Just As I Predicted, "De La Hoya Had No Chance", It Was Obvious From Day One
By Wray Edwards: Lampley must have read my projection that Floyd would play "the matador to Oscar's bull" or perhaps "great minds think alike". In a laughable display of highschoolish, amateur windmill flurries, Oscar De La Hoya attempted to busy himself to a decision victory. DLH would bulldoze Mayweather to the ropes and proceed to flail away with extremely humorous body shot attempts, including an occasional forearm and elbow thrown in for good measure. During these crowd-pleasing absurdities, Floyd often looked exactly like Ali V George in Zaire when he leaned on the ropes with his right guard up and his left across his body.
Article posted on 04.05.2007
I attempted to score this fight as one might if they were impressed by Oscar's hyperactive, but generally ineffective scramble cuffing. Opposite Oscar's schoolyard antics, Mayweather used his one punch and retreat method about 75% of the time while mixing in occasional combinations, all of which were more than twice as accurate in both landed and power shot categories. By forcing myself to give credit for Oscar's work rate, whether his punches were landed or not, I came up with the same 115/113 result as did the two deciding judges. Here is the scoring which resulted from allowing Oscar's slap shots to count:
ROUND>1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 < ROUND
PBF: 10 9 10 9 10 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 = 115
DLH: 9 10 9 10 9 10 10 10 9 9 9 9 = 113
Obviously, the judges took the bait…especially the one who scored it 116-112 for De La Hoya. That score was so outrageous that I checked to see if he was also on the De La Hoya-Sturm jury…NOT…but he sure could have been. If the scoring had been extracted from the punch stats (43% to 21% landed, and 57% to 24% power shots) a final result of more like 118-110 would have been more like it. One would be hard pressed to find a match where the judge's scores were so radically out of sink with the punch stats…where the subjective results were so vastly different from the objective reality.
Floyd spent a good deal of time dancing to his left (also as I predicted) to prevent Oscar's relentless attempts to drive Mayweather to the ropes for yet another childish brawl. Oscar, for some reason, eschewed the jab most of the night, which was a grave mistake as it is the key to his success, especially ring center. As a result of Oscar's missing jab, Floyd was able to spend just enough time making classical contact and demonstrating his Boxing skills to win the contest. The style mix in this fight was awkward to say the least. Though determined and very well conditioned (he did not fade as some had predicted) Oscar's unruly approach did not mesh well with Floyd's boxing style.
In fact, the contrast was so obvious as a classical boxer attempted to hit and not be hit, while being boorishly pursued by a puncher. From that perspective the fight was a mismatch. Though Oscar made like a boxer from time-to-time when he used the jab, and was able to pretty much hold his own during those few instances, he mostly reverted to tromping around the ring trying to trap Mayweather into fighting inside brawls.
The appearance of the fight to casual fans was probably not as entertaining as it might have been. Here we had a boxer looking to score points with skill and grace, matched with a slugger looking to score a KO. It was a relaxed, mature, cool-headed professional in full possession of his skills, confronting a tense, focused mauler on a search and destroy mission. De La Hoya was lobbing clumsy dumb bombs while being hit with laser guided stingers. He even tried end-of-the-round flurries attempting to steal a frame or two…a bogus and juvenile tactic…though seemingly effective with one of the judges.
Floyd never appeared to have been hurt and seemed frustrated with the chaotic, random De La Hoya effort as Oscar herkey-jerked his frontal assaults around the ring. Floyd actually seemed displeased by Oscar's off-balance pursuits and often seemed amused by De La Hoya's ineffective outbursts.
Post fight Floyd allowed as how he would retire and "Move on to bigger and better things" to include his kids and family. He said he had nothing left to prove. Oscar said that "This was just not a night for the jab" when asked why he did not use it. "I don't know." There was one statement by Oscar which went like, "I love boxing!" He truly must, and so do I. Even though he lost his belt, his love of the sport and positive attitude do him credit. There is so much more he has to offer in the realms of promotion and management that he should be around for a long time.
As for the mega-hype leading up to this contest, the result was not as exciting as the previews probably led one to expect. For serious boxing fans this fight was run-of-the-mill and not much better than the two prelims which also went the distance. The star power was greater but the fight was not. The previews showed both boxers throwing massive, devastating KO punches at the likes of Mayorga, Gatti and others.
Perhaps the new and casual fans who witnessed the contest were impressed and pleased. Even for a life-long fan such as myself there was a certain extra amount of expectation because of the hype. We are, after all, only human, and when the town crier rings his bell and calls all to a unique and exciting event, we can't but hope that we will see another Castillo/Corrales, Elder/Berton, or Hagler/hearns.
Then again, thankfully, there was not an abbreviated early KO which left all yearning for more. It was a so-so fight and the right guy was selected as victor amid dismay regarding the split decision. Fittingly, as the fighters were mismatched, so were the judges thus leading to an awkward result in and out of the ring.
ESB will be ringside at the Seminole Hard Rock Live in Miami, Florida to cover all the action of the title eliminator between Glencoffe Johnson and Montel Griffin on Wednesday May 16th. See you at the fights.
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