Boxing


De La Hoya, Mosley and Mayweather, Jr: Does Their Fire Still Burn?

24.11.06 - by Yero Moody: As a fan of the sport of boxing I frequently watch fights, visit boxing websites, read boxing publications and pay close attention to the opinions of writers, fighters, boxing analysts and fans alike. Quite frequently the question has arisen as to who are the best fighters in the sport right now. The Ring magazine has set the standard with their mythical Pound for Pound list which ranks fighters of all weight classes. With the retirement of Bernard Hopkins, the losses that the once invincible Roy Jones, Jr. has suffered and the inactivity of certain fighters the list frequently changes.

I've been paying close attention to all the fighters who've been mentioned on this list and the names that seem to remain consistently on the list. My focus in writing this is to focus on three of the best fighters of this era: Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and a question that is consistently being asked concerning them; Does their fire still burn? Since there is no specific measuring instrument to determine how much desire for greatness a fighter has within them we have to utilize certain criteria such as 1.)the level of opponents they seek and 2.) maintenance of skills..

Everyone is salivating for the huge megafight between De La Hoya and Mayweather set for May 5, 2007. Is this going to be a fight or an event? If you're one the many fans who recognize all the factors that have led up to this event and your objective or you're a die hard fan of one or both of the fighters then you'll probably be thinking its going to be one hell of a fight. If, however, you dislike one or both of the fighters or think that Oscar is too far past his prime you'll probably be thinking of it as more of an event. I've heard many critics cite De La Hoya's age and being past his prime as a primary reason that he will lose. I've heard that Mayweather will lose because he's bitten off more than he can chew by stepping up to 154 lbs. to face a naturally bigger man with excellent boxing skills. Some have questioned both fighters desire to really want to fight and compete at a high level. Both fighters have mentioned retirement although De La Hoya says that he'll fight on after this fight while Mayweather insists this is his last fight.

Has De La Hoya lost his desire to seek greatness and compete at the highest levels? Lets examine that question more thoroughly. Based on the criteria we've established De La Hoya still seems to thrive in both those areas. He's always facing the toughest challenges put before him and seeking a fight with the man who many regard as the best fighter in the world confirms that. The only questionable portion of the criteria is the maintenance of skills on De La Hoya's part. His skills seem to have remained intact and since acquiring the services of Floyd Mayweather, Sr. his boxing skills have improved. He shows much better lateral movement and sets up his punches much better.

To do what he did the first 6 rds.against Bernard Hopkins was remakable considering the size difference and his miserable showing against Felix Sturm the fight before. His recent destruction Ricardo Mayorga is another example of how polished he remains. I'm not suggesting that Mayorga is a great boxer but he is a very good fighter and if you do not utilize serious boxing skills he will blow you out. Mayorga has beaten very good boxers such as Andrew "Six Heads" Lewis and Vernon Forrest twice and Vernon Forrest beat Mosley twice. So no one who follows boxing should be so dismissive of De La Hoya's victory over Mayorga.

Has Mayweather lost his desire to seek greatness and compete at the highest levels? With his recent and very surprising announcement that he would fight only once more before retiring many are questioning his desire combined with his refusal to fight WBO welterweight champion Anonio Margarito at this time. However, upon further review he too meets the criteria we have established. His announcement to retire came before him signing to fight De La Hoya so that shows he has a desire to fight high level competition. He also made it known publicly that he wanted to fight Shane Mosley and Ricky Hatton prior to even fighting Calos Baldomir further showing that he has the desire to face great fighters. The second portion of the criteria maintenance of skills needs not even to be answered. He shows no signs of deteriorating skills but his KO rate has decreased since moving up in weight which happens to most fighters. This writer does not believe Mayweather will be retiring anytime soon because he knows that he needs to do more to establish himself as one of the best all time greats of the sport.

Has Shane Mosley lost his desire to seek greatness and compete at the highest levels? Mosley has just defeated Fernando Vargas twice and is supposedly seeking a fight with Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto or Floyd Mayweather in 2007. His desire to fight the toughest challenges have never been in question except in the minds of a few uninformed fans and media parrots who stated that Mosley was ducking Margarito. None have shown direct quotes from Mosley, all have been other sources saying that that is what Mosley has said. His skills have shown slight deterioration mainly in the area of defense. He is getting hit much more than he has when he was actually "power boxing" a term coined by Jack Mosley, the father and trainer of Shane Mosley. There is a marked difference in his first fight with Fernando Vargas and his second fight with him. The major difference maker was that in the first fight Mosley was not power boxing and allowed Vargas to trade with him in the second fight he returned to power boxing with his father back in his corner and easily disposed of the less skilled Vargas without so much as a scratch on his face.

As we've examined all three of these great boxers it's clear that they have not lost their hunger and still compete at a very high level. I've heard it said by many critics that the younger, less experienced and up and coming fighters like Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Paul Williams, Carlos Quintana, Ricky Hatton and Luis Collazo are more hungry than Mosley and De La Hoya because Mosley and De La Hoya are wealthier and have accomplished so much already. To that I say, phooey. Several athletes come to mind, who while past their primes, set the pinnacle for hunger and desire and always competed at a high level until they were beaten by father time: Micheal Jordan, Jerry Rice, Lance Armstrong, Cal Ripken, Jr., Nolan Ryan, Magic Johnson, Bernard Hopkins and Muhammad Ali. Sometimes the desire to remain on top is as strong or stronger than the desire to get to the top. The old lion fights just as hard to keep his pride as the young lion does to take it. It's skill that seperates the two! At this point in time none of those young and up and coming lions have exhibited the skills to dethrone the top three lions.

Questions or comments: email yero_m@yahoo.com

Article posted on 25.11.2006



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