Boxing


Oscar De La Hoya And Evander Holyfield - Expect To See Both Fight Next Year

by James Slater - Neither Oscar De La Hoya nor Evander Holyfield had anything approaching a glory-filled year in 2008, and neither guy was able to exit the year as a winner. "The Golden Boy" did manage a win, a points win over Stevie "2 Pounds" Forbes back in May, a performance for which he generally got good reviews - but this was massively overshadowed by what another little guy, Manny Pacquiao, did to him in December..

Oscar De La HoyaIndeed, it is something of a surprise that the ancient Holyfield, a guy whose health the fans and experts have been worrying about for years now, actually closed 2008 in better style than did De La Hoya. Sure, Holyfield closed the twelve months at 0-1, but he was widely believed to have been robbed in his one ring appearance - when he did enough to have been awarded the decision over the huge Nikolay Valuev. "The Real Deal" was denied his history-making win by the three judges working his fight in Switzerland, but at least the 46-year-old (eleven years older than Oscar) was able to finish his final (and only) fight of 2008 on his feet throwing punches.

A guy like De La Hoya, like Sugar Ray Leonard before him, always figured to go out on his own terms, smelling of roses as he did so. But this will not be the case now. After being made to quit against "Pac-Man" the way he did (in a fight that reminded some of Leonard's humbling at the hands of Hector Camacho) De La Hoya's legacy has been forever tainted. Even if he fights again and manages to go out a winner, Oscar will be rated a good many rungs lower on boxing's ladder of fame in the coming years. Holyfield, too, has damaged his own legacy, in fact he has so many age-induced losses on is record that shouldn't be there, his own place in history will be a tough one for the historians to work out.

But it seems likely that both legends will fight again in 2009. In fact, it's a lock the former four-time heavyweight champ will. Who really expects anything else? De La Hoya won't want top go out a quitter, and Holyfield has every right to demand a return with Valuev. As such, there's a great chance (or a horrific chance, depending on your view) that the two men will be seen in the ring this coming year. Maybe De La Hoya will end up having a better 2009 than Holyfield?

There are already rumours going around as to who Oscar will box in his final fight. Names being put forward include Pacquiao in a rematch (surely a long shot of the highest order) Ricky Hatton and Julio Cesar Chavez Junior. Time will tell, but Chavez seems to be the most likely option, in as much as he would likely be the best option for De La Hoya to come out with a win against. "The Golden Boy" had better make sure he knows what he's doing this time around, however, as his hole would only get deeper with yet another loss. At this stage in his life, NO fight is a gimme for the ageing superstar.

Holyfield, amazingly, is in better shape, career-wise than is De La Hoya - at least his plan is a more simple and straightforward one. Holyfield will do all he can to get his much deserved rematch with the current WBA heavyweight champ, and there is a very good chance, should the fight take place before fair-minded judges, that Evander will win. Who'd have thought it: that the old warrior Holyfield would enter a 2009 world title fight as a better choice to win than would Oscar De La Hoya!

Yes, Holyfield will likely be too stubborn to retire even if he does make history in beating Valuev; determined as he will be to become undisputed champ. Indeed, when it comes to who ends up in better shape at the very end, most likely the bitter end in Evander's case, De La Hoya seems the smartest choice. And as to what Holyfield will do if he can't get a second go at the 7'2" behemoth is anyone's guess. De a Hoya probably won't have any problem getting whichever fight he chooses for his finale, being as powerful as he is, the star usually gets what he wants. What he most wants now, is a win; a win and then a clear, conscience-free path into retirement. Holyfield wants more than that, and as such only one of the two greats has a good chance of having an even remotely happy 2009.

Article posted on 26.12.2008



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