De La Hoya - Mayweather Jr. Provides Shades of Pryor-Arguello

floyd mayweather jr.20.4.07 - By Brett Mauren: It has been just under 25 years since a monumental night under the Florida sky, in which an explosive 14th round rally propelled the controversial Aaron Pryor to a knockout win over Nicaraguan fan favorite Alexis Arguello for the WBA light welterweight belt. It went down as an immortal moment in boxing history and may never be recreated, but the upcoming superfight on May 5 between Oscar De la Hoya and Floyd Mayweather seems to bare some striking similarities.

Arguello entered the Orange Bowl with a nation behind him, and a 77 and 6 record to his name. He would take on the “good guy” role in what developed into a battle of good vs. evil. Pryor would establish his persona through interrupting press conferences and calling out fighters he felt he was being ducked by, including an unexpected visit to world champ Sugar Ray Leonard’s press conference at Caesars Palace.

In the ring the difference between the two was even more present, shortly after a total domination of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Arguello would be seen consoling the fallen champ along with his father who was seated ringside. Aaron Pryor, however, seemed to approach each fight with a chip on his shoulder, showing little respect to opponents, and despite proving his superior skills came across as a street fighter.

25 years later another cocky kid with a stellar boxing record will come into a superfight as the self-created villain. Across the ring will be the established people’s champ who just happens to sell more tickets than anyone in boxing. Oscar de la Hoya remains one of the most charismatic fighters to grace the ring while Mayweather is never short on words either, making for an 11 city journalist’s heaven of a press tour. Mayweather’s flashy ring entrance into his welterweight title fight with Carlos Baldomir in which he was carried in on a throne dressed as a gladiator may have been one of a kind, but one can’t help but see a little bit of Aaron Pryor in that prideful face at Mandalay Bay. Another intriguing aspect of this fight would be the possibility of Mayweather retiring, just as Pryor did temporarily after his 10th round TKO of Arguello in their 2nd fight.

De La Hoya, in the meantime, has smiled his way into pop culture as a family friendly fighter, if such a title exists. In typical Arguello fashion, Oscar describes himself as a light-hearted guy turned “animal” in the ring. De la Hoya is on his way to creating an empire with Golden Boy Promotions due in large part to just sticking his name on his boxing cards. There are fighters who sell out arenas, but before Oscar and possibly never after has a fighter filled an arena for a weigh in as Oscar did for his 1999 match-up with Felix Trinidad. Much like Arguello, De La Hoya’s success can be greatly attributed to lovability. Sure, both fighters were unquestionable hall of famers, but in boxing being the best does not always equal pay-per view buys, it's that little something extra only a handful of fighters have ever been able to bring to the ring.

On May 5, just as they did on November 12 1982, the lights will shine down on two warriors from two different worlds, and just as they did 25 years ago, two warriors will fight for something that a saga can’t re-tell. Something beyond the mixed bottles, heated press conferences, fearless weigh in stare downs, big money trainers, and father son reunions. They’ll fight for something we will be talking about 25 years from now, and just as they did 25 years ago that is when two warriors from different worlds start to look a little more similar.

Article posted on 20.04.2007

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