Tuesday, August 29
Arum calls suit 'despicable'

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Oscar De La Hoya sued his promoter, Bob Arum, on Tuesday, angered by Arum's remark that he'd be "the happiest person out there" if the boxer retired and went into the music business.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court, seeks to end De La Hoya's contract with Arum, which has been in effect eight years.

Oscar De La Hoya
De La Hoya

"I was very surprised and disappointed by Bob's recent comments to the press stating that I should retire from boxing," De La Hoya said in a statement. "I am as committed to boxing as I ever have been."

Arum was quoted in the Los Angeles Times earlier this month wishing De La Hoya well with his budding singing career and musing, "I really like the kid. Why would I want to see him get hit in the head anymore?"

In an interview Tuesday, Arum said the lawsuit is "one word: despicable."

"Oscar has not learned how to deal with defeat, and he looks for a scapegoat, and this time the arrow fell on me," the promoter said by phone from Las Vegas. "Our contract is solid."

De La Hoya became a superstar after winning an Olympic gold medal in 1992 as a teen-ager from East Los Angeles. But he lost a huge match in June to Shane Mosley, and dropped a majority decision to Felix Trinidad last September.

De La Hoya's attorney, Stephen Espinoza, said the lawsuit seeks only to end the contract, which has three years left on it, and does not ask for monetary damages. He said it was "negotiated at a stage of his career where he gave up way too much" and that De La Hoya attempted to resolve the matter privately before filing suit.

The association between Arum and De La Hoya has been immensely profitable for both, making De La Hoya the biggest non-heavyweight money maker in the history of boxing.

But the relationship has soured.

"If he doesn't really want to fight and he wants to pursue a singing career and he's involving himself with nonsense like this lawsuit, sure, he should retire," Arum said.

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