14.11.06 - By Matt Stein: Oscar De La Hoya (38-4, 30 KO's), the current WBC Super welterweight champion, will defend his 154 lb. title against Floyd Mayweather Jr. (37-0, 24 KO's) on May 5th, 2007, most likely in Las Vegas. The 154 lb. limit should help the older, slower De La Hoya, primarily because he'll come in to the fight as the naturally bigger fighter than Mayweather, a fighter that as recently as 2005, was still fighting in the super light weight division (140 lbs). Besides that, De La Hoya, 5'10 1/2," will have a 2 1/2 inch height advantage over the 5'8" Mayweather.
Article posted on 15.11.2006
Another factor in De La Hoya's favor, is that he has already fought Shane Mosley, a former P4P boxer, who, in my opinion, is a better fighter than Mayweather can ever hope to be. Mosley is just as fast, but is much more powerful puncher than Mayweather. De La Hoya, although losing twice to Mosley, fought him very tough and came close to winning each time. If Oscar can do that well against someone as good as Mosley, than I give him a good chance at beating Mayweather.
While both Mayweather and De La Hoya are going to make a ton of money, and in all likelihood set PPV records, the fight itself might not live up to the huge expectations of the boxing fans that are willing to pay the $49.95 to see the PPV event. The reasons are simple. First of all, De La Hoya, now 33-years-old, has slipped quite a bit from his prime years, which was around seven years ago, before he met up with Mosley.
Since then, De La Hoya has been in a steady decline, and along the way, plagued by poor stamina and conditioning problems. De La Hoya's been beaten 4 in his last 11 bouts, and you can arguably add another loss from De La Hoya's bout with Felix Sturm, a European middleweight, who appeared to dominate De La Hoya over 12-rounds, yet came out the loser in a controversial decision. During this time frame, De La Hoya has lost to Felix Trinidad in 1999, twice to Shane Mosley, once in 2000, another time in 2003, and then was stopped in the 9th round by Bernard Hopkins in September 2004.
Admittedly, it's a remarkable accomplishment for De La Hoya to come back from two years of inactivity, following his loss to Hopkins, to then stop Ricardo Mayorga in the 6th round in May 2006, but it's not the same as fighting a high level opponent, such as Mayweather. Though, a tough brawler, Mayorga had nowhere near the same skills as De La hoya, plus Mayorga had already been softened up for De la Hoya, after being systematically taken apart by Felix Trinidad in an 8-round knockout loss in October 2004.
Whatever the case, De La Hoya believes he still has enough in his tank to beat Mayweather, a fighter who many people consider to be the top pound for pound boxer. If, however, De La Hoya has any chance to win, he'll have to use his size and reach to his advantage, since he won't be able to compete with Mayweather's fast hands and excellent counter punching ability. More than that, De La Hoya will have to be able to fight hard for the entire 12-rounds, something he's had problems with in the past, when he's run out of gas in the late rounds against Trinidad, Mosley, and Hopkins. Based on this alone, I'm not giving De La Hoya much of a chance.
Mayweather, however, isn't without his flaws, either. In his last fight against Carlos Baldomir, Mayweather seemed reluctant to mix it up with him, choosing to move from side to side and throw an occasional pot shot. Clearly effective against a slow and limited fighter like Baldomir, but not necessarily so against a skilled boxer like De La Hoya, who will probably stand back on the outside and calmly spear Mayweather with his jab. If De La Hoya can stick to a tight fight plan, which uses mostly jabbing, mixed with a few left hooks, he'll give the Mayweather few chances to use his counter punching ability, and thus take away a big part of his customary advantage.
Likewise, when Mayweather comes forward against the taller, wiser De La Hoya, he will have to eat a lot of jabs in the process, again, something that Mayweather is not accustomed to experiencing. When it's all said and done, if De La Hoya can stay on the offensive and keep Mayweather ducking punches, De La Hoya has a good chance at winning the bout. In his fight with Zab Judah, Mayweather had problems when Judah was bringing the fight to him in the first 6 rounds. Accustomed to being the one that controls the fight, Mayweather seemed completely lost while Judah was on offense.
The problem for Judah, however, is that he ran out of gas and let Mayweather back in the fight. For De La hoya, he's going to have to avoid making this mistake, by pacing himself better, to prevent Mayweather from taking control in the late rounds. If De La Hoya doesn't run out of energy, I think he'll do enough to win this. The problem is, he will. Bottom line: Mayweather wins easy 12-round decision over and old looking De La Hoya.