Boxing


De La Hoya Looking Towards Mora

Sergio MoraBy Richard Rodriguez: With his attempt at landing a mega-fight with Manny Pacquiao essentially down the drain because of neither party willing to give in to the 70-30 PPV purse split, Oscar De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KOs) is reportedly looking at ending his boxing career with a title fight against the light-hitting, finesse-oriented WBC light middleweight champion Sergio Mora (21-0, 5 KOs) instead of Pacquiao.

If this turns out to be the case, De La Hoya, 35, would be seemingly making almost as big a mistake as he originally did by selecting super featherweight Manny Pacquiao as an opponent. I don't see this as being a PPV-worthy fight. Indeed, fighting Mora would be like fighting Steve Forbes, De La Hoya's last opponent, and therefore should be shown on regular television and not PPV. It's a horrible opponent and seems to be poorly thought out by De La Hoya.

Mora, a contestant on the NBC boxing reality television show The Contender, has little power to speak of, and who focuses mainly on hitting and doing a lot of running. Besides it being a totally boring fight, it's a fight that does nothing for De La Hoya's precious legacy, as many boxing fans will likely still consider De La Hoya a coward for not facing up to Antonio Margarito, the WBA welterweight champion, who has been calling De La Hoya out continuously for the past couple of weeks since Margarito defeated Miguel Cotto.

Previously, De La Hoya had made mention of wanting to fight the winner of Cotto-Margarito, but it appears that he had a change of mind after watching the brutal manner in which Margarito dispatched Cotto. Since then, De La Hoya has remained silent about a fight with Margarito, and began focusing on a fight with Pacquiao, which many people in the boxing community felt was laughable due to De La Hoya's size advantage.

For many people, it seemed like a desperate move by De La Hoya, one made to virtually guarantee that he would end his once-great boxing career on a winning note, while at the same time making a huge bundle of money without the normal risks involved with taking on a tough opponent in a mega-fight. The move to select Mora, a fighter well-known on the West coast but not particularly well thought of by most boxing fans judging from the negative comments that fly whenever his name is brought up in Internet boxing forums, seems like a wrong-headed idea by De La Hoya.

Though you can see his reasoning, however, because if Mora still has his title by then, which is highly unlikely given that he has a rematch coming up next month against Vernon Forrest (whom he barely beat by a 12-round majority decision in June to win the title), it will give De La Hoya a chance of picking up yet another title to add to his large growing collection. This would be a good opportunity for De La Hoya to pick up an easy title, because Mora has pretty much only mediocre offensive skills, and generally wins by boxing, moving and pot-shotting his opponents.

Mora's style of fighting is ugly to watch, reminding one of Chris Byrd, an older Hector "Macho" Camacho and a little bit like Roy Jones Jr. when he's in the running mode of his game. For that reason, he's someone that can be beaten by fighters with a good offense like De La Hoya. In terms of excitement, the fight would likely be a bore, with De La Hoya chasing Mora around the ring to the chorus of loud booing from the crowd. In comparison to other opponents that De La Hoya could - and should - be fighting, like Margarito, Miguel Cotto, Felix Trinidad, Paul Williams or Ricky Hatton, Mora seems like easily the worst opponent you could ever imagine choosing from.

It makes me wonder, though, whether De La Hoya's last opponent, the smallish Steve Forbes, may have knocked a few marbles loose in De La Hoya's head, because his opponent selection seems to be atrocious, almost as if De La Hoya were choosing people intentionally to ignite criticism from fans and writers.

Of course, that's obviously not the case, but De La Hoya as of late doesn't appear to be using sound judgment in the case of his choice of Pacquiao, and certainly not in his decision to face Mora (if De La Hoya does end up fighting him). By choosing Mora, De La Hoya would be doing nothing to shut down his critics, many of which will continue to lambaste him with comments about his manhood and courage until he finally retires from boxing. I think by far the better option for him would be to do the courageous thing, to fight preferably Margarito, and if not him, then either Cotto, Paul Williams or Trinidad. A fight with Mora, however, is probably little better than De La Hoya's absurd idea of fighting Pacquiao and accomplishes nothing for De La Hoya's legacy.

Article posted on 15.08.2008



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