Oscar De La Hoya was presented the WBC welterweight championship belt he lost to Felix Trinidad, but he wasn't completely ready to take it back.
"On June 17, this belt goes along with the title," De La Hoya said Monday at a news conference. "The best man will win it."
De La Hoya will defend the WBC title against unbeaten Shane Mosley at the Staples Center on June 17.
Trinidad won a decision over De La Hoya for the WBC welterweight title last Sept. 18, but Trinidad moved up to super welterweight and the WBC stripped him of the title and gave it to De La Hoya after he beat Derrell Coley last month.
Mauricio Sulaiman, son of WBC president Jose Sulaiman, presented the belt to De La Hoya at the Staples Center news conference.
Smiling, De La Hoya and Mosley staged a playful tug-of-war over the belt.
"I'm ready to go on and take the WBC belt away from Oscar," said Mosley, 34-0, with 32 knockouts. "That belt right there is mine."
The two natives of the Los Angeles area have fought before, meeting in the junior Golden Gloves several times when they were around 10 or 11 years old. No one seems to know how many times they were matched as youths, although one longtime boxing observer said Mosley beat De La Hoya each time.
De La Hoya said he had no recollection of the bouts.
Mosley, whose $4.5 million plus a percentage of pay-per-view will be his largest paycheck, thanked De La Hoya.
"A lot of people said he wouldn't fight me, that he would move up or something," Mosley said. "But he proved he wanted to take this fight, and I thank him for that."
De La Hoya, 32-1 with 26 knockouts, will get $8 million plus a percentage from TV.
He said he's not the same fighter who lost to Trinidad. De La Hoya built a lead, but danced and didn't throw enough punches in the later rounds, with Trinidad getting the decision.
"At 12:01 of the new century, I thought, `Hey, what were you doing? Wake up and smell the coffee and fight the way you used to fight," De La Hoya said.
"I'm going to stick to my game plan (against Mosley), just keep going straight ahead."
De La Hoya knocked out Coley in seven rounds in his only fight since going against Trinidad.
California's 5 percent tax on boxing and wrestling shows would mean a bill of $400,000 for a sellout crowd of 20,000 at the arena, in addition to $240,000 for the city tax. Staples officials are seeking a state tax cap of $50,000 on the fight, such as the cap in place in New York.
"Nothing has happened on that yet, but we are working with (state Assembly Speaker) Antonio Villaraigosa," Staples Center president Tim Leiweke said.
The arena has guaranteed promoter Bob Arum an estimated $5 million for the fight. Leiweke said the arena also will help provide the extra tax money if the state doesn't agree to a cap.
©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
© 2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.