De La Hoya certainly has a chance!
27.04.07 - By Geoffrey Ciani: When I browsed through ESB’s headlines this morning, I was surprised to see the article penned by my colleague, Wray Edwards. The title of his piece was “De La Hoya Has No Chance”. With all due respect to Mr. Edwards (who’s both an outstanding writer and an excellent photographer), I disagree.
Article posted on 27.04.2007
Contrary to the opinion of my colleague, I believe that De La Hoya does have a chance against Mayweather. In fact, I think he has a pretty good chance for a multitude of reasons. That’s what made this fight so intriguing to me since it was first announced late last year. Mayweather is naturally more gifted and younger whereas De La Hoya is naturally bigger and has more big fight experience.
As things stand right now, there’s no doubt Floyd Mayweather Junior is the more talented boxer. He is the sport’s pound-for-pound king and has been for sometime. That’s what makes the sport so interesting—you can never tell how things will unfold, and sometimes, because of an off-night or a bad match-up in styles, the more talented fighter loses.
It’s true that Oscar has just won two of his past four fights, and it’s also true that his decision against Sturm was highly controversial. Even still, it’s fair to note that two of those fights were at middleweight—a division Oscar had no business fighting at in the first place. Furthermore, one of those bouts was against the ageless wonder, Bernard Hopkins—a foe who was too big, too strong, and too talented for De La Hoya.
I think a more pressing issue for De La Hoya is that he hasn’t been very active in recent years. After losing to Hopkins, he took all of 2005 off then fought just once in 2006, when he outclassed Ricardo Mayorga. Mayorga is hardly an elite fighter, so based on that, it is very difficult to gauge how much De La Hoya has left in the tank. To be sure, he looked good against Mayorga, but then again, so did Felix Trinidad. When Trinidad followed up against an elite boxer, Winky Wright, he was thoroughly outclassed.
Will De La Hoya follow the same blue print, dominating Mayorga only to be outclassed when following up against an elite talent? We shall find out soon enough, but at the very least, I’m convinced De La Hoya will make a better showing of himself against Mayweather than Trinidad did against Wright.
Wray Edwards believes that “De La Hoya’s only chance will be to KO Floyd”; this is our main point of disagreement—I don’t believe De La Hoya necessarily needs a knockout to win. I believe there are other ways he could obtain victory. In fact, I think De La Hoya has a good chance at squeaking out a decision, even though that goes against conventional wisdom.
As I stated earlier, Bernard Hopkins was all wrong for De La Hoya—he was too big, too strong, and too talented. Like Hopkins, Mayweather is certainly more talented than Oscar, and I don’t think anyone would debate that point, but it’s important to remember De La Hoya is also naturally bigger and stronger than Mayweather.
This will be Mayweather’s first fight at 154; not only that, but he only had three fights at 147 and did not even face the best that division had to offer. On the other hand, this will be De La Hoya’s sixth fight in the weight class, and he’s additionally had two fights at 160.
Perhaps the size difference won’t be a huge factor, but something about Mayweather’s bout with Zab Judah leads me to believe it might be. Early on, Judah tagged Mayweather with some nice shots that seemed to hurt his smaller opponent. Judah’s quickness helped nullify Mayweather’s speed and enabled him to land some big punches. Unfortunately for Judah he is not an intelligent fighter; in fact, he’s a stupid fighter incapable of changing tactics midway through a fight. Conversely, Mayweather is an extremely intelligent fighter, who made adjustments and began taking Judah to school while Judah continued employing the same tactics that brought him early success.
De La Hoya is a much smarter fighter than Zab Judah. If De La Hoya manages to stung Mayweather the way Judah did, will Oscar make the same mistake and let him off the hook?
In the end, I think the real key to this bout is whether or not De La Hoya can hurt Floyd early-on. If he can, he may be able to steal enough rounds to pull off the upset. Of course, a knockout would be preferable from Oscar’s standpoint, but what’s most important is for him to hurt Floyd and make him respect his power. Of course, when I say “hurt Floyd early”, it doesn’t even necessarily have to be from a big punch; Mayweather is known to have very brittle little hands. Oscar, being the master negotiator he is, ensured that both fighters would be wearing puncher’s gloves.
This is a bout that could go either way and I really have no idea how things will play out. If De La Hoya cannot hurt Mayweather early, I suspect he will get outclassed. Even if De La Hoya manages to keep it competitive early-on, if he cannot hurt Mayweather, he’s going to run out of gas. Oscar is known for getting very tired in the later rounds, and if it’s an even fight at the midway point, expect Floyd to coast in the second half.
Whatever happens in the fight, there’s one aspect where I do concur with Mr. Edwards 100%—this will probably be the most advertised boxing event in history. As such, let’s hope they put on a good show—for the sake of the sport!
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