De La Hoya vs. Hatton: What If?

Oscar De La HoyaBy Ted Sares - The first thing that Nacho Beristain told me when we started working together was 'I can bring out more power from your left hook.' And I looked at him and I said to myself, you must be crazy. --Oscar De La Hoya

I had to come to the United States to prove myself. I fought for a long time in England and a lot of people thought I was a protected fighter. --Ricky Hatton

If the “Golden Boy” gets by Manny, another mega-fight--this time with Ricky Hatton--is not far fetched. But if they fought right now, here is how I see it playing out—and let me say at the outset that by heart is with Ricky but my brain says Oscar:

Records: A bit irrelevant at this point. Hatton is 46-1 and Oscar is 39-5. But at this stage in their careers, it’s what they have now that is most important, Given Ricky’s performance against Paulie Malinaggi and Oscar’s less than compelling win over granite chinned Steve Forbes, the edge here goes to Ricky. Indeed, he looked like the Ricky of old against “The Magic Man.”

Level of Opposition: Again, not as relevant though Oscar has fought an incredible number of top notch fighters during his storied career (his list of opponents including Hopkins, Mosley, Trinidad, Whitaker, and Chavez, reads like an inductee list into the Hall). But for me, it’s what happened in their last fight that is more important. Still, the fact that Oscar has rested his body carefully over the past few years by carefully picking his mega-pursed fights, while Ricky reportedly has a penchant for abusing his between fights, gives De La Hoya an edge that is somewhat offset by the manner in which his face was busted up by Forbes. On the other hand, Hatton’s greater activity might give him the advantage. I call this one a wash with an arrow pointing to Oscar.

Style: This is the most significant variable and the edge here goes to Oscar, as he is a complete fighter with a full arsenal while Ricky is a relentless pressure fighter who keeps coming and coming. I see Oscar’s devastating left hook playing a decisive role as Ricky will be set up by Oscar’s sharp jabs. Ricky might be capable of wearing De La Hoya down with good inside work and brawling tactics, but I don’t see that playing out. Recently, he has not shown the same menacing body work that he demonstrated so effectivley in the past. Bottom line: Oscar is no Juan Lazcano or Paulie, and if he hurts Hatton as Juan Lazcano did (and Louis Collazo and Mayweather), he quickly will close matters out--shoelaces or no shoelaces. He simply has more power.

Common Opponent: FloydMayweather Jr. Oscar loses a SD; Ricky is knocked out. Significantly, both fought PBF in the same relative time period.

Intangibles: Floyd Mayweather Sr. in Ricky’s corner gives him great insight into Oscar and this will help Ricky. But Oscar is ring savvy and will be well prepared with the talented Nacho Beristain in his corner. Oscar has a better ring IQ as well, though Ricky also knows his way arouind the square circle.

Ricky is 5' 7 and has a reach of 65’’ while The Golden Boy is much bigger at 5' 10½″ with a reach of 73.” This should give him a decisive advantage. If they fight this one at 145 or greater, a big edge goes to Oscar. Ricky is a light welterweight and when he fought a bigger Collazo and Mayweather, he struggled mightily. Oscar is naturally bigger. While much would depend on what catch weight they agree to, whatever it is, Oscar has a big advantage in dimeniosns.

The Manny Factor: De La Hoya has fought at or above 150 pounds in nine consecutive bouts. Against Pacquiao, the bout is set at 147 pounds. Manny is coming up from 135 and Oscar is coming down-- and I always like the guy who is coming down in weight. Manny last lost in 2005 at 130 pounds to Erik Morales and has fought at that weight until his recent slaughter of David Diaz at 135. De La Hoya believes he will punch harder than ever on December 6 despite having to drop down to welterweight. That will be the clearest indication of how he does against Hatton (assuming he wins).

In my view, Pacquiao is simply too small for Oscar, but this is not about Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya.

Outcome: Oscar by late round stoppage or dominant UD. He will overwhelm Hatton by the mid rounds and then press and close out the action with resounding hooks set up by jabs and a mix of right leads. Both fighters could be cut in this one, but they should not play a major role in the outcome.

Of course, should Manny defy all odds and win on Decmber 6 (as I hope he will), his next fight could well be against Hatton—and that would be an interesting, albeit difficult one to breakdown.

Article posted on 27.11.2008

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