Counting Down To De La Hoya – Mayweather Part 2

oscar de la hoya16.04.07 - By Matthew Hurley: So Floyd Mayweather Jr. tries to “keep it real” by saying “fuck” every time he can. Apparently the public is supposed to understand that where Oscar De La Hoya is a “bitch” Floyd, by “keeping it real”, is the guy we’re supposed to revere. Well, I’m not buying it. I’m a guy who says “fuck” all the time too, it’s part of my language but I temper it in my writing or when in mixed company. I also find guys who act like Floyd does to be severely lacking in mental discipline. But, Floyd, in my estimation, is the best fighter in the world and if acting like a lunatic helped get him to the top then who am I to judge.

I’m just tired of it.

There is nothing that Floyd says that is endearing. There is nothing that he says that is funny, ala Muhammad Ali when he denigrated his opponents – and Ali went too far sometimes, particularly with Joe Frazier.. There’s actually something kind of sad about all of this. He spits out vitriol constantly and then, when he accomplishes what he said he would, he breaks down and cries. It’s little wonder that his father is a nut job as well. Believe me, trying to interview Floyd Sr. is like sitting back and wondering to yourself why the hell anyone pays attention to that whack-job Rosie O’Donnell. At least Floyd Sr. is a good trainer with a track record to prove it, but listening to him ramble on and condemn people is exhausting. Floyd Sr. pretty much believes he’s the lord and savior of boxing and if you don’t agree with him or abide by his rules you’re an idiot and have no place on this earth. His press conference rant about genuine good guy trainer Freddie Roach dipped so heavily into bad taste that even the most cynical boxing scribe, and that probably includes us all, rolled their eyes and just prayed for it to end.

But, then, maybe this is all part of the plan. There’s nothing better to get a guy off his game than to get under his skin and drive him nuts. Make no mistake Oscar can’t stand this guy and he truly wants to beat his ass. He knows that if he loses this fight he’ll be remembered as a guy who never really won the big one. His losses to Felix Trinidad (a decision pretty much everyone thinks he deserved), Shane Mosely twice (the second very close) and finally to Bernard Hopkins at a weight level way too high for him are what he will be judged by. It’s an unfair judgment to be honest. Thomas Hearns lost the two biggest fights of his career against Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler. Despite the fact that both fights are universally considered classics and despite his victories over Pipino Cuevas, Roberto Duran, Wilfred Benitez and the bogus draw against Leonard in their rematch he is remembered for those two losses. And yet Hearns went on to win four titles and engage in one terrific fight after another which made him a fan favorite. It took him some time to claw his way out of Sugar Ray’s shadow but he did it by fighting everyone. De La Hoya is a lot like Hearns in that respect. Conventional wisdom would pair Oscar with Leonard because of the Olympic gold medal and because of styles and universal appeal which is appropriate. But his fistic legacy is more akin to Hearns and it might be why he has become such a sentimental favorite as his career comes to a close. Boxing scribes and fans no longer bash him for favoritism or what was often perceived as elitism. Looking back it has become more than obvious that he was important to the sport not just because of his fan base, but because the sonofabitch could fight and took on all comers.

And that’s why he is now the fan favorite. And he will be the fan favorite on fight night.

There is a lingering thought in my mind that the reason Floyd has been so arrogant and so in-your-face in the build up to this so-called “super fight” is because he realizes that very fact. He knows he will never be accepted like De La Hoya has been and it pisses him off. And because there is a lack of maturity there – not inside the ring, where he is focused and prime – but outside, these outbursts of frustration and genuine animosity boil over and he comes across like a jerk. But, he has yet to be beaten and maybe this attitude simply works for him in the ring. Unfortunately, as his many tearful breakdowns after fights have proven, he craves what De La Hoya has. And even if he beats the “Golden Boy” he’ll probably never get it.

Article posted on 17.04.2007

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