Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather: The World Awaits

Jordan KatzCorrespondent IJanuary 21, 2008

After over the top promotions, severe trash talking between fighters, and unique storylines, the world finally witnessed the highly anticipated fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather.

Although one of the most talked about fights in years did not live up to the hype, it did however, provide some much needed answers to intriguing questions.                    

The fight went as many analysts expected. Mayweather was able to outbox De La Hoya using his lightning speed and slithery defense. Mayweather primarily threw punches one at a time, but frequently landed.

De La Hoya pretty much left his jab in the garage of one of his mansions, only occasionally taking it out. Mayweather’s tactics reduced De La Hoya into throwing only periodic flurries. Pretty Boy’s defense picked off virtually all of De La Hoya’s shots. 

Using his quickness, balance, and footwork, Pretty Boy avoided, ducked, deflected with his gloves, or rolled the majority of De La Hoya’s flurries. De La Hoya attempted to go to the body but only cleanly landed a small number.

The slugfest that fans wanted never really materialized. 

What we got was a well executed, meticulous, and smart boxing match for Pretty Boy. While De La Hoya was outclassed, he was never overwhelmed. This kept the fight closer than many experts believed possible. However, the only time De La Hoya looked good was on the rare occasions when he doubled up on his jabs in rounds 2, 4, and 7.

Mayweather knew he could simply avoid trading with De La Hoya and still win—and that’s exactly what he did. It was a technical fight, and Mayweather proved to be a great fighter. 

He was able hit and then split, leaving De La Hoya unable to counter. Mayweather put on a boxing clinic but was never forced into exchanging in the middle of the ring. He is not the showman De La Hoya is and unfortunately does not have the all or nothing mentality.

For all his skill, Mayweather appears unwilling to risk taking serious shots in order to go for the knockout. Maybe the truth is, he is simply good enough that he doesn’t need to. 

However, since he has never had an opponent force him into a war, we still don’t know how great he could be.

So where does that leave the two fighters? 

At age 34, De La Hoya is by no means washed up. He showed he still has a mix of skills and quickness. The Golden Boy displayed very solid endurance, and his post-fight comments indicate he is open to continuing to fight.

But, despite his apparent remaining skill set, De La Hoya has limited options for upcoming fights. 

In the Junior Middleweight division, Corey Spinks is one of the top fighters, but his style is not fan friendly. Also, he does not bring an overwhelming fan base to the table.

Furthermore, Spinks' lack of pizzazz probably means there is not enough money or fan fare in this fight for De La Hoya. Alternatively, if De La Hoya was foolish enough to move back up into the Middleweight division at 160, there would be potential for major fights if he decided to fight the winner of either Winky Wright/Bernard Hopkins or the expected slugfest between Edison Miranda/Kelly Pavlik.

Both Miranda and Pavlik are major up and comers who would provide fans with highlight reels of action. At the end of the day, De La Hoya is too smart and too rich, I think, to risk moving back up to 160 where his power is much less evident.  

Welterweights, watch out for De La Hoya moving back down.

Immediately following Floyd Mayweather’s win over De La Hoya at the top of his game, 30-years-old Pretty Boy announced his “retirement.” He talked about the De La Hoya victory in terms of solidifying his legacy. 

Similar to Roy Jones Jr, before his back-to-back KO losses to Glenn Johnson and Antonio Tarver, Mayweather also has never been forced to stand in the middle of the ring and just bang with someone, throwing it all on the line.

Sugary Ray Leonard had Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran, and Marvin Hagler.

Muhammad Ali had Joe Frazier. Michael Jordan had Larry Bird. Mark McGuire had Sammy Sosa. The point is, great athletes need to have someone great to push them to their limits, someone to force them to rise to greatness. 

Mayweather has never had that and may never get it. Credit him for being the best of his era, but we have never seen his true capabilities.

If he were to retire today, he would be one of the better fighters of all-time, a first ballot hall of famer. But if he wants to cement his place in history as pound-for-pound one of the truly greatest—and if he has the will and the guts to do so—there are still meaningful fights left for him.

In terms of the biggest names, Pretty Boy’s best option right now would be Sugar Shane Mosley. Although Mosley is 35, he looked sharp and speedy in his last fight, dominating tough Luis Collazo.

The fight could pose an interesting match up, because Mosley could be one of the fastest and must elusive, yet powerful fighters Mayweather has ever fought. Mosley also has a lot of heart and is not afraid to take a shot. 

Another option is unbeaten Miguel Cotto. The guy is entering his prime, 28-years-old, and is fighting Mayweather’s old nemesis, Zab Judah.

If he beats Judah, and I think he will, this could be a blockbuster fight. Cotto has beat some pretty solid fighters, including Carlos Quintana, Paul Malignaggi, Ricardo Torres, and Oktay Urkal. 

I don’t know if Cotto is known well enough to garner enough interest, but avid boxing fans would welcome the fight.

The last option would be for Mayweather to fight the winner of Antonio Margarito vs. Paul Williams. There has been major animosity on Margarito’s party toward Mayweather. He accuses Mayweather of ducking him and has called him “afraid.” Williams is undefeated, and like Margarito, is taller and larger then Mayweather.  

Of all the options, I think Mosley is the most lucrative and the most attractive

Regardless of what comes next, the world awaits the next mega fight involving either Floyd Mayweather or Oscar De La Hoya. Stay tuned.