15 years ago today: Oscar De La Hoya triumphs in his biggest Grudge-Fight as he KO’s Fernando Vargas

As he approaches the biggest Grudge-Fight of his promotional career, Oscar De La Hoya can today look back on the biggest, nastiest Grudge-Fight of his own ring career: the one with “Ferocious” Fernando Vargas.

This fight, appropriately dubbed “Bad Blood,” was a 154 pound clash that managed to live up to its considerable hype. Simply put, these two warriors did not like each other; Vargas especially having an intense dislike for “The Golden Boy.”

As a result, the two traded insults and threats ahead of the fight that would go down at The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on September 14 2002 (after a short postponement delayed the fight, the delay forcing the fight to be held up for four weeks – Oscar having injured his left hand in training).

When they finally climbed into the ring for warfare – De La Hoya sporting a 34-2 record, Vargas being 22-1 at the time – the two stars who were pretty close to their absolute peak did not disappoint the fans. Both men bled during the exciting, fast-paced battle and plenty of power punches were unleashed from both sides. For the first six rounds or so, it was an even battle, but then De La Hoya, in superb physical condition, took over.

De La Hoya’s left hook proved to be an incredibly hurtful weapon, and in the 10th, “The Golden Boy” cracked Vargas with his wicked left, hurting and badly wobbling his rival. The bell saved “El Feroz,” not doubt about it. But not for much longer. In the 11th, De La Hoya again unloaded his left hook, sending Vargas to the mat. Courageously, Vargas got up and then tried to fight back as best he could, but De La Hoya, biding his time, knew the fight was over with.

Some terrific combinations blasted Vargas and the ref had seen enough, jumping in to save the gutsy but out of it Vargas. It was, in all likelihood, De La Hoya’s most exciting ring victory, as well as his most satisfying victory from a personal level.

Now, will we get as great a fight on Saturday night when Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez rumble in their massive middleweight showdown? And will De La Hoya emerge as a winner this time around – courtesy of his fighter doing the business?

Fans love a Grudge-Fight, and though the trash-talking ahead of GGG-Canelo has not been as nasty or as full-on as it was ahead of De La Hoya-Vargas, there is certainly some bad blood attached to the fight dubbed “Supremacy.”