Boxing


De La Hoya/Mayweather: The pre-fight debate is all about business

02.05.07 - By Zhenyu Li: Feeling the heat that filled up the Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather press conference, the first thing that came up to my mind was, how much of it is real, and how much for show? In the conference, Mayweather appeared to be extremely cocky and insolent, talking trash about De La Hoya. De La Hoya reacted to Mayweather's aggressive words and behaviors in his own way. He swore to exact his revenge in the ring. The heat was turned up. Your appetite was turned up..

Wait a minute. Doesn't this plot sound a little familiar? Also a once in a century mega fight, Mike Tyson brawled with Lennox Lewis during the press conference that almost turned into a riot.

Actually, this kind of promoting gimmick runs on a common basis. Muhammad Ali composed sarcastic nicknames for his opponents. Joe Frazier was the "Gorilla", Floyd Patterson the "Rabbit" and Earnie Shavers the "Acorn". Ricardo Mayorga hinged on his vulgar antics. He even said that he wanted to have sex with De La Hoya's beloved wife in their pre-fight press conference. Before Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales had their rubber match on Nov. 27, 2004, Morales' promoter was more than pleased to describe the intensity of both fighters' shared hatred.

Now, we can hardly see a mega fight without each fighter grabbing a microphone and saying trash talks.

However, the touting is also a technique designed to provoke agitation, dismantle the opponent's confidence and make him lose control of his mind. An angry mind is a cluttered mind. And a cluttered mind is a sign of failure.

So, how much of it is real, and how much for show?

Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather are very shrewd businessman. They both know how to promote a fight.

Fearing that anyone think that a fight is a fight is a fight, they managed to forge an epic sage of good vs. evil. De La Hoya represents the good guy who always smiles and speaks gently, sometimes appears annoyed by his opponent's extreme trash talks and behaviors but never takes the low road while Mayweather acts the evil, mocking De La Hoya, saying bad words to him and behaving in a overly arrogant way which could incur negative feedbacks from the majority. He sacrificed his public image for profits.

In my mind, the pre-fight debate between the Golden Boy and Pretty Boy is all about business.


By Zhenyu Li, senior writer for People's Daily online. He can be reached at zhenyuli_cn@sina.com.

Article posted on 02.05.2007



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