Speed kills, they say. In the boxing ring, without speed, it’s gonna be a tough, tough battle. Timing can overcome speed, but, more often than not, the boxer with the faster hands and feet will emerge triumphant – see Muhammad Ali-Sonny Liston for a classic and obvious example (you can think of plenty of others, no doubt).
Oscar De La Hoya, who was no slouch when it came to being fast with his hands and with his feet, fought a number of speedy operators during his great career (a career that may well resume next year; De La Hoya still training and looking at a ring return at age 47). But who was the fastest guy “The Golden Boy” ever met? Interestingly, De La Hoya names a man who had BOTH great speed and timing.
Speaking with FightHub, the former multi-weight world champ had a pretty swift answer to the question of who was the fastest opponent he ever encountered – and it’s neither of the names listed in the above headline.
“I would have to go with Floyd Mayweather. I mean, Floyd Mayweather was a fighter who was very intelligent, very smart, very calculated,” De La Hoya said. “And the reason I will say he was the fastest – because Pernell Whitaker was the fastest – but his timing of punches was precise. And that’s where I would have to give Floyd Mayweather the most credit and the most respect.”
As fans know, a 34 year old De La Hoya put in a spirited effort against a 30 year old Mayweather in their massively hyped “The World Awaits” fight of May, 2007; with Mayweather, boxing out of his comfort zone as far as weight goes, up at 154, emerging with a hard-fought 12 round split decision. Mayweather was fast, no doubt about it. But was he at his fastest in that fight? It’s up to De La Hoya, of course, and he’s calling it as he sees it (and felt it).
But many fans will no doubt point at the blurring hands of Manny Pacquiao, who stopped a weight-drained Oscar in his final (perhaps) fight. And Sugar Shane, he was to some the owner of the fastest hands in all of boxing in 2000, when he decisioned De La Hoya in a great, great fight. As for “Sweet Pea,” his true genius was his impenetrable defence.
Again, it’s Oscar’s call, but if you were to run a poll, asking fight fans who was the fastest fighter out of Pacquiao, Mosley, Whitaker or Mayweather, I have a sneaky suspicion Pac-Man would come out on top. And the remarkable thing about Manny is, he carried his incredible speed, of both hand and of foot, up with him through the weights.
Speed kills, and Pacquiao used speed as his deadly weapon in so many brilliant fights.