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De La Hoya To Host Fights on Fox

January 9, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ It’ll be Oscar De La Hoya vs. the Oscars on March 23 when the boxer plays host for a four-fight card on Fox Sports at the same time the Academy Awards are shown on ABC.

The only punches thrown by De La Hoya, the world welterweight champion, will be verbal. He’ll host and provide commentary along with sportscaster James Brown for the card at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.

``I’m excited because it’s something different for me,″ De La Hoya said at a news conference Friday. ``I enjoy analyzing other athletes and talking about them.″

Headlining the return of boxing to prime-time free television will be Yory Boy Campas of Mexico in defense of his IBF junior middleweight crown against Anthony Stephens of Metarie, La.

Campas (69-2 with 59 knockouts) won the 154-pound crown from Raul Marquez on Dec. 6. Stephens (29-8-2 with 17 knockouts) is the top-ranked contender.

Also on the card are 1996 Olympic bronze medalist Floyd Mayweather (12-0 with 10 knockouts), WIBF lightweight champion Lucia Rijker (9-0 with eight knockouts), and Eric ``Butterbean″ Esch (35-1-1 with 27 knockouts), who recently dabbled in a World Wrestling Federation exhibition.

De La Hoya has said he will defend his WBC welterweight title against the winner of the Campas-Stephens bout in June.

Before then, De La Hoya (27-0, 22 knockouts) is scheduled to defend his title Feb. 28 in Atlantic City against top-ranked Patrick Charpentier of France (26-4-1, 22 knockouts).

De La Hoya said he’ll get tips from other commentators, including boxer George Foreman, to prepare for his primetime debut.

He said he won’t be as critical as some analysts.

``I’m going to be more positive. Boxing needs commentators who are just trying to help the fighter out,″ he said.

``Instead of putting the fighter down, I’m going to be enhancing their images. I’m going to be telling the audience what kind of skills the fighter has and all the hard work he does just to fight that night.″

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