By Chris Le
On May 5, Oscar De La Hoya, 38-4 (30 KOs), will face Floyd Mayweather, 37-0 (24 KOs), for the junior middleweight championship, in what is the first legitimate “Super Fight” in years. There hasn’t been a bout of this magnitude since undefeated, welterweight juggernaut, Felix Trinidad, clashed with De La Hoya back in 1999. The fight is still the biggest selling non-heavyweight boxing event in history. That record could be in danger come this May.
What separates DLH-Mayweather from the rest of the mega bout wannabes are its combatants and the several back-stories leading up to the event.
As one of the greatest fighters of the 90’s (you don’t know how hard it was for me to actually write that), De La Hoya’s best days are behind him, but he still remains the most marketable name in boxing. In Mayweather, you have arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. So what makes this bout so captivating if you’re pitting the best boxer on the planet against a once great fighter who’s over the hill?
The fact that it will take place at 154 pounds, that’s what.
De La Hoya, nowadays, is most comfortable in the junior middleweight division, seeing how he would be too depleted trying to make welterweight, and his body frame isn’t suited for the middleweight division, as evidenced by his knockout loss to Bernard Hopkins. Mayweather, on the other hand, has never fought above 147 pounds, and was probably at his best in the division where he began his career—junior lightweight (130 pounds). This weight disparity could potentially be a huge neutralizer.
However, Mayweather will be the most physically gifted and arguably most skilled fighter “The Golden Boy” has ever faced. And that’s saying something, when you look at De La Hoya’s resume, which consists of Bernard Hopkins, Fernando Vargas, Shane Mosley, Felix Trinidad, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Pernell Whitaker among others. Mayweather’s speed and defensive ability, both of which are possibly the best in the sport, will undoubtedly cause the 33-year-old De La Hoya trouble, as they do for everyone that fights the “Pretty Boy.” But no one has more big fight experience than Oscar, and he’ll need all the savvy, veteran tricks he’s acquired throughout the years in order to beat Mayweather.
Another advantage Floyd has in this bout is his father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., who was once De La Hoya’s trainer before monetary issues forced them to part ways. In the years they were together, Mayweather Sr. helped Oscar expand his already expansive arsenal of punches and taught him the same body-roll defense Floyd Jr. utilizes. Mayweather Sr. knows De La Hoya’s tendencies, strengths and weaknesses and now, so does his son. After years of separation and hostility, Floyd Sr. has reunited with his son and has decided to be in his corner for the upcoming fight.
This has got to worry and, most of all, piss off Oscar. But as a fight fan, you’ve got to love it, because there’s only one thing better than a Super Fight—a Super Fight with bad blood. And believe me, there’s plenty of that. Mayweather Sr.’s change of heart after vowing not to work either corner and the insider tips he will certainly share with his son must’ve left a bad taste in De La Hoya’s mouth. You can bet that he’s out to get the “Pretty Boy” and his father.
Mayweather Jr. is only adding fuel to his opponent’s fire with his usual brand trash talking. In a recent press conference, when asked for a prediction Floyd said, “I’ll do what I’ve done to 37 others and bust his ass.” Moreover, Mayweather walked up to De La Hoya, chest-bumped him, and openly called him a pussy.
I’m almost giddy with delight.
Ask anyone who knows boxing, and they’ll be the same way because they know that the best fights have more than money or fame at stake. Fights like the Ali-Frazier trilogy, Louis-Schmeling II, De La Hoya-Vargas, some of the greatest bouts of all-time, were all about pride and vengeance.
It’s too soon to tell if De La Hoya-Mayweather belongs in that select group of fights. But one thing is for sure—all the ingredients needed for a bona fide mega bout are there. Let’s just hope it lives up to the hype.
Stay tuned for a fight breakdown and prediction in the weeks leading up to the fight.