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DE LA HOYA WANTS OUT OF ARUM BOXER'S SUIT TRIES TO END CONTRACT WITH PROMOTER.

Byline: Michael Rosenthal Staff Writer

The eight-year relationship between Oscar De La Hoya and Bob Arum, one of the most successful promoter-boxer teams in history, could be over.

De La Hoya announced Tuesday he has sued Arum in an attempt to end their contract three years before it expires. A statement says flatly that the relationship is ``terminated.''

Arum, angry and defiant, responded by hiring his own attorney and plans to sue De La Hoya for breech of contract. He also questioned the integrity of the East L.A. fighter.

De La Hoya said he was upset over published comments made by Arum suggesting the fighter should retire.

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

De La Hoya's attorney, Stephen Espinoza, also told The Associated Press that the contract was ``negotiated at a stage of his career where he gave up way too much.''

The suit alleges other ``numerous legal and contractual violations'' but doesn't name them.

De La Hoya tried to buy out his contract - offering Arum ``millions,'' the promoter said - but Arum didn't bite. He doesn't plan to let De La Hoya go so easily.

``I'm going to fight this tooth and nail,'' he said.

One, he said he never intended to push De La Hoya into retirement. He said he merely suggested he will support De La Hoya if the fighter decides to pursue his fledgling singing career full time.

And, two, he believes Espinoza's objection to the contract has no merit because it has been renegotiated more than once, most recently in June of 1997.

``They had to find a scapegoat and the scapegoat is me,'' said Arum, referring to the fact De La Hoya has lost his last two big fights and some of his earning power. ``Oscar has a character flaw: He has no loyalty. He does everything for convenience without taking responsibility for himself.''

Arum said failed negotiations for a rematch with Shane Mosley - who outpointed De La Hoya in June - are at least partly responsible for the fighter's actions.

De La Hoya demanded at least $15 million for the rematch - the same amount he made in the first fight, even though he lost, Arum said. Arum offered to guarantee both fighters $10 million.

``It doesn't make sense,'' Arum said of De La Hoya's demands.

Arum didn't discount the possibility the two sides could resolve their differences and again work together, ``but there might not be as much affection as their was before.''

Mosley is caught in the crossfire. He and De La Hoya were negotiating to fight Jan. 20 and De La Hoya said he still hopes it will happen.

However, it doesn't seem possible until his dispute with Arum is settled because they are part of a three-way contract with HBO. De La Hoya can't fight on HBO without Arum or on a rival network as long as the contract remains valid or all sides agree.

As a result, Mosley probably will fight Arturo Gatti on Dec. 16 at Madison Square Garden.

``That's what it looks like,'' said Norman Horton, Mosley's publicist.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 30, 2000
Words:538
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