De La Hoya/Mayweather: Some Thoughts About Saturday Night’s Superfight
08.05.07 - By John Hewson: As a starter, kudos go out to Max Kellerman for stepping up and countering Lampley's ridiculous statement that boxing at its best exhibits skills that MMA fighters just don't have. As soon as he said it, most fight fans must have seen it was just an absurd statement, and thankfully someone pointed it out rather than just it slide as if Lampley was dead-on. It's obvious that someone such as Floyd Mayweather or De La Hoya is gifted with boxing skills, that's why they are on top of their sport. Some MMA fighters are very adept with their fists as well, and their defensive abilities have to be just as strong as any boxer. Although we love boxing, we have to be objective enough to admit that MMA is simply a different genre of fighting, but the fighters are no less skilled than boxers..
Article posted on 08.05.2007
As for the fight itself, Mayweather is a little delusional to think it was a brilliant performance on his part. He looked good at times, but when Oscar pressed the action, Mayweather was ineffective despite Compubox numbers evidencing the accuracy of Floyd's modest attacks and counters.
Oscar's response that he couldn't get off his jab was a bogus explanation for his own ineffectiveness as the fight went on. He was exhausted as usual...bottomline. Rounds 8, 9, 10, and 11 were as ineffective and pathetic as we've seen Oscar in a fight (other than round 11 or 12 against Trinidad.) That being said, how Jerry Roth scored round 12 for Mayweather, I'll never know. How do these guys get judging gigs?
Granted, De La Hoya probably didn't deserve for the fight to be ruled a draw, but I wouldn't have thought anything was amiss if it had ended that way. Most of the early rounds were close and could have gone either way. I like Jerry Roth as a judge a lot, but I think he missed that 12th round.
Ultimately, did De La Hoya give other fighters a strategy for beating Floyd if they're 12-round fighters who can keep the pressure on for more than 30 seconds every round? Arturo Gatti couldn't do it, but as much of a warrior as Gatti is, Mayweather was just in a different league fighting in a lighter weight class where he has a little more power. But at 154 lbs., would Floyd be in over his head with a moderately quick guy with good power who can take some punches? De La Hoya did a very good job the other night but just tired down the stretch, as usual. Perhaps a Shane Mosley or even a Miguel Cotto could put enough pressure on Mayweather continuously to keep Floyd's hands at bay and not allow him to pick up rounds by simply being accurate.
Even watching the fight, I felt Oscar still had a chance on the cards. Now I might have been a little crazy but two things are always appear to show up when fights go to the scorecards...1) judges are always effected to some degree by a crowd that is so one-sided and 2) judges like to keep judging big fights – ergo, they don't want to piss off a big time promoter. Both of those were clearly in Oscar's favor the other night. And beyond that, I couldn't help remembering both De La Hoya-Mosley fights while I watched this fight, except De La Hoya played the role of “Sugar” Shane this time around. Remember, in both of their fights, Oscar was clearly the more accurate puncher and Compubox numbers proved that (as well as Lampley & Friends constantly reminding us.) In the end, because Shane had what looked like (and sounded like) the more effective, punishing shots, he won both fights by narrow decisions. I thought the same could be said for De La Hoya-Mayweather on Saturday night. Floyd was way more accurate, but I think he only hurt Oscar on a handful of occasions whereas Oscar definitely made Floyd grimace a few times with those body shots, especially in the early rounds. By round 5 or 6, I thought Floyd was being tentative because his facial expressions led me to believe he didn't like being hit. That had to count for something...which is why the one judge's scorecard in favor of Oscar didn't shock me (although I thought it was definitely misguided.)
Overall, I still felt it was a fantastic fight for boxing fans, but probably not one I'd like to see again. Mayweather isn't walking away from the sport, and frankly, I don't think De La Hoya is either. Based on Floyd’s persona and past, he could find himself in legal or financial troubles again if he actually retired and didn't have training to keep him away from the bad influences. De La Hoya always gets pulled back in because he's a fighter even more than he is a businessman (and he's still pretty good at both.)
On a side note: I definitely think it's time for boxing to get back to its roots in championship fights. Championship fights need to be 15 rounds. I understand the concerns and the public hatred of boxing looking like a "bloodsport," but with the amount of pre-fight physicals, brain scans, etc., that these guys go through, the time has come where it is as safe as it can be to allow these guys to go three more rounds to give the public a clear cut winner. Without 15 round fights, Sugar Ray Leonard never beats Tommy Hearns, and frankly, the fight probably isn't as memorable without it. Fighters nowadays can sleepwalk through 12 rounds without tiring greatly (even De La Hoya). It was always rounds 13, 14, and 15 that separated the legends and the legendary fights from the afterthoughts. Without those rounds, all it seems we have in the sport now are afterthoughts.
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