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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

De La Hoya Says Whitaker Hasn't Power to KO Him

LOS ANGELES -- Oscar De La Hoya, an astute student of his trade, believes he learned something recently by watching a tape of Pernell Whitaker's draw with Julio Cesar Chavez three years ago.


De La Hoya, concluding a barnstorming tour to drum up interest for his match against Whitaker, said, "I saw that Whitaker couldn't stop Chavez, so that shows that he doesn't have the power to knock me out."


Whitaker, who risks his WBC welterweight title against De La Hoya on Saturday night at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, has lost just once and had one draw in his 42 career fights. But he's won only 17 by knockout.


Only three of the unbeaten De La Hoya's 23 opponents have gone the distance. Chavez wasn't one of those, lasting just four rounds against him last June.


The 24-year-old De La Hoya, nine years younger than his foe, said he isn't taking the fight for granted.


"Whitaker's dangerous. I know he'll be in great shape. I've been training not for the Whitaker of today, but for the Whitaker of four or five years ago," said De La Hoya, who won an Olympic gold medal in 1992, eight years after Whitaker was an Olympic champion at the Los Angeles Games.


"I've trained hard, and I'm in the best shape of my life. I'm very focused," said De La Hoya, who is moving up from 63 kilograms to the 67-kilogram welterweight limit. "There's a huge difference at 147 pounds [67 kilograms]. When I fought Chavez and [Miguel Angel] Gonzalez at 140 [pounds], I felt strong, but I feel better than I ever have."


Whitaker, who joined Tuesday's press conference via phone from Las Vegas, derisively called De La Hoya "the kid."


"This is the best I've felt in seven years," said Whitaker, who fought his first pro fight in 1984, after winning at the Olympics. "The young kid has never seen anything like he's going to see Saturday night. This is not a rock concert, not a commercial."