 139 pounds in the World Amateur Boxing Championships in Germany in November 1991.

“I locked myself in my room for two weeks,” De La Hoya said.

And came out to beat Rudolph in 1992 in Barcelona to win an Olympic gold medal.

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This time, De La Hoya would settle for a pair of welterweight belts. And sweet revenge.


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