The World awaited and the World got Oscar vs Floyd. Was it worth the wait? Did it live up to the expectations? Maybe not, but the fight and the outcome should not have been surprising. We certainly were well aware of how these two fighters got to this point in their careers, and when matched up against each other, well we all saw the outcome; somewhat of a glorified chess match at the MGM Grand here in Vegas.
It was not due to lack of heart or courage by either fighter, it just was what it was. Floyd Mayweather is and will always be a defense first type of fighter. It is his best quality along with all the great speed and quickness he possesses. He thinks about not getting hit before hitting and ‘The Pretty Boy’ has faired pretty well fighting this way hasn’t he?
Oscar’s downfall in this fight was that he kind of lost the battle down the stretch run. I said in my column last week breaking down this fight that the left jab would be the key factor for De La Hoya and it was. When he used it he controlled the action and dictated the fight. In fact, as great as Floyd is defensively, he was actually very easy for Oscar to hit with the jab. For whatever reason or reasons, Oscar abandoned that punch just after the middle stages of the fight. Once he did that it enabled Floyd to get back in the fight because he was able to get his rhythm going. Oscar also became nearly a stationary target at times later in the fight. He was fighting only in spurts, not for 3 minutes of every round. De La Hoya simply cannot sustain an offensive attack throughout a round for 12 rounds, and you know when you really think about it, he’s been guilty of that before.
We saw him fade in several fights in his past most notably his controversial decision loss to Felix Trinidad. Oscar, although a clear first round ballot Hall of Fame fighter, would not have ever been a great 15-round fighter. He just does not have the stamina to really put forth his total effort for 45 minutes or even 36 minutes these days. Had Oscar been able to put forth just a little more effort late in the fight he would have gotten the decision. He may kick himself when he watches the replay because all he needed was the left jab. The great thing about a jab is it’s not only a great offensive weapon, but it is also a great defensive punch and it can carry you as a fighter when you are tired or in trouble. It’s about the one punch you can still throw when you dead tired. Believe me it saved me a few times in my brief career. Oscar simply could not or would not throw it consistently enough or he would have come out victorious.
Will the loss for De La Hoya do anything to tarnish his legacy in boxing? No, not in my opinion, he went in as the underdog. Had he won, it might have somewhat elevated him but the loss will not hurt him, and it certainly will not hurt his bank account!
What about Floyd? Will this victory finally give him the credit and adulation he has been clamoring for? No and the reason why is his style. Mayweather likes to say he is already the greatest fighter ever. Not a chance, and I have always been a Floyd fan. You cannot be one of the greatest ever without being a guy who takes chances and is concerned first with than not getting hit rather than hitting. The greatest fighter I ever saw, Sugar Ray Robinson, had some great defense, but he was first and foremost an offensive machine. Robinson was fast and quick and had great reflexes in his prime and he probably could have been just as defensive as Floyd but he chose to finish, he chose to take his opponents to school and then put them to bed.
Mayweather, and most fighters of today, are not cut from that cloth like the old school guys. Part of the problem is the way they train, they focus much more on the mitts doing the cutesy, fancy stuff rather than hitting the heavy bag which produces the knockouts. Will Mayweather ever change and become more aggressive? No, why should he? After all he’s unbeaten and is boxing’s pound for pound best, but he will never go down as one of the all-time best.
Since the fight ended in a split decision win for Mayweather we can expect a rematch right? Well not so fast. I am not really sure Oscar will want to put his body through what he went through for this fight again. I don’t mean the fight itself, I mean the more than two months of preparation he went through in preparation for the fight. And even if Oscar would put himself through the rigors again, he, in my opinion, can really do no better than what we witnessed last Saturday night. Oscar has done so much for boxing and with his company, Golden Boy Promotions; he can continue to do so.
As for Mayweather, he stated following the fight that he may retire. I asked him about that after the fight and I saw the twinkle in his eyes as he said he was not sure what he would do. Mayweather will fight again no doubt, he has not had all the mega paydays like Oscar has and in order to pad his now big account he will need to fight again.
In order to command another big payday he will have to go back to Golden Boy and I don’t mean De La Hoya, I mean Golden Boy Promotions. Mayweather will need to do that because that is who promotes ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley. I always felt Shane would be a more difficult match up for Mayweather than Oscar. After all he is faster than Oscar, stronger than Oscar and he does not fade down the stretch which is part of the reason he has a pair of victories over Oscar. Hopefully we will see that one sometime in the near future.
When all is said and done, Mayweather vs De La Hoya was not only very good for the sport it was GREAT for the sport. The reports and numbers are in and for those naysayers and doomsayers, well the reports of boxing’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. De La Hoya vs Mayweather did 2.15 million pay per view buys breaking all records. The live gate at the MGM Grand was over 19 million shattering all records. The fighters will probably make over 60 million between them, again surpassing all records. Take that UFC, and any of the mixed martial arts folks!
Well, unfortunately, I have to end this column with a heavy heart. As you all know by now, former two-time champion Diego Corrales was killed in a motorcycle accident Monday night here in Las Vegas. For whatever reason, I had an eerie feeling about Diego when I last wrote about him here at Fightnews. I was calling for him to call it a day after his last fight, a loss to Joshua Clottey. I can’t explain the feeling, but I felt it again when I heard the news of his passing Monday night. Apparently he was doing over 100 miles per hour on a bike he had just bought about a week ago. Diego at times was a somewhat daring fighter, even a little reckless at time. It is what made him some so much fun and thrilling to watch. Sometimes what a fighter does inside the squared circle parallels his life outside the ring. It is ironic that his death comes exactly two years to the night when he thrilled the sport with his scintillating come from behind and off the canvas win over Jose Luis Castillo in what was everybody’s fight of 2005. Diego was a good friend to my show IN THIS CORNER, as he was one of the first guests we ever profiled. We shot the show at his house with his lovely wife Michelle. We did the in-ring segment at a gym and something very eerie happened in that segment. Right when we were talking about the power punch to knock someone out cold, almost on cue, there was a huge lightning strike that cause all the power to go off in the gym. Diego leaves boxing with a very impressive record of 40-5. with 33 knockouts. More importantly, Diego leaves behind a lovely wife and beautiful children. We will never forget that night against Castillo two years ago and we will never forget Diego ‘Chico’ Corrales.
Let’s give a 10 bell count in memory of Chico. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. May God Bless his soul.