De La Hoya lines up next bout

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The Independent Online

American Oscar "Golden Boy" de la Hoya will return to the ring, following the first defeat of his professional career in September, on February 26 at Madison Square Garden for a welterweight contest with the WBC's top-ranked fighter Derrell Coley.

American Oscar "Golden Boy" de la Hoya will return to the ring, following the first defeat of his professional career in September, on February 26 at Madison Square Garden for a welterweight contest with the WBC's top-ranked fighter Derrell Coley.

De la Hoya is still smarting from the loss to Puerto Rican Felix Trinidad and declared that he had refused to dump the bout with 29-year-old Coley, who has a record of 34 wins, 24 inside the distance, one loss and two draws, for a rematch with Trinidad.

The 26-year-old, who is 31-1 with 25 knockouts, lost on a majority decision to Trinidad on September 18 in Las Vegas for his first loss in a carefully crafted seven year professional career.

The February 26 bout will mark de la Hoya's first trip back to the "Big Apple" in over four years, where he crushed James Leija in December of 1995 in front of 16,000 fans.

De la Hoya, who had been accused before the Trinidad fight of avoiding his major rival, was still moaning about the defeat.

"It was very difficult to accept that loss. Every time I watch that fight, I give myself another round," de La Hoya said.

"I demanded a rematch right away. We offered them 20 million dollars. But they wanted to make me wait because they think they have all the power in the world now. That's just ignorance on their part," he added.

Trinidad was supposed to fight David Reid next but that bout has been postponed.

"Now they don't know where to go. They want me to break my fight with Coley. I don't need Trinidad. I'm not going to change my schedule for him", said De la Hoya.

De la Hoya, who won Olympic gold in 1992, is apparently eyeing boxers like Americans Shane Mosley, Vernon Forrest or even Ghana's Ike Quartey for a rematch.

But the native of East Los Angeles didn't totally rule out a possible rematch with Trinidad.

"If they still want me to fight, it will be in June (the next available date in De La Hoya's schedule). If they don't I'll move on."

The boxers' two promoters, Bob Arum for De La Hoya and Don King for Trinidad, are expected to resume negotiations this week in New York to come up with an agreement.

"If I fight him two years down the road, Ill be happy because he is bashing me now making his name bigger than it is", de La Hoya said.

"I've totally changed my way of training and of thinking. When I stepped in the ring with Trinidad, I was in a comfort zone, staying on my toes all the time.

"I was confident and was having fun, too much maybe. It backfired on me. I just have to go out there, and just box," he added.

De La Hoya, who has modelled in the past, is currently recording an album in Miami and said, modest as ever: "I didn't know I could sing that well."

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