Mayweather defeats de la Hoya in a forgettable fight

09.05.07 - By Evan Young, Floyd Mayweather defeated Oscar de la Hoya by split decision in their highly anticipated fight at the MGM Grand Hotel Casino in Las Vegas last Saturday night. This was a fight that brought back memories of mega fights such as Ali/Frazier I, Leonard /Duran I, Hagler/Hearns and Hagler/Leonard that non boxing fans would pontificate about. Many people who couldnít care less about boxing would ask me about the fight. Was this 1980 or 2007? It seemed like Dťjŗ vu all over again. I think itís a great thing that non fans are talking boxing. It certainly proves that if the sport is marketed correctly it can increase in popularity..

But people need to connect with the fighter for that to happen. De la Hoya has been laying that foundation since 1992 when the handsome kid from East Los Angeles captured Olympic Gold in Barcelona, Spain, fueled by his loving motherís recent death. Tyson had a well publicized story that drew similar adulation early in his career. He then became a walking train wreck which kept him in the spotlight but for different reasons. But thatís another story.

What bothers me is that there are so many worthy active fighters today and the average guy who follows sports have not heard of any of them. They think that boxing isnít even happening anymore yet there are nationally televised fights every weekend. People would be surprised to know that boxing cards take place virtually every day of the year around the world. I donít think this fight will bring all the non fans back but it is good that an awareness of the sport was awakened. It would be terrific if a few fighters could take the mantle and carry the sport to some degree.

The fighters need two main ingredients; they must have a compelling story or some sort of appeal and they must be able to fight like hell. There are plenty of terrific fighters but they are mainly small foreign national boxers which do not appeal to main stream America. If someone is a true boxing fan they simply appreciate great talent no matter what their origins are. But most people want to know or relate to the fighter. Mixed Martial Arts is getting great exposure and it has created a younger fan base which ensures that that sport will have fans for many years to come. Boxing will always be around and will always have a strong niche market but I believe the potential is there to increase its popularity. Unfortunately, the fight itself wasnít very compelling. The event was obviously huge but the fight itself was probably a C-. It wasnít the worst fight ever but there wasnít too much drama or clean punching.

I thought this was a close fight that could have gone either way or even been a draw. I did pick de la Hoya to win. De la Hoya tried to take the fight to Mayweather early on, and he did have some success, but the fight was marred by a lot of clinches and inactivity. Mayweather seemed content to do just enough to keep it close and when he sensed de la Hoya slowed down or stopped doing what worked for him, Mayweather would then capitalize. This was a fight I believe that de la Hoya could have won. He was ahead on two judgeís cards going into the 10th round and was able to render Mayweatherís offense impotent when he stuck his stiff left jab at him. De la Hoya was able to land that punch cleanly and when he did, Mayweather would back straight up and often to the ropes which put de la Hoya in punching position.

But in the 10th round de la Hoya abandoned the jab and was simply stalking and standing in front of the speedy Mayweather. When de la Hoya didnít advance, he made things quite easy for Mayweather. Mayweather was free to punch and move and thatís just what he did. He must have been grateful for de la Hoyaís abandonment of what was working because it opened the door for a close win. And thatís just what he got. One judge gave Mayweather the last 3 rounds which alone cost him the fight. If one of those rounds came in for de la Hoya it would have been a draw and if he won 2 of those 3, he would have copped the decision.

There was some sort of odd controversy after the fight regarding the scoring. There was a question of whether the judgeís scores coincided with the color of the fighter's respective corners. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer voiced objections but elected not to pursue anything and simply accept the defeat. It seems when this issue was discovered, everyone involved had left the building. At this point I donít think it will be pursued any further and weíll never really know what actually, if anything happened.

I donít want to see these guys have a rematch. It wasnít compelling enough to put these guys in the ring together again. Iím fairly certain it would be another close dull fight. I hope de la Hoya packs it in. Heís got no where else to go and eventually bad things will happen if he sticks around too long.

As for Mayweather, he says heís retired, and that would be OK by me but at some level I would feel disappointed if he goes away without getting it on with dangerous young bucks like Antonio Margaritio and Miguel Cotto. Mayweather has got the money, recognition he so coveted and is certainly an excellent fighter but I think if he retires now he would not only be letting boxing fans down but I think heíd be letting himself down as well if he elects not to take that real dangerous test that truly great fighters actually crave and need.

All the great ones from Robinson, Ali, Leonard, Hagler and many others all had many career defining fights that people will remember as truly special. If Mayweather ends it now, he will leave without a really satisfying fight that will live on in perpetuity but perhaps he's not interested in cementing an unforgettable legacy. This fight will be behind us and long forgotten in no time at all. I want to forget it already.

On a sad note, modern day warrior Diego Corrales was killed in a motorcycle accident yesterday in Las Vegas. Rest in Peace Diego "Chico" Corrales. Anyone that follows boxing knows that Corrales pushed himself to the limit in the ring and is a fighter that insisted on putting himself in the toughest fights he could find and he engaged in battles that will be talked about for years to come. If only the talented Mayweather could say the same.

Article posted on 09.05.2007

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