Hopkins-De La Hoya: Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man

17.09.04 - By Neil Goodman: The boxing world is now braced for the eagerly await clash between De La Hoya and Hopkins, with the fight just over one day away. This fight has been dissected and analysed in everyway possible and from every angle. There is one common factor, every boxing analyst, fan and journalist has an opinion on this fight, the combatants and the potential outcomes.

Are the fighter overrated, are they underrated? Is Hopkins just a bully, who has fought a low grade of opposition*? Is De La Hoya overpaid and out of his depth? Is De La Hoya the new Sugar Ray, whilst Hopkins stands in as Hagler?

All the questions above have been raised and contemplated.

At this point I could easily go into the merits of both fighters, discuss their respective styles and careers to date, but to be honest we are all more than aware of the attributes and achievements (which when compared to other fighters of the current day and age are unquestionably very impressive).

Instead I would like to praise both Team De La Hoya (trainers, managers and promoters) and Team Hopkins for bringing this fight to realisation. I really did believe ‘something’ would happen to upset the apple cart and cause this fight to be consigned to the catalogue of fights which never were. Let us not be under any misapprehensions, this fight means a great deal to each of these boxers, purses aside, this is winner takes all.

It is probably worth noting that I, personally, have forgone the opportunity of getting splinters in my backside and jump off of the fence, in favour of backing the Hopkins camp. This said, whilst I stand by my prediction, I publicly would like to retract previous statements referring to this match up not being Super Fight.

As the hour draws nearer the feelings of anticipation and excitement grow, stronger and stronger. This fight really could be the shot in arm boxing needs, I now believe this fight and the fighters will match and even exceed the expectation heaped upon them. For each fighter, forget their previous victories, this could well be their defining fight. Even in defeat De La Hoya’s place in boxing history may become cemented (no-one knocks Ray Robinson for not winning the light-heavyweight title).

I initially thought De La Hoya would be overwhelmed and that the fight would fall well short of the Super Fight benchmark, even that the sense of occasion would be marred. But having seen and taken in De La Hoya’s demeanour at the press conference, I think he is coming into this fight very focused (with a dark sense of foreboding). Beware Bernard, you can not sit back and leave this one in the hands of the judges.

Good luck to each ‘Man’, each fighter and the sport of boxing.

* Some fighters treasure their belts and rely on this to assure their place in the annals of boxing. I personally think this is a commendable stance and the sport of boxing relies on each governing body rating each boxer fairly and objectively. In turn the governing bodies must enforce the champions mandatory defences etc, etc. Why should boxers give up their belts and become ‘Peoples Champions’?

Article posted on 17.09.2004

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