Breaking Down De La Hoya-Mayweather

mayweather27.04.07 - By Steve Skinner: After a long boxing slump for us fight fans, we can finally say we’ve finally got a legitimate mega fight that’s worth more than the price of admission! Let’s face it-the upcoming De La Hoya-Mayweather fight is a very intriguing fight with so many angles and oddities that all us boxing fans know for fact that its going to be a complete sellout and will likely produce the largest gate in boxing history if nothing else. But even if you take the money and glamour out of the picture, you’re still left with what should be a good fight between two guys with great boxing skills. I know for fact that I’ll be shelling out the $49-55 for pay-per-view, and having a bunch of friends over.

Soon enough the fighters will leave their respective training camps with victory in mind for their highly anticipated Cinco De Mayo 2007 showdown to take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Will the ever popular crossover superstar Oscar “Golden Boy” De La Hoya reclaim the pound for pound crown he once wore so proudly, or will the smack-talking, speed, youth, audacity, and “gangsta” image and style of “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather Jr. prove too much for Oscar at this late stage in his career?

Here’s how I break down all the categories:

Age-No question the power of youth goes to PBF.

Speed-Again PBF, but take note that all of Oscar’s previous opponents are surprised at his hand speed enough to be troubled by it. If Oscar has enough speed to connect cleanly on Floyd with a good shot or combination, he could quickly turn the tide and may ultimately be able to stop or at the very least hurt PBF at any point in the fight. I can’t say the same if Floyd lands well on DLH. Floyd could win this battle by sheer volume of punches landed taking their toll on DLH. More likely though to earn him a decision on points, or possibly cut or make DLH bleed to get a stoppage. Note: Floyd has slightly better speed than Shane Mosley, and that’s really what made DLH struggle in their two fights. IMO, if DLH is not able to find a way to overcome PBF’s speed he loses the fight. Speed itself won’t be enough to keep DLH off PBF, if there’s no sting to the punches DLH will walk right through and start getting his power punches off. Also, if Oscar is too physically strong for PBF, it will only be a matter of time before it ends.

Size(Height, Weight, Reach at 154)- DLH. This is not PBF’s natural weight and when the bell rings he will have a height and size disadvantage. Floyd has zero fights to date at 154lbs, whereas 154 appears to be Oscar’s best weight at this point in his career. Let’s not forget that Oscar has faced guys at 160. IMO Floyd had his best fight to date against Corrales-who was a taller fighter but also a rather chinny one. If Oscar can capitalize on his size advantage, this could be a determining factor in the fight.

Power-again to DLH. PBF has not showed any type of power for Oscar to fear at 147, so don’t see it getting any better at 154-especially if they use the 10oz gloves. Oscar has impressive KO’s over both Vargas and Mayorga at 154. Let’s also not forget that not too long ago DLH gave Hopkins a bit of trouble in the early to mid rounds at 160. I don’t see PBF being able to hit DLH with any type of power that Oscar hasn’t already dealt with.

Stamina-gotta go with PBF here, but he’s never fought at 154 before so who knows if the added bulk will slow him down any. Note: Oscar stamina has been inconsistent from fight to fight. In some fights he did well in the championship rounds but in others did poorly and faded late. Given Oscar’s age though, I’ve gotta favor PBF here. Of the two, PBF should have the fresher legs!

Experience-no question DLH. Floyd has been in some big fights, but never a mega fight of this magnitude. Oscar has seen much adversity whereas Floyd really hasn’t because nobody he’s faced has been good enough to really test his heart and his will to fight in the trenches.

Jab-goes to PBF because of his speed, but this is an area where Oscar has done very well in past fights and Oscar does possess a very effective jab when he uses it. Also note that DLH’s jab is actually somewhat of a power punch for him because he’s naturally left handed so his jabs tends to sting a bit more than the average jab.

Overhand Right- PBF. But Oscar’s right has improved somewhat, and based on footage I’ve seen of Roach working with DLH, it looks like he’s extending it and getting more power out of it. Oscar’s right was effective in his most recent win against Mayorga. In the past Oscar used the overhand right to keep his opponent honest, but in this fight he’s promised PBF that he will KO him with the right hand. PBF has a very sneaky counter right hand, and look for him to try to land it frequently as Mosley did against DLH in their fights.

Hooks-DLH. No question that PBF would be mistaken to get in a “hooking” war with DLH. Oscars left hook to the head or body is really what PBF needs to avoid if he plans to hear the final bell.

Uppercuts-DLH. No question Oscar’s uppercuts will do more damage. With the shoulder-roll style, PBF does also have a sneaky right uppercut but no left uppercut to speak of. Because DLH is naturally left handed he has a sneaky left uppercut from the orthodox stance, but can also nail you with the right uppercut as well.

Body punching-DLH. Often when a fighter climbs up in weight it’s the body punching that takes the starch right out of him, and look for Oscar to land very effective jabs and hooks to the body of PBF who not long ago campaigned as a jr welter and most recently as a welter. I will be surprised to see PBF throw many body shots, because in order to do this he will have to get within range of Oscar’s power shots. Look for PBF to throw effective combinations to the body when they get into or come out of the clinches.

Accuracy-PBF. His speed has allowed him to dominate this area in all his fights. PBF has made a career out of beating guys to the punch!

Chin/Ability to take a punch-DLH. No question Oscar has tasted leather from and dealt with much bigger punchers than PBF. Only question is if Floyd will be able to stand up to DLH’s famous left hook or will he get wobbled and dropped like Mayorga, Vargas, Quartey, and a long list of others. Note: Roger, Floyd Sr, and Jeff Mayweather were not exactly known for their granite jaws. DLH’s body punching could become a factor in this fight, and mark my word that Oscar will be targeting the body in this fight-that is if he fights an intelligent fight. My guess is that he learned a very important lesson in his loss to Hopkins. Also, PBF was wobbled against the smaller Chop Chop Corley and Zab Judah.

Consistency-PBF. Like him or not, Floyd is undefeated. You can bring up his first Castillo fight if you want, but we all know he injured his hand. Oscar has been very inconsistent from fight to fight after his loss to Trinidad. Now when Oscar fights, we never know which guy is going to show up.

Heart-DLH. If you subtract the Hopkins fight and the Trinidad fight, it’s hard to question Oscar’s heart. I’m going to subtract both because Hopkins was just way too big for Oscar, and Oscar’s corner gave him bad advice in the last few rounds of the Trinidad fight by telling him he was way ahead on points and to just dance and box. Much like Roy Jones Jr Once was, PBF’s heart has yet to really be tested-which really just reconfirms to me how good he really is. For PBF this can be a really good thing, or a really bad thing. I do believe that Oscar has enough left in the tank to test PBF’s heart, but more importantly his chin and body. I also believe that Oscar’s heart could be tested too if he’s unable to deal with Floyd’s speed.

Defense-PBF. No doubt that PBF has more experience with the shoulder roll defense, and that Oscar’s been getting hit more lately. Defensively PBF is just about the best in the game. That being said, he’s still going to taste DLH’s punches-there’s no way around it.

Infighting-DLH. Look for big hooks and uppercuts from Oscar if the fight becomes an infight. My guess is that PBF won’t want any part of that, and will fight the majority of this fight from the outside. I do see some advantages for PBF coming out of or into a clinch.

Intelligence-DLH-according to Roger Mayweather, it is ring smarts that will earn PBF this victory. The only problem with that theory is that PBF still has not proven superior in this area over fighters of De La Hoya’s caliber. Oscar, on the other hand, has tons of experience and has been in with the best and smartest of this era. He’s had guys like Trinidad and Mosley baffled. Oscar even had the bigger and stronger Hopkins baffled for several rounds.

Cuts-PBF. Neither guy’s ever been stopped on cuts, but DLH has definitely bled more in his career and will be the more likely candidate of the two suffer facial lacerations. I must comment though that DLH tends to cut guys inside the mouth, and this was quite bothersome to guys like Chavez and Mayorga.

Injuries-DLH-both guys have been prone to hand injuries, and both guys are recovering from other injuries as well. When PBF breaks his hands though, it seems to affect his ability to fight moreso than Oscar. Oscar seems to just fight through the pain, and not complain or let anybody know about it until after the fight.

Gloves-DLH-they’ll be using the Reyes punchers glove in this fight. No question that Oscar is the bigger puncher of the two so this will work to his advantage.

Glove Oz-DLH-he’s fought with both the 8oz and the 10oz gloves whereas Floyd has not. I’m still not sure which they’ll be using. I’m hoping for the 10oz gloves though because I’d hate to see either fighter suffer a broken hand and not be able to fight at 100%. If the 10oz gloves are used, it could slow down PBF’s punches just a bit as well as reduce the power of his punches.

Ring Size-DLH-a smaller ring will definitely limit the amount of footwork and running that PBF can do. Oscar is a guy who will stand and trade if necessary, and rarely runs for cover.

Venue-TIE-Does anyone ever know what’s gonna happen in Vegas? Rest assured that if it goes to the distance there will likely be controversy.

Smacktalk-TIE-PBF has assumed the role of the bad guy, and has been talking all the smack, and I must admit that its been entertaining. DLH has taken the position of the experienced veteran and he’s let PBF talk all the talk. In the past, guys like Vargas and Mayorga paid dearly for the disrespect they showed to Oscar prior to the fight. Whereas guys like Hopkins and Mosley, who showed Oscar respect and didn’t talk smack, faired much better. My thinking it that it’s a mistake for PBF doing all this smack talk, but we’ll see if his bark is bigger than his bite come fight night.

Trainers-DLH-after watching HBO’s 24/7 it appears that the Roach-DLH combination is a good one. Oscar looks extremely fit for this fight, and appears to be punching with lots of speed and power. Note that Oscar appears to be extending his right hand moreso than in the past. Oscar’s camp looks very focused and under control. On the other hand PBF’s camp seems a bit disfunctional. You’ve got Uncle Roger who is fresh out of jail, and father Floyd Sr. who noboby really knows what role if any he’ll play in camp or on fight night? Roger seems to know it all, and doesn’t appear to want to head any advice from Floyd Sr. who obviously knows things about DLH that most don’t. My guess though is that PBF himself will get some inside tips on DLH directly from his father. Or maybe he’ll devise his entire gameplan with 50 cent aka “Curtis”?

There are so many intangibles in this fight its hard to say which advantages will allow one fighter to prevail over the other. Will Oscar be able to deal with Floyd’s speed and be able to counter and land with sharp effective punches? Can PBF absorb Oscars power? Has PBF bitten off more than he can chew? Is Oscar prime enough at this point in his career to deal with PBF? Will Oscar fade late? Will PBF’s punches carry enough pop at 154 to keep Oscar off of him? Will PBF be as effective at 154 as he has been at the lighter weights?

My Pick: I, like many other fight fans, am waiting for the fight where PBF is forced to stand and fight and take his share of punches-we want to see him get tested so we know if he’s as good as he thinks and says he is, and if he has heart. We certainly know he’s been talking the talk, but now let’s see if he can walk the walk! Honestly speaking, guys like Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, Zab Judah and Carlos Baldomir are nowhere on the same level as guys like Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley, Felix Trinidad, Pernell Whitaker, Julio Cesar Chavez. I believe that Oscar has the size, strength, speed, power, experience, and intelligence to test PBF like no one has to date. Afterall, it is PBF who is swimming in uncharted waters here in so many ways, but not so for Oscar. IMO, the outcome of this fight will mainly depend on how effective Oscar is able to land leather on PBF. Look for PBF to land more punches, but in the end I believe that the physically bigger and stronger Oscar will dish out more damage than what the smaller and faster Mayweather Jr. can take-in other words Oscars power shots will at some point take their toll on Mayweather. My prediction is that Oscar will land something significant at some point that will entirely turn the fight-either a left hook to the head or body. Despite the fact that Oscar is a 3 to 1 underdog, I like his chances very much. However, it will be a mistake for Oscar to make it a technical boxing match throughout, so Oscar will have to fight smart and pick his spots in order to put his share of effective punches on PBF. Speed does not necessarily equal victory, and when you watch fights like Tszyu vs Judah, Taylor vs Chavez I, and Duran vs Leonard I; it should serve as a reminder.

Article posted on 27.04.2007

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