Boxing: Chavez talks a good fight

THE HYPE machine was in full flow yesterday as tonight's confrontation in Las Vegas between Julio Cesar Chavez and Oscar De La Hoya loomed.

"He made up excuses after he lost to me the first time," De La Hoya said. "If he was a real man he would admit he lost and he still refuses to do so."

Two years after De La Hoya stopped a bloodied Chavez in the fourth round of their junior welterweight title fight, the champion is still waiting for Chavez to admit he was the better man that night.

"It's been in my mind for a long time," De La Hoya said. "I don't think about it every single day but I do think about it. I start thinking: let's have a rematch and we'll settle it."

Chavez has done little to earn a second shot against De La Hoya, other than to remain an irritant to the champion. But he still sells tickets, and he also has a storyline to sell in what figures to be his last hurrah at 36.

Though he didn't make it even a third of the way through their first fight, Chavez insists the result would have been different if he were not cut in the first round and could not see with blood flowing into his eyes.

"How am I supposed to give him respect if I was cut?" Chavez asks. "It doesn't make sense. I didn't give him any respect because he didn't earn it."

Herbie Hide will heighten his demands for a fight with Lennox Lewis after the pair have fought on opposite sides of the Atlantic on Saturday week.

Hide, who defends his WBO heavyweight title against Willi Fischer in Norwich, insists that a contest between him and Lewis is one the heavyweight division needs - but first Lewis must overcome Croatian Zeljko Mavrovic in Connecticut six hours later.

"On Saturday night the public will get a chance to compare both boxers," said Hide. "And then after Saturday the serious business can get underway."

Hide's promoter Frank Warren says he will take the fight "at the drop of a hat" and is confident the outcome would be in his man's favour. But Lewis' promoter Frank Maloney gave Hide's claims typically short shrift yesterday.

"The only one who wants the fight is Herbie Hide. Herbie Hide couldn't even sell out his front room," said Maloney.

"How can people compare the two fights on Saturday night? Lennox is fighting a tough guy while Hide is fighting a nobody who should not even be in the world rankings.

"I would say the chances of Lennox fighting Hide are very slim - and slim's out of town."

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