August 28, 2008 / 6:49 PM / 11 years ago

De La Hoya to fight Pacquiao in December

MIAMI (Reuters) - Ten-times world champion Oscar De La Hoya will fight WBC lightweight world champion Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines in December with the American refusing to call the bout his last.

Oscar De La Hoya connects with a punch to the face of Steve Forbes (L) during the their non-title 12-round boxing bout in Carson, California May 3, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Richard Schaefer, CEO of De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, told a teleconference the fight would take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on December 6.

De La Hoya, 35, had said he would make just one more bout before retiring from the sport but on Thursday he refused to confirm this would be his final fight.

“My focus is on my training and my next fight. I am not going to talk about retirement,” De La Hoya said when asked directly if this would be his last.

“I am going to give 100 percent of my focus to this fight and then we will see after the fight,” he added.

“Let’s just say my foot got caught in the door,” he added.

Negotiations for the fight had previously broken down over the division of the purse but neither Schaefer nor Pacquiao’s promoters Top Rank would discuss the financial terms.

The bout will be a 12-round, non-title fight contested at the 147-pound welterweight limit.

The 5 foot 10 De La Hoya will a significant height advantage over the 5 foot 6.5 Pacquiao but the 29-year-old Filipino believes he can win through greater speed.

“I’m faster and younger and I think I can beat him, it is going to be a great fight,” he said.

De La Hoya accepted that he was going to have to fasten up his fighting in training.

“I have to find a away to increase my speed in the ring, I have quite a task in front of me,” he said.

De La Hoya, born in Los Angeles to Mexican parents, rose to fame by winning a gold medal for the United States in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and won the nickname “Golden Boy” for his good looks and wholesome image.

He won professional acclaim by defeating Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez in 1996 and has won championships at six weight classes. At age 35 he has a record of 39-5 with 30 knockouts.

The American said he was not concerned about a possible defeat taking the shine off his career.

“I think my legacy is already cemented, you can’t take away what I have achieved in the ring,” he said.

Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Justin Palmer

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