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DE LA HOYA
So here we go. One of the biggest fights of the last decade. A true mega fight, of which unfortunately, there are very few these days. But Saturday night, two of boxings best will lace it up to see who the best pound for pound fighter in the world is.
It's unfortunate that we as fans, can never seem to get these fights while both fighters are in their prime. It seems as though at least one of the fighters is always a tad past his prime.
If both of these fighters were in their prime, we would have one helluva fight on our hands. Although that's not the case, we still may have a very good fight on our hands. De La Hoya is a bit past his prime, but he's certainly not a dinosaur. He still has skills, and would beat the majority of the fighters out there today in this weight class.
Before we make a prediction, we'll make a case for both fighters.
De La Hoya's biggest enemy in this fight is the combination of his age and ring rust. Either one of those factors can be enough to sink a fighter. Having both against you is just about deadly. There's no substitution for live rounds in a real fight. Fighters can spar all they want, but sparring and actual fights are two different things.
De La Hoya will have the size advantage in this fight. It's Mayweather who will be coming up in weight here. If we go back in time to 2004, when De La Hoya fought Bernard Hopkins, it was Oscar who was coming up in weight and as it turned out, that was the difference in the fight. De La Hoya was knocked out by a body punch from the bigger, stronger, Hopkins. De La Hoya will have to take a page from that fight and apply it here. He'll need to cut off the ring and get Mayweather to trade with him.
If De La Hoya can get Mayweather to stand in there and go toe to toe, this could be an interesting night and De La Hoyas best chance to win. Mayweather is a lot like Roy Jones Jr. Fantastic hand and foot speed. With Mayweather, it's simply a matter using his speed to land more than his opponent and to keep from getting hit. Very elementary stuff here huh? But what we haven't seen anyone do with Mayweather, is affectively cut off the ring and force him to fight. He's simply been too quick and in boxing, speed kills.
But that's De La Hoya's chance. He's one of the best finishers in boxing. If he gets you hurt, there's a pretty good chance you're done. We really don't know how Mayweather will react to being really hurt in the ring. We've never seen it. We never saw it with Roy Jones Jr either, until the end of his career when we saw it with every fight.
For Mayweather to win, we've already mentioned what he must do. He must simply be Floyd Mayweather. He's simply got to use his superior hand and foot speed to just do enough to win. Just like he's done every time out in his undefeated career.
So what will happen?
The Odds are certainly against De La Hoya. Both at the sportsbooks and in reality. There is no question that he has lost a step. Maybe just half a step. But regardless, not being a fraction of his old self against the younger and quicker Mayweather could prove deadly. Speaking of his "old self ", when is the last time we saw the old Oscar De La Hoya? We'd have to go back about 4 years to 2003 when he beat Yori Boy Campus and then lost a close fight to Shane Mosley. The following year, he had a tune up fight with Felix Sturm, for the Hopkins fight, which many people felt he lost. He then was Ko'd by Hopkins his next time out. He took 2005 off completely and then hand picked punching bag Ricardo Mayorga as a prelude to this fight with Mayweather.
So De La Hoya has fought 6 rounds in the last 2 and a half years. Compare that to the 36 rounds Mayweather has fought in that very same time span.
Mayweather is also a very smart fighter. He knows Oscars big chance is to get him to trade. It's unlikely he'll allow that to happen. I guess you could compare this fight to Hagler vs. Leonard back in 1987. Simply, Leonard was too quick, threw more punches, and wasn't hit as often. Elementary boxing. But that's how Mayweather wins this fight.
I'll be rooting hard for De La Hoya to pull the upset. It would be great for boxing, mostly because in that case, we'd get to see it again in another six months. But the prediction here is Mayweather by decision. He's younger, he's quicker, and he's been the more active of the two. I just don't see anything on the De La Hoya side that would neutralize those very important edges.
From a betting standpoint, the wager that has the most value would be Mayweather by decision at a very fair +105.