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NOTES: LIFE WITH FATHER NOT SO EASY.

Byline: Michael Rosenthal Staff Writer

Oscar De La Hoya has received many rewards for his success in the ring: money, fame and gratification, to name a few.

One he hasn't received hits closer to home: the praise of his father, Joel De La Hoya Sr.

Obviously, this is important to De La Hoya, whose mother died shortly before his gold-medal run in the 1992 Olympics. Joel Sr. is his son's closest adviser for a reason: De La Hoya loves and respects his father deeply.

De La Hoya said on national television that nothing - not even another world title - would mean more to him than his father's approval.

At the same time, life with dad isn't always easy. Joel Sr., once a fighter himself, is tough. De La Hoya described him this way: ``He's a Mexican father. He has a big ego. He won't tell me (he's proud of me). One day he will.''

Indeed, Joel Sr. is quick to display his displeasure but has yet to provide positive reinforcement. Take the aftermath of the Ike Quartey fight in February, one of De La Hoya's proudest moments as he knocked down his challenger in the 12th and final round to retain his championship.

Joel Sr.'s reaction?

``He was mad,'' De La Hoya said. ``He said I didn't put enough pressure on him, I shouldn't have given him so much respect. He was right.''

Still, De La Hoya is grateful he isn't in the shoes of his opponent for Saturday, Felix Trinidad, who is trained by his father. De La Hoya is trained by Robert Alcazar.

Joel Sr. spent a total of about three weeks at his son's three-month Big Bear training camp to keep an eye on things after what he perceived as a near disaster against Quartey. That was plenty of time for De La Hoya, who doesn't need that kind of pressure on a regular basis.

``I can't imagine how it is,'' De La Hoya said. ``. . . If my father came every day, I would be annoyed. I really would.''

He does need that praise, though.

De La Hoya said publicly that he hopes it comes if he beats Trinidad. What better time than after what might be the defining moment in a great career?

It ain't gonna happen.

Joel Sr. said he doesn't withhold praise because he has difficulty expressing his feelings. He does it as one way to keep his son motivated. Constant pursuit of a father's approval creates a beneficial edge, he reasons.

One day he'll tell his son exactly how he feels.

``After his career is over, we'll get drunk and hug and cry,'' Joel Sr. said. ``For now, I want to keep him motivated. That's what it's all about.''

Call it tough love.

No big bet: Don King, Trinidad's promoter, offered at Wednesday's news conference to bet Bob Arum, De La Hoya's promoter, $1 million on the fight.

Arum, angered by the suggestion, would have none of it.

``I think it's totally inappropriate for managers or promoters to bet on fights,'' he said. ``In 35 years, I've never bet on a boxing match. Anyone on my staff who would bet on boxing would be fired.

``You have to understand (Don), in putting Trinidad in the ring with Oscar De La Hoya, you're risking a lot more than $1 million.''

Arum had better hope that De La Hoya understands why his promoter wouldn't back him with a measly million.

Annoyed: No one is more fed up with the boasts of Trinidad and his father than veteran trainer Gil Clancy, who works with Alcazar.

When it was time for him to step to the podium at the news conference, after Trinidad reiterated all the horrible things he would do to De La Hoya, Clancy said simply: ``All I can say is, if this was a talking contest, we'd lose. We'll see you on Saturday in the arena.''

However, at an earlier gathering of reporters, Clancy did his own boasting.

Asked why he believes De La Hoya will win, Clancy said: ``He has faster hand speed, faster foot speed, more power, a better chin, he's fought better fighters and he's better in the clutch. How's that?''

Judging the judges: No one in Trinidad's camp seems to be overly concerned about judging in what is perceived as a home-field advantage for De La Hoya.

In good part, that's the result of the Nevada State Athletic Commission's reputation. Nevada officials assured Trinidad and Co. there would be no bias.

``To tell you the truth, it ain't gonna go the distance. The judges are in his hands,'' King said, pointing at Trinidad's fists.

Staples date: Arum reiterated that he has a Dec. 11 date at the new Staples Center, where De La Hoya is expected to challenge WBC super welterweight champion Francisco Castillejo if he wins on Saturday.

CAPTION(S):

photo

PHOTO Oscar De La Hoya, shown in May after defeating Oba Carr, said nothing would mean more to him than his father's approval.

Eric Draper/Associated Press
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Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 16, 1999
Words:838
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