Mayweather/De La Hoya: Is Floyd Seasoned Enough For Oscar?

floyd mayweather jr.14.07.07 - By Tim Neilson: With only four short months to go before Floyd Mayweather Jr. (37-0, 24 KO's) takes on thirty-three year old Oscar De La Hoya (38-4, 30 KO's), which will likely be the biggest fight in boxing history takes place, one question that comes to mind when I consider Mayweather's qualifications: How does it happen that a fighter like Mayweather, 29, who has yet to take on a tough challenger, someone like Ricky Hatton or Antonio Margarito, be so adored and fawned over by his love-sick fans, many who seem to be blind to his lack of tough challengers, not to mention his offensive/defensive weaknesses. Admittedly, Mayweather has beaten the opposition set in front of him, one by one, but all of this, of course, needs to be taken with a grain of salt due to the overall quality of his opposition.

For the most part, Mayweather has beaten fighters that are arguably on the downward portions of their perspective careers, such as Arturo Gatti, Sharmba Mitchell, and Zab Judah.

In each case, their all sound opponents, yet not the type of tough fighters that should earn Mayweather such an infallible reputation by many of his loathsome, worshipping fans. At times, it's sickening to observe them go on about Mayweather, lofting him to the heavens as if he were a god reborn, instead of a mere fighter that has yet to take on the toughest challengers in either the Super light weight and Welterweight divisions.

In terms of being a good boxer, I wouldn't argue with Mayweather being considered a decent, if not a tough, boxer. To be sure, he looks good in his fights, even when gingerly slapping at his opponents and running perpetually away from the heat of the battle. Consider, for example, how Mayweather was able to fight his last opponent, Carlos Baldomir, and make him look very ordinary, all without getting so much as a scratch in the process. Really effective, was Mayweather in skillfully controlling the action, though excruciatingly boring for me to watch him. To be honest, I donít get to see a lot of fights that are hyped as half as much as this fight, but the ones I do see have been much easier to watch than his last bout against Baldomir.

Most people, unfortunately, aren't as good at analyzing Mayweather's fights and putting things into perspective as I am. People see Mayweather winning, looking good and immediately seize upon the fantasy of him being another Muhammad Ali-type boxer. It seems that most of us need heroís that we can propel into fantasy, thinking of them as having all the attributes that we've always wanted to possess, even if it is a wretched self deception that we play on ourselves.

Fantasy is, I suppose, a much needed glue that the male reptilian brains needs to keep from going utterly insane from his own, often mundane, existence. Seen in these terms, itís easier to understand how seemingly intelligent fans could prematurely hoist Mayweather as the top pound-for-pound boxer in all of boxing, no matter how absurd it may seem to the rest of us with a more deeper understanding of boxing history. There are countless examples of boxers, through no fault of their own, have been touted as the next great champion, only be quickly struck down once they meet a particularly tough opponent. However, boxing has, regrettably, made it possible for fighters to avoid having to fight the toughest matches, easily being able to side-step a hard punching opponents.

Knowing all this, it would seem abundantly clear that Mayweather is likely to be in way over his head come May 5th, when he faces the taller, quicker, stronger, and more experienced De La Hoya, a fighter that has faced numerous fighters that are, perhaps, even better than Mayweather. Though De La Hoya has lost to most of them (Shane Mosley, Tito Trinidad, and Bernard Hopkins), he has been very competitive with each one, and come close to beating them. The main difference is, they were close to being the same size, and weight as De La Hoya, whereas Mayweather is considerably smaller and weaker than De La Hoya. In the end, the combination of superior size, experience and speed will be too much for Mayweather to cope with, and ultimately, weíll see that he was no more ready for a fight with De La Hoya than Jeff Lacy was with Joe Calzaghe.

Article posted on 14.01.2007

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