Boxing


Why De La Hoya Won't Win On Cinco de Mayo

07.04.07 - By John Howard: While writing this article I feel what Judas must have felt like after betraying Jesus. I like Oscar. I feel he's a positive in a sport that's lacked some positives throughout its history. He's the epitome of what a role model should be. From the very beginning when he promised to win an Olympic gold medal for his dying mother, a star was born. There's no doubt a movie will be made about his life and Oscar will play the lead role. Who else could they get to fill his shoes? His fights have generated almost a half-billion dollars in sales alone. He's the only fighter in the history of the sport of boxing to win a world title in six different weight classes! But on May 5, 2007, I feel the Golden Boy's star will become tarnished like some cheap metal alloy..

There's a younger, much faster, extremely arrogant, more baby-faced kid in town. He's been given the nick-name "Pretty Boy" and it fits perfectly. He was given that name by his amateur teammates because his face never had cuts or bruises after fights.

He was well schooled by his father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., and his uncle and current trainer Roger Mayweather. He's undefeated since making his pro debut on October 11, 1996, with a record of 37-0 (24 KO's). Mayweather has held boxing titles in four different weight classes from Super Featherweight to Welterweight. I've followed the sport since the '71 "Fight of the Century" and I've yet to see anyone with faster hands or better movement than Mayweather. He's consistently ranked by The Ring magazine as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

To prove my point, I'm consulting with the experts. I've chosen to break down this fight by experience, size factor, and how the styles of these two fighters will come into play. After all, styles do make fights. Let's examine these categories.

Experience:

De La Hoya has more experience, right? Fight commentator Larry Merchant has described experience as "over-rated" and I couldn't agree more. Leon Spinks won the Heavyweight boxing Championship in '78 in only his eighth pro fight! This win was over the experienced Muhammad Ali. Julio Cesar Chavez was 97-1-1 when he fought De La Hoya in '96. You know the outcome. Captain Edward John Smith had 25 years of experience and had been in command of six previous ships before his ill-fated voyage with the Titanic in 1912. Experience won't be a factor that will determine the outcome of this fight. When experience is sold to us fight fans, it usually means a washed-up, over-the-hill fighter.

Size Factor:

Both De La Hoya and Mayweather took part in a mandatory WBC 30 day safety weight check-in from their respective training camps. De La Hoya weighed-in at 164.5 pounds versus Mayweather's 152 pounds. So, De La Hoya is bigger and stronger, right? I sent this information to Robert Ferguson (nutritionist and conditioning coach for Fernando Vargas) and asked him the following questions:

De La Hoya weighed in at 164.5 lbs 30 days before the fight that's contracted at 154 lbs. Do you think that's a bit heavy for him at this point?

Not really. I figure he is about 168. What they are doing is keeping his weight up so that he can use his strength against Mayweather Jr. Not a good idea and I would go on the record for my reasons why. As well, what many people don't realize is that Mayweather Jr. is actually bigger than De La Hoya because he carries more lean muscle tissue and this will prove beneficial for Mayweather Jr. and not De La Hoya.

You mentioned they are keeping his weight up so he can use his strength against Mayweather. You don't think that's a good idea? Why not?

De La Hoya would do best to train as he has always trained. Get to weight as soon as possible and avoid putting too much focus on wanting to be the stronger of the two.

Won't keeping De La Hoya's weight up and then losing the excess weight in say the last 10-15 days of training camp zap his strength?

When you drop that much weight in a short amount of time you are susceptible to reduced strength and energy in the later rounds. De La Hoya always fades in the later rounds and part of that reason is because he doesn't restore nutrients properly following his weigh-in. The big mistake he is going to make is weighing 6 to 10 pounds more the day of the fight compared to his weigh-in at 154.

What about the old boxing adage, "A good big man beats a good little man every time."

That is without question not true. Tyson was rarely the bigger guy, but if we tested his body fat percentage we would have learned that he had more lean muscle tissue than his heavier opponents. Mayweather Jr. has more lean muscle tissue than De La Hoya. So in truth Mayweather is actually bigger than De La Hoya when you strip away the body fat.

Any problems with Mayweather already two pounds under the weight limit?

The smartest thing Mayweather could do is simply train and not worry about his weight. If I were working with Mayweather, I would have him weigh in at about 150 pounds and fight the following day at 150 pounds. If Mayweather works too hard to keep his weight up, he will be doing himself a disservice when he enters the ring.

Styles:

My third factor involves styles. I proposed this question to the people who run the most respected boxing handicapping team in the business (KOBoxingPics.com). Their team of experts include Jeff Mayweather, Skip "Saigon" Kelp, Lee Bates, John Madonia and Jose' Gonzalez. They make a living on picking the winners. If they don't pick the correct winners -they don't eat. Jose' Gonzalez is best known for having one of the world's largest fight collections and is a former UNLV National Collegiate Boxing Champion. He gave me this quote about the match-up of styles:

" Regarding the DLH/Mayweather bout, I think DLH would win if he were a different fighter. You have to use your advantage to the maximum but DLH is rather hard-headed, or perhaps it just isn't his style. He doesn't like to get hit with punches as much as Mayweather does and that will be his kryptonite. If DLH came in to the bout with a mentality that he is going to walk through Mayweather and take 3 punches for every 1 punch that he lands, I think he could wear out Mayweather and eventually create him to get off his toes and fight. However, DLH is using this strategy of being economical with his punches and has the fear of gassing out late in the back of his mind. That strategy won't cut it. To win this bout you have to make your opponent as uncomfortable as possible and Mayweather will totally love DLH's economical approach throughout the fight."

What fighter would have done well against Mayweather?

Roberto Duran at 135 lbs would have mauled Mayweather and took 5 punches to land 1 until he got Mayweather out of there.

Final Thoughts:

Since '03, DLH's record is 2-2. If not for the controversial win over Felix Sturm, his record would be 1-3. That, and the fact that he fights so seldom, does not make him a good pick over the younger, faster, more active Mayweather.

While discussing this fight with boxing fans, the Meldrick Taylor/Julio Cesar Chavez fight has been brought up as to what some perceive resembles the two combatants styles. If so, I feel it's a long-shot for DLH to catch Mayweather clean with any punch that Chavez caught Taylor with in their bout back in '90. Definitely don't bet on it!

Article posted on 08.04.2007



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