Re: Floyd Maywether v Oscar De La Hoya countdown has started
PICKING a winner when Floyd Mayweather challenges Oscar De La Hoya for his WBC light-middleweight title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas tonight is no easy thing.
Every man and his dog (especially if that man is a diamond-encrusted
rapper or NBA superstar) seems to have had his say on the outcome, but the bookies reckon that slick, young Floyd should be the big favourite and have him at a best-priced 8-15.
Its hard to argue against that. Rated pound-for-pound the best in the world, he is unbeaten after 37 fights and has never really looked in trouble in any of them.
Blessed, as he constantly reminds us, with unbelievable speed, quick hands, phenomenal stamina, great defence and a clever boxing brain, Pretty Boy is a natural in the ring.
Mayweather will look to weather an early storm – hitting and moving,
using his speed and footwork to make his opponent miss and waste valuable energy. And above all, he will not want to get dragged into a brawl with the Golden Boy – who has a big size advantage.
But the size issue cannot be overlooked. This is Mayweather's debut at light-middleweight (11st) and he has only ever boxed above light-welterweight (10st) three times.
Until as recently as November 2001 he was still a super-featherweight, and it is not known whether Mayweather's quick rise through the divisions to light-middleweight will have an adverse effect on his power and ability to take punches. Many suspect it will.
Certainly, he has never been in with someone of De La Hoya's power and at this bigger weight it could tell early in the fight. De La Hoya has been
fighting the best in the world at welterweight and above for almost a decade.
But even he knows what happens when you try to move up too many divisions too quickly. In September 2004 he beefed up to middleweight to face Bernard Hopkins and was stopped with a body shot in the ninth – the only time he's ever been knocked out.
And remember when Ricky Hatton moved up to welter to face Luis Collazo? The Hitman couldn't take his power with him and had to move back down for his next fight after a big scare.
This is De La Hoya's eighth match at light-middleweight or above (all world championship fights) and his list of opponents reads like a who's who.
So what if he's lost afew? Mayweather is undefeated, but De La Hoya has taken on the best, and lots of them. Mayweather has never been in with anyone as good as Hopkins, Shane Mosley, or Felix Trinidad, and if he had his record may be far different.
It remains to be seen whether the time De La Hoya has spent out of the ring will be detrimental or advantageous. This is only his second fight since he was KO'd by Hopkins, but the same questions where raised when he took on Ricardo Mayorga after 21 months out and he answered his doubters with a fantastic stoppage in six rounds.
Two such talented boxers, combined with so many unknown factors, makes this well worth staying up into the early hours for – but not the sort of fight you should stick your mortgage on either way. You can find valid reasons why both men can win, and why either could be worth backing.
Hills reported a lot of interest in Mayweather winning by KO, although his unspectacular knockout record combined with a three-inch height disadvantage and that weight issue would suggest that will not be the outcome.
His slick style may impress the judges if it goes the distance – and it's bound to be very close if it does – but De La Hoya is a very clever fighter with many gameplans to call upon if things seem to be slipping away.
Mayweather could be too quick to catch, but at 15-8 De La Hoya is massive value in such a close contest. And don't rule out a draw – this is Las Vegas after all.