Boxing


Sharkie's Machine: "The Fight That Could Have Saved Boxing?"

mayweatherBy Frank Gonzalez Jr. - May 5th, 2007: WBC Super Welterweight Champion, Oscar de la Hoya (38-5, 30 KO's) lost a Split Decision and his Title to WBC Welterweight Champion, Floyd Mayweather Jr. (38-0, 24 KO's) Saturday night in Las Vegas. It was a good, close fight and the two under card bouts were competitive and entertaining. Was it worth $55 bucks? That's for you to decide.

Floyd's hand speed, accuracy and defense proved a winning formula over Oscar's inspired, yet at times, inconsistent performance. When Oscar used his jab, he was effective and able to keep Floyd on the defensive. But for whatever reason, DLH did not use his jab enough. In some rounds, he rarely threw it. Arguments can be made that DLH outworked FMJ and that he had Mayweather going backwards most of the fight. Mayweather appeared to land at a higher connect percentage, mostly from superior counter punching.

Neither man ever hurt the other in this fight. There were no knockdowns and no staggering blows. It boiled down to a battle of technical skills, for which Floyd had the edge.

The Fight:

Round 1
After a short feel out process of about 20 seconds, FMJ landed the first meaningful punch, a right to the face. DLH pressed intensely and landed a low blow. Kenny Bayless paused the action to tell Oscar it was low. FMJ jumped in and out and landed some shots that scored cleanly. 10-9 FMJ.

Round 2
DLH pressed the action, bullied his way in and landed some good shots. FMJ worked his jab and scored in spots. Oscar's pressure neutralized Floyd's repertoire enough to win the round. 10-9 DLH.

Round 3
DLH's pressure kept Mayweather busy on defense. FMJ did land some clean shots at a high percentage but DLH was busier. From the cheap seats, it must've looked like DLH was putting a beating on Mayweather. When they got close, Oscar was able to neutralize Floyd's left hook and focus on bodywork well in this round. Oscar invested in the pressure offense and it was the right strategy. 10-9 DLH.

Round 4
DLH forced the action and landed frequently as Mayweather backed up into the ropes, popping his jab to ward DLH off. The momentum shifted when Floyd rolled off several clean punches. Eventually, DLH pinned FMJ on the ropes and unleashed a barrage of lefts to the body. Mayweather went back to going backwards. 10-9 DLH.

Round 5
They exchanged punches at center ring, lots of action, tit for tat. FMJ lands a nice right hand. Mayweather outboxes DLH, beating him to the punch, landing cleaner and blocking many of Oscar's punches. 10-9 FMJ.

Round 6
DLH chased FMJ around the ring, pressing the action. Mayweather landed some but Oscar blocked many of his shots. The pressure of DLH kept Floyd from establishing any kind of rhythm. Floyd threw a lot of wild punches that missed. Good round for Oscar. 10-9 DLH.

Round 7
Oscar began to use his jab and effectively controlled the action. Mayweather took control when DLH stopped jabbing. DLH started jabbing again and mounted a few good rallies. Both did well enough in spots to win the round. 10-10 Even.

Round 8
DLH pressed effectively and kept FMJ on the defensive, going backwards. Not a lot of combination punching by Mayweather. DLH pressed, attacked and was the busier fighter. DLH also showed some good defense and attacked effectively at the end of the round. 10-9 DLH.

Round 9
More of Mayweather going backwards on defense and Oscar outworking him. When DLH got FMJ on the ropes, he tripled up on his left hooks and threw punches with no regard for Mayweather's return. Though Floyd landed some decent shots, Oscar was making it a fight and landing decent shots. 10-9 DLH.

Round 10
DLH stopped jabbing and Mayweather took advantage with good counter shots when DLH rushed in. Floyd controlled the tenth round with accurate punching and better ring generalship. Floyd capped the round with a straight right into DLH's face. 10-9 FMJ.

Round 11
DLH looked tired and Mayweather controlled the action with quick, clean punches that didn't do damage but did score points. Floyd mostly hit Oscar without being hit. DLH landed a clean right hand, the best punch of the round, right before the bell. Good shot but hardly enough to carry the round. 10-9 FMJ.

Round 12
DLH came out very aggressive and landed some grazing shots. Mayweather also landed but his were cleaner punches. FMJ worked from the outside, popping his jabs and following up with combos. DLH unleashed flurries of punches whenever he pressed Floyd into the ropes. DLH was missing a lot and FMJ had a big edge in speed and stamina in the end. They traded shots until the bell rang, with Floyd getting the better shots off. 10-9 FMJ.

*

The Official Scores were 115-112 for DLH, 116-112 and 116-113 for FMJ. I had it 115-115.

During the post-fight interview, Floyd Mayweather Jr. emphasized the punch stat numbers to make the case for his victory. He said that Oscar was throwing a lot of punches that were missing. When asked about his pre fight claims that he was going to destroy Oscar, he just said it was a great fight and the fans got their money's worth. When asked if he really planned to retire after this fight, Floyd confirmed that those were his plans, saying that he has nothing left to prove.

There are some really good match ups out there for FMJ should he decide to continue fighting. I hope he does keep fighting. But maybe Floyd just wants to get out now and retire undefeated. Who knows?

I thought the fight was close enough to warrant a rematch. Does Floyd have enough money to walk away from boxing-while he's in his prime? Apparently, boxing is what Floyd was born to do. Retiring now would be a huge disappointment to his fans and would leave boxing short of one of its greatest fighters.

During his interview, Oscar De La Hoya said he felt he won the fight. He said he landed a lot of good shots that he knew had to hurt Floyd. He credited Floyd for being very fast. When asked about his future plans, he said he'd go watch the tapes of the fight and decide where he wants to go from there. He didn't look beaten; he had no swellings, cuts or bruises. With five losses on his pro record now, he still appears to have plenty left in him to continue fighting. He's had a tremendously successful career as a fighter and is on the path to becoming one of the biggest Promoters in the sport with his 'Golden Boy Productions' company. Whatever he decides, I wish him well.

This was definitely the toughest fight Floyd's ever been in. Had Oscar been more consistent with his jab, he probably would have beaten Mayweather, who showed vulnerability to Oscar's pressure. Applying constant pressure without always jabbing proved to be DLH's biggest mistake.

For an older fighter, Oscar did a lot better than I expected since anyone who keeps up with this sport knows that Oscar is near the end of his career and has succumbed to fatigue in the late rounds of some recent fights. At 30, Floyd is at the peak of his career and stamina was never an issue for him.

* *

There was a lot of talk about this being, "the fight that would save boxing." There's no way that a fight on Pay-Per-View at a cost of $55- could save boxing. It made a few people a lot richer-but it didn't invite the kind of interest in boxing that it would have generated had been on free television and available to all sports fans instead of just hard core fans willing to spend $55 bucks to see it.

If big fights were on PPV when I was growing up, I doubt I'd have ever been exposed to Ali vs. Frazier, Hagler vs. Hearns, Duran vs. Leonard and so on. What will save boxing is when we get legitimate rankings, uniform rules, unified Champions and start making the fights available to the future audience of the sport-young kids that might become tomorrows fighters, Champions, trainers, and most importantly, fight fans.

* * *

Comments can be emailed to dshark87@hotmail.com

Article posted on 05.05.2007



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