May 1, 2007


The Super Bowl of Boxing (THOMAS HAUSER, May 1, 2007, NY Sun)

Oscar De La Hoya (38–4, 30 KOs) is the reigning World Boxing Council 154-pound champion and one of his sport's all-time greatest attractions. Since 1995, he has fought in 17 pay-per-view bouts engendering 10.4 million purchases and $490.6 million in PPV revenue.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (37–0, 24 KOs) is boxing's current "pound-for-pound" king and the WBC's 147-pound champion.

This Saturday, De La Hoya and Mayweather will do battle in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. [...]

The odds are 9-to-5 that Mayweather will back his talk up. No one expects him to stand toe-to-toe with De La Hoya. He simply has to outbox him.

Oscar's partisans point to the fact that this fight is a step up in class for Mayweather. De La Hoya, their thinking goes, has experience and power. He's tougher than a lot of people give him credit for being. And Floyd is coming up in weight. Oscar found that his power didn't carry well to 160 pounds (he couldn't hurt Felix Sturm or Bernard Hopkins). They believe that Mayweather will suffer a similar fate and that this is an instance in which a younger smaller, faster man will be beaten by size and strength.

But Mayweather doesn't just stick and move. He sticks, moves, and bangs. To neutralize Floyd's speed, De La Hoya will have to attack, apply pressure, and make Mayweather fight. He must be in shape to do it for 12 full rounds. And he has to be willing to walk through fire, which means taking two or three punches on occasion to land one.

Oscar has never been acknowledged as boxing 's "pound-for-pound" king. A victory over Mayweather would earn him that honor, but the guess here is that he'll be outboxed over 12 rounds.

To find a comparable match-up you probably have to go back to Sugar Ray Leanard vs. Roberto Duran, no? Though there it was Leonard who was the more mobile (despite Duran being the one moving up in weight) and he made the mistake of fighting toe-to-toe in their first bout. The other fight it seems reminiscent of is Arguello vs. Pryor, which is also a bad sign for the Golden Boy. I remember listening to that one on the radio. Hopefully a network will reshow this one at some point.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 1, 2007 6:31 AM

De La Hoya vs. Whittaker was hyped at least this huge. And Oscar would have won that one going away if he hadn't chosen to stop fighting in about Round 7 thinking he was so far ahead on the cards (he was) that he couldn't lose (he could).

Posted by: b at May 1, 2007 11:28 AM

[major self-ref alert] My wife's primary purpose for this Saturday's mondo garage sale at our house? Raise enough dough to easily assuage her guilt for having ordered this fight on PPV the instant it was available.

And, no, she doesn't have any sisters.

Posted by: JR at May 1, 2007 3:44 PM

Over on Bill Simmons has an interesting take on this fight. He's referring to it as the "Last Big Fight" because there are so few marketable stars any more and because of the erosion of the market. Hard to argue with him.

Posted by: jeff at May 1, 2007 4:42 PM

I think b meant to refer to De La Hoya-Trinidad...where Oscar stopped fighting in the 9th round.

OJ - The fight will be repeated on HBO next Saturday.

Posted by: Foos at May 2, 2007 9:52 AM

HBO costs money.

Posted by: oj at May 2, 2007 12:35 PM