Boxing


(Yawn) De La Hoya fights in May against…ZZZzzzzz

12.11.07 - By Jason Peck: What is a super-fight, you may ask? Simple. It’s an overly-hyped sparring session with a name more suited for a shitty, straight-to-video action flick (Klitschko-Rahman: Search and Destroy, Judah-Mayweather: Sworn Enemies, Dixon-Balboa: Skill vs. Will, etc.), name recognition as the selling point, far too much press coverage and – more often than not – an unsatisfying end that detracts from fights with actual potential..

oscar de la hoya I checked Boxrec the other day, and found an unpleasant surprise. Oscar De La Hoya – who ignored my urgent pleas to retire after 12 rounds of mind-numbing mediocrity against Floyd Mayweather – will fight against an unnamed opponent in May, probably the winner of Mayweather-Hatton

Prepare to crap your pants, fight fans, here we go again. Like Santa Claus, Oscar returns but once a year – but charges more than $50 for his coal.

The whole process is downright monotonous. First Oscar labors over his future, teasing the media with clues and guesses. The sporting press crowds around him like he’s ready to issue a papal bull. Then he picks one, making sure that mainstream sports fans such as Max Kellerman could recognize the name, if asked (Sorry, Roman Karmazin).

The promoters name the fight shortly after (like Mayorga-De la Hoya: Danger Zone). For months on end, they build expectations for a fight that could never match them. Boxing publications jump on the bandwagon; for months they ignore more meaningful fights. HBO hosts a countdown. Even Sports Illustrated takes notice.

Then we get to the fight itself, and you can feel the hype electrifying the air. But nine times of 10, the fight falls far short of its promises. And more often than not, you just blew big bucks for the Pay-Per-View.

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but I think a warning is necessary before another round of Oscar frenzy. If he fights again, the promoters will convince the public that the Golden Boy remains a serious threat to the A-list fighters. Never mind his 2-3 record in his past five fights and obvious weight limitations – he’s a deadly fighter with more facets than the Hope Diamond and more power than a locomotive. He’s a master tactician like Hopkins, a murderous puncher like Tyson, tough as Tex Cobb and fast like the Flash.

But Oscar hasn't won a significant match since 2002, when he used superior conditioning and boxing savvy to turn the tide and dispose of a prime Fernando Vargas in the late rounds. Since then, Oscar’s record hasn’t matched the elite fighter he’s supposed to be.

De La Hoya followed the Vargas victory by beating the hopeless Luis Ramon Campas in seven rounds. Then he lost to Sugar Shane Mosley in September 2003. From here his fortunes began petering out.

Moving up to middleweight, De La Hoya lost badly to Felix Sturm for the WBO middleweight title, but received one of the most embarrassing gift decisions in history. That should have proved he didn’t belong at 160 pounds, but both fans and promoters gritted their teeth and force-forgot the inconvenient truth. Somehow, they convinced the public that – despite the Sturm debacle – Oscar could handle a far superior middleweight in undisputed champ Bernard Hopkins, who hadn’t lost a fight in a decade.

But Oscar can't – down he goes via body shot in Round Nine. The win catapulted Hopkins to superstar status, despite Hopkins’s previous wins over more dangerous (but less popular) middleweights.

Then Oscar does nothing for a year, and immediately receives a title shot against Ricardo Mayorga after a record lay-off. He wins. Then he does nothing for another year (with no complaints from the WBC) and loses to Floyd Mayweather in the king of all super-fights. Sports Illustrated even calls it “The Fight to Save Boxing.”

The fight is hideous, a boring abomination. As predicted by any serious boxing fan, Mayweather easily outboxes the tactically-challenged Golden Boy in 12 rounds of defensive Hell. Not only does the fight not save boxing, it puts Ultimate Fighting Championship on the cover of Sports Illustrated immediately after.

In short, you have a guy with a 2-3 record in the past four years – or, a 1-4 record, if you correctly score the Sturm fight. That would knock any other fighter out of world title contention, unless he proved himself in a spectacular fashion. Oscar hasn’t.

Haven’t you learned your lesson yet? Why should hardcore boxing fans salivate every time Oscar opens his mouth? Why should thy ponder match-ups with everyone from Antonio Tarver to Manny Pacquiao?

WHY? I need to hear a good answer to this one.

Article posted on 11.11.2007



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