Final Quest For Gold: Oscarís Chances In 2006

06.11.05 - By Andy Meacock: On May 6th 2006, Oscar de la Hoya will make his long awaited return to the ring against WBC light-middleweight champion Ricardo Mayorga. Oscarís successful career is well documented. He is an Olympic gold medallist, a winner of world titles in 6 different weight divisions and in recent years has started his own promotional company that is promoting such great fighters Marco Antonio Barrera, Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins.

So why after such a long career and after so many accomplishments does Oscar continue to look for more championship gold?

The honest answer is his ego and his legacy. Oscar de la Hoya has been at the top level for a very long time now. His name is the biggest that exists in boxing today and many glorify Oscar as the saviour of boxing in the 1990ís when Mike Tyson was locked away in prison.

That type of glorification and attention has made Oscar addicted to the limelight and he simply canít walk away just yet.

Now that glory I referred to just a moment ago has not quite been so obvious in recent years. Oscar has lost two of his last three fights and this has taken some of the shine of what has been a great career. I actually felt that his loss to Shane Mosley should have been a victory for the Golden Boy and I felt that his win over Sturm should have gone in favour of the German but thatís all history.

So how significant are these losses for Oscar de la Hoya when we look at the task ahead in May?

The answer is that I donít feel that Oscarís recent disappointments are as bad as they seem on the surface. When Oscar moved up to middleweight he entered a weight division that he simply wasnít big enough for, Oscar was out of his depth. The fact that he had such a poor showing against Felix Sturm was the writing on the wall for me, it was obvious that he would be unable to beat Bernard Hopkins. He was in a weight class that was 30lps above what he debuted and about to face the longest running middleweight champion in history. The whole thing spelt doom.

So if we take the middleweight disaster out of the equation, Oscarís career looks much more positive. Oscarís decision loss to Shane Mosley (second fight) in September 2003 was prior to his middleweight outing. In that fight he boxed beautifully at times and kept Mosley away for the majority of the fight. In my view he won that fight by at least 2 or 3 points but thatís all history. The point I make about Oscar is that his recent performances do not necessarily mean that he has nothing good left to produce in the ring.

So does Oscar have enough left to take out the current champion Ricardo Mayorga?

My answer is a resounding yes!. Oscar will beat Mayorga on May 6th, Iím sure of this. Mayorga won the championship off the limited Michele Piccirillo in a one sided affair. Prior to that fight he had lost to Cory Spinks at welterweight, laboured to victory over Eric Mitchell at light middleweight and then got destroyed by Felix Trinidad in 8 rounds at middleweight. So when you consider that people have been writing off Oscar de la Hoya, itís worth mentioning that Ricardo Mayorga has hardly been dazzling either.

I think Oscar knows that this is an important fight and I think he realises that Mayorga does have a punchers chance. With this in mind I expect an in-shape Oscar to dance around Mayorga all night, pepper him with jabs and hooks, on route to a unanimous decision. The chances of Mayorga getting a knockout over Oscar are unlikely when you consider that Oscar has taken on bigger punchers than Mayorga in the past and that he is by far the better technically than the wild Mayorga.

So I expect a unanimous decision victory for Oscar over a rugged but limited Mayorga.

I think we can expect an entertaining promotional campaign for this fight also when you consider whoís involved. On one side you have Oscar de la Hoya, Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley. On the other side you have Ricardo Mayorga and Don King. Throw in the possibility that Bob Arum may be involved and you have a crazy mix of individuals in the build up of this fight. Expect fireworks people!.

Now assuming Iím correct and Oscar wins then things will get really interesting. As well as fighting on May 6th, Oscar will be fighting on Mexican Independence weekend in the middle of September in which he promises will be his very last fight. Many names have been suggested as Oscarís opponent for this fight but it realistically boils down to three. Those names are Winky Wright, Fernando Vargas and Tito Trinidad.

Now I think in all likelihood Oscar would probably least want to face Winky Wright in his last fight. Winky is a very tight and efficient boxer with technical few flaws. Itís possible that at this stage Winky could embarrass Oscar and win a wide decision. This would be the last thing Oscar would want for his last fight.

I personally feel that either Vargas or Trinidad would be a better send off fight for Oscar. Vargas will be facing Shane Mosley next year, probably on February 15th. Now if Vargas can defeat Mosley then he puts himself in the frame for a big money rematch, but can he beat Mosley?

I think Vargas v Mosley is a pick em fight for me. Vargas is naturally more suited to fight at 154lps than Mosley but then I feel that Mosley is the faster, slicker fighter - plus Vargasí recent change of styles has hardly won him any new fans. Iím leaning towards a Mosley victory in this one but if Vargas can beat Mosley then the hype for a rematch with Oscar will build rapidly.

However, I think the fight that is most lucrative for Oscar is the rematch with Trinidad and itís probably the fight that most fans would like to see. When they fought at welterweight in 1999 they were both undefeated and both wanted to prove who the top man at 147lps was. Now this fight has probably caused the most arguments between fight fans since Ray Leonard defeated Marvin Hagler in 1987.

Trinidad won a mixed decision that night over Oscar and it is still hotly disputed today. Iíve seen the fight a few times and in my opinion Oscar de la Hoya won seven of the first eight rounds, which means that he should have won a unanimous decision. The problem with Oscar that night was that he decided to run for the last third of the fight which allowed Trinidad to win the final few rounds. I donít excuse Oscarís decision to run, Iím highly critical of it but the fact remains that he had clearly won seven of the first eight rounds making the win his.

Clearly there is unfinished business between Oscar de la Hoya and Tito Trinidad that needs to be resolved. So if I could choose who Oscarís last opponent would be, then it would definitely be Trinidad.

Despite what happens next year with Oscar de la Hoya I think that he will always a figure that generates mixed and heated discussions. Some people will call him a poor version of Ray Leonard and some will call him the best thing to happen to boxing in a couple of generations. However, I do think boxing fans will miss Oscar when he retires, regardless of if they like him or notÖ

Article posted on 06.11.2005

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