De La Hoya vs Hopkins: A Handful of Predictions from the Eastside Staff
17.09.04 - Think you've heard it all on the superfight this weekend? Check out what several selected contributors to ESB had to say.
Article posted on 17.09.2004
Phillip Przybylo:: Then there were two. The last two survivors of the welterweight and middleweight wars of this generation also happen to be two of the classier acts in boxing. This is probably the zenith of an era, and I think it's fitting that Bernard Hopkins and Oscar De la Hoya are a part of it.
Hopkins' advanced age should not factor into the bout. The Philadelphia native has no weaknesses other than the few strengths that are not on the same level with DLH. I see him pulling another Trinidad fight in terms of composure and intelligent tactics. He is mentally stronger than DLH, so, look for him to gradually become more aggressive as the fight wears on. He will attempt to make his imprint on the fight in rounds 5-7.
But can he do it? "The Golden Boy" has never quite been visibly hurt or outclassed in a fight. He took on the best of his generation and has out-lasted them all. However, with Hopkins, no gameplan is sound enough. He will have to look to get into a boxing groove and hope to win the majority of the frantic exchanges. I will predict the winner of the biggest fight we'll see for years to come on a hunch. That's all I got--a hunch De La Hoya's going to surprise us all with dominance in the later rounds.
Prediction - De la Hoya W12 Hopkins
Frank Gonzalez Jr.:
IF DLH even shows up for the fight (barring a sudden mysterious training injury) I see DLH holding up well for the first 4-5 rounds, with Hopkins winning the rounds but closely. As the fight progresses, I see Oscar start to tire (probably after the 8th round) and then Hopkins really starts to land good shots until by the tenth or eleventh, DLH goes down from the accumulation of Hopkin's punches.
Prediction - Hopkins by TKO 11
The factor that has always separated great fighters from the absolute best is that how the greats who are supposed to be done somehow pull off a miraculous victory years after their prime. What Ali did against Foreman, what Roberto Duran did against Iran Barkley, what Sugar Ray Leonard did against Marvin Hagler an so on. That is the stuff true legends are made of. And that is what Oscar De La Hoya’s fans are expecting from their hero as he looks to get the ultimate seal for his illustrious career as he faces the undisputed middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins.
De La Hoya will also need small miracles too to get through this one as the winner. His career has been one of the best of recent history, he has come all the way from super featherweight and gotten past other legends, he already is a legend, but this seems like a too big hill for him to climb. He is facing not only a man who is over ten pounds heavier than he was in his prime weight, but also a man who is a legend himself and hasn’t faced a defeat in eleven years.
Hopkins is so multi-dimensional fighter that he seems to have an answer to anything De La Hoya could possibly try here. Hopkins is one of the best inside fighters of the game and De La Hoya has lost plenty of his power as he has come up in weight so going forwards has to be out of question for De La Hoya. So he should try to stay outside, but it will be a difficult task too against Hopkins who seems to have nearly endless stamina and the ability to put pressure on his opponent. De La Hoya is still quick, but I can’t see his stamina holding up for full rounds as The Executioner starts to turn the heat up on him. De La Hoya has so good chin and so much pride in him
that I see him going the distance, but I can not see him winning.
Prediction - Hopkins by unanimous decision
Oscar de la Hoya has been in megafights before. The role of experience cannot be underscored in a fight of this magnitude. Remember what happenned to George Foreman in his first big fight? Oscar de la Hoya has been in more competitve fights in his career, win or lose, than Bernard Hopkins. If Oscar is in shape, his experience could carry him in finding ways to win rounds. Although Hopkins is a special and dominant fighter, he has not had to be resourceful in a fight in roughly a decade. He has fought exactly two close fights in his career against Jones and Mercado with a record of one draw and one loss; Oscar has fought eight close fights and emerged with 5 victories. Talent favors Hopkins; experience favors de la Hoya.
The referee will play a key role in this fight. Hopkins hits low, hits coming out of breaks, and hits behind the head. He rarely gets called for it. If the referee is a stickler, then this could become important. Finally, I think the size differential is being blown out of proportion. Hopkins is larger and more powerful, but he will get into the ring in the mid-160's. That is not insurmountable for de la Hoya, but it is a disadvantage. Basically, if de la Hoya stays on the outside and piles up some early rounds, he should stay calm and let it go to decision. If he tries to trade with Hopkins, who is deadly on the inside, it won't reach the closing bell. Oscar de la Hoya is smart enough to recognize this. He's also smart enough to know that, despite the judging in the 2nd Mosley fight, Las Vegas remain his town. Oscar should move laterally, throw his left hook off his jab, utilize his speed advantage and take his chances with the cards. I believe Hopkins' lack of big-fight experience will hurt him a great deal here. In other words, the X-factor that will doom the Executioner is experience.
Oscar de la Hoya wins a close fight seven rounds to five. Hopkins probably gets frustrated and loses a point somewhere along the way.
previous article: Felix Sturm fighting for intern. title tonight – and for his reputation
next article: Hopkins-De La Hoya: Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man