Forbes hopes bout is hit

Former Knott Street boxer will face legend Oscar De La Hoya
by: TIMOTHY CLARY, Former Portlander Steve Forbes (right) awaits the most lucrative fight of his career May 3 against Oscar De La Hoya.

HBO spent two days with Steve Forbes this week, getting videotape for a documentary that will debut April 19. The network was in Portland on Monday, securing footage with the trainers who worked with Forbes during his junior days — Lee Jenkins and Clayton Hires among them — at Knott Street Boxing Club. These are the kinds of things that happen when a bout with Oscar De La Hoya is on the horizon. “My life changed from doing ‘The Contender,’ ” says Forbes, the Grant High graduate who will fight De La Hoya in a 150-pound matchup May 3 at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles. “But this is 10 times that.” Forbes, 31, was runner-up on “The Contender II” in 2006 and is a former International Boxing Federation super featherweight champion. But the exposure he receives — not to mention the purse — for the De La Hoya fight dwarfs anything in his ring career. “I’ll make more money than I have combined in all my other fights,” says Forbes, who is 33-5 as a pro. “Since I started professional boxing, I’ve always dreamed of fighting in a huge fight. Eleven years later, finally.” De La Hoya, 35, signed for the fight as a tuneup for a September title rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr. Forbes sees himself as Rocky, ready to conquer the world. “I’m an underdog,” says Forbes, who left Portland for Las Vegas in 2004 and has lived in Detroit since 2006. “But the people who study boxing, they don’t see it like that. It’s the public, people who don’t really know, who feel that way. They know Oscar as a huge name. They look at this like it’s a tuneup fight. The hardcore boxing fan knows this is nowhere near that. “A lot of people think I can pull it off. I believe I can pull it off. It’s the first time in my career where I don’t have to feel any stress coming into a fight — not one bit.” The training situation for the nationally televised fight — to be held in the 32,000-seat outdoor stadium where Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy play — is oddly familial. Forbes is being trained by Roger Mayweather, Floyd Jr.’s uncle. De La Hoya is trained by Floyd Sr., Floyd Jr.’s father. Roger and Floyd Sr. are estranged brothers. Floyd Jr. also is estranged from his father. What’s more, Floyd Sr. used to train Forbes. “It’s like a circus,” Forbes says. Forbes — who earned a split-decision victory over Francisco Bojado in his last fight last October — is in his third week of training in Las Vegas. He knows he won’t be facing the vintage De La Hoya, and he doesn’t expect to be a foil. “I think he has a little left,” Forbes says. “He’s not the same fighter he was four or five years ago. In the last three years, he has fought twice. You can’t be sharp when you’re not active. “If there ever were a perfect time for me to make my name, this is it. I’m fighting a legend — the biggest name in boxing. “My wife (Valerie) and I have talked about bigger financial fights down the road, but there is no bigger name in boxing than Oscar De La Hoya. This is the biggest fight any fighter could ever have.” This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.