09/15/2003 12:00AM

De La Hoya upset about being upset


In a fight promoted as "Redemption," Oscar De La Hoya was looking to avenge a 2000 loss to Shane Mosley on Saturday night at the MGM Grand, but it could have been billed as "Replay."

De La Hoya controlled the early rounds but it was Mosley who dominated the latter part of the bout and won a unanimous decision to claim De La Hoya's WBA and WBC super welterweight belts. At least it was unanimous from the only three people that mattered when the fight went the 12-round distance. All three judges - Stanley Christodoulou, Duane Ford, and Anek Hongtongkam - scored it 115-113 for Mosley.

It was far from unanimous for the sellout crowd of 16,274, who booed the verdict. Of course, De La Hoya was the bigger draw (earning $17 million of the purse as a result vs. $4.5 million for Mosley) and was the crowd favorite. He was also the -250 favorite (risk $2.50 to win $1) in the wagering, though late money came in on Mosley at many books and drove the price down to -220. Bettors who cashed on Mosley received on average of around 2-1 odds, though some books dropped the odds to 9-5 late Saturday.

But while those bettors were obviously smiling, it certainly was not a popular decision with the losing camp. De La Hoya's reaction was reminiscent of the first meeting when De La Hoya also thought he should have won a split decision (and reminiscent, too, of De La Hoya's loss to Felix Trinidad in 1999)

De La Hoya and his promoter, Bob Arum, all but said "the fix was in" and called the judging into question. At the post-fight press conference, De La Hoya said he would appeal the decision to the Nevada Athletic Commission and launch an investigation.

"On Monday, I will put in a full investigation into what happened tonight," said De La Hoya, who plans on hiring lawyers to handle a probe. "I feel the decision should have gone to me. I'm not doing this because I'm a sore loser. I'm doing this for the sport of boxing, so it can stay alive. Over the years, we've seen a lot of bad decisions. It's time to put a stop to it for the sake of boxing. Boxing needs the truth. It's time to take a stand and I think I'm the one to do it. I have the resources to do it."

De La Hoya and Arum have both become very rich from the sport and can certainly afford any investigation, but neither could give specific reasons why they felt there would some kind of conspiracy against one of boxing's most popular fighters and a man who has promoted many great events (and lives in Las Vegas, to boot).

As of 10:30 a.m. Monday, no appeal had been filed with the Nevada Athletic Commission.

"We haven't received an appeal and the only thing I've heard is what I've read in the papers," commission executive director Marc Ratner said from his office Monday. "It was a very close fight. In Racing Form terms, the stewards ruled that Mosley won by a nose. It's a judgment call and there's really nothing to appeal."

While De La Hoya found the bitter loss hard to swallow, Arum acted even more upset. He spewed the venom when opening the post-fight press conference.

"Press conferences are always good because they embellish a sewer sport," he said. "I'm going to say what I have to say. They can say I'm a sore loser, but they're not going to see my [expletive] around any more."

Arum was even more vocal in interviews with reporters before the press conference.

A sampling:

"Something is fishy with this decision. I feel bad for Oscar because I feel this was done to get me."

"John McCain is right. Betting is a cancer on the game. We really have to look at having fights where people can bet."

When asked if De La Hoya would retire as he promised to do if he lost, Arum said: "He should retire. I should retire. Who wants to take part in this nonsense?"

Arum, 71, said he will work on some of his current projects but will retire at the end of the year.

Retirements are often not permanent in boxing history (see George Foreman, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, etc.), so we will have to see what happens.

As for the controversial decision, you can judge for yourself when HBO reruns the fight on Saturday night.

Early money on Purdue over Arizona

I haven't forgotten about football. The Stardust posted on Sunday night the opening numbers for this weekend's games and saw brisk action as 16 college lines moved.

The biggest move was in the Arizona-Purdue game. The Boilermakers opened as a 21-point favorite and were bet up to 22 1/2 within a few minutes and then quickly raised to 24. The rest of the moves were only adjusted one time.

There wasn't as much action on the NFL games. The Vikings vs. the Lions and Giants vs. Redskins games were off the board because the Vikes and Giants were playing on Sunday and Monday night, respectively, and the Steelers-Bengals, Saints-Titans and Raiders-Broncos games weren't up because of injuries to Corey Dillon, Steve McNair, and Jake Plummer. With the Bears, Cowboys, Panthers, and Eagles on a bye week, only nine NFL games were available for wagering.

The Seahawks opened as a 3-point favorite over the Rams and early money moved it to Seahawks -3 (-120), meaning bettor then had to bet $1.20 to win $1 on the Seahawks instead of the standard -110). The 49ers were bet from a 7-point favorite up to 7 1/2 vs. the Browns. The Bills were backed in the Sunday night game, opening at +3 1/2 and having the line lowered to +3 (even money), with Dolphins bettors laying -120.

The only NFL total to move was on the Packers-Cardinals game. It opened at 44 and was bet down to 43.