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Looking Back – Oscar De La Hoya Vs. Floyd Mayweather

De La Hoya vs. MayweatherIn the All Access specials and in interviews, Oscar De La Hoya has mentioned that he has the blueprint to beating Floyd Mayweather. And based on his split decision loss, he’s definitely come the closest of late to solving the Mayweather mystery. Like Canelo Alvarez, he was the bigger fighter. But did De Lay Hoya really have the blueprint?

Duan and I are going to look back at the biggest money fight in boxing history. It happened over six years ago at the same MGM Grand Arena that Mayweather vs. Canelo is happening at.

We will score the fight as if it was live with comments from each of us after each round.

May 5, 2007
MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Super Welterweight bout

Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather

Opening thoughts

Duan: I remember when I watched this live I felt Oscar had a realistic shot at getting the nod, but I also remember him fading fast down the stretch, smothering much of his own work and not getting a whole lot off in the last quarter. If the judges were of the opinion he let it slip away in those round, I’m not sure I could have made a strong case to contradict them. I guess that’s what we find out here.

GG: I really don’t remember much about this fight. I remember being caught up in the hype with a house full of people and Mayweather looking good, but not great. I thought De La Hoya looked slow, but seemed to be fighting a fight that judges like. I was actually surprised at the closeness. This will only be my second time watching it.

R1

Duan: It’s nice to hear Emanuel Steward’s voice again. Floyd took the first, but it was a round that gave both guys something to build on. De La Hoya had one big flurry that mostly missed, and a handful of potshot swings to the body, making his gameplan clear and bringing the crowd to life. Mayweather picked his shots and moved, staying out of danger and not giving Oscar time to properly set his feet. Floyd’s frame looks absolutely huge for him in this fight. I already get the sense he did the weight wrong from just the first 3 minutes.

10-9 Mayweather

GG: Buffer introduced Floyd as “Pretty Boy”. Is that the last time he was introduced as that? Mayweather wins the round simply by getting off first. De La Hoya seemed to try to figure out his pace and didn’t do a lot of punching on his own.

10-9 Mayweather

R2

Duan: Oscar straightens up his punches a bit and starts finding some success. Mayweather really has a lot of problem defending his jab. It’s odd to see him being beaten to the punch, but that’s what happened in round 2. He’s getting the range wrong and leaving just enough of a target for Oscar to connect with.

10-9 De La Hoya

GG: That was a good round for Oscar. After feeling him out in round 1, he found his range and actually connected. The fans were certainly behind him in the round. He had Mayweather against the ropes some of the round too.

10-9 De La Hoya

R3

Duan: De La Hoya took this round in the first 30 seconds. He had Mayweather backing up and in real discomfort, working off the lead jab and following it up with combinations of hooks and rights. It may have emptied the tank a little though because he had next to nothing in the remainder of the round.

Steward says: “Whether you land a clean shot on Floyd is not that important, hit him on the elbows, the shoulders, anywhere; and just hope the weight will wear him down”. It’s advice Canelo would do well to heed on Saturday.

10-9 De La Hoya

GG: That was another good round for De La Hoya. It wasn’t as much the punches he landed as much as his bigger presence, guiding Mayweather backward and putting him on the defensive.

10-9 De La Hoya

R4

Duan: This is the second round in a row in a row I gave to Oscar on the strength of a single burst, and it’s also the second round I believe cost him more than it was worth. He got Mayweather up against the ropes, roughed him up some, and unloaded with probably a dozen or more hard shots. He’s fighting like it’s round 12 already. Too much emotion for this early in the bout.

10-9 De La Hoya

GG: Mayweather’s defense is so excellent. There are opportunities for De La Hoya to land and Mayweather is out of distance so quickly. And on the inside, Mayweather’s the much more accurate puncher. He’s figured out De La Hoya’s distance now and is out of dodge before Oscar can touch him.

10-9 Mayweather

R5

Duan: Uncle Roger has this one pretty much figured out. He can see Oscar starting to wilt. This is Floyd’s best round in a while and possibly an important juncture in the match. He stood his ground for the first time, and he was able to hurt De La Hoya a couple of times, showing that he was physically strong enough to do it. His defense has tightened up and he’s scoring nicely off the counters.

10-9 Mayweather

GG: There’s a point in the round with about 1:15 left where De La Hoya backed Mayweather up against the ropes and came in with wide hooks to the body. Floyd blocked all of them. Then he threw one right hand that landed flush. De La Hoya tried more wide hooks. Blocked. One more right hand from Mayweather lands flush again. The speed difference is bigger now than it was at the beginning.

10-9 Mayweather

R6

Duan: This was a slower round which you would usually favour Floyd in, but Oscar was able to mount enough little rallies to out work him. The commentators probably oversold the strength of De La Hoya’s work in this session, but he did enough to clinch it.

10-9 De La Hoya

GG: While it was De La Hoya’s best round since the third, I think Mayweather still landed the cleaner shots. I think Mayweather knows that De La Hoya can’t hit him clean enough. And Oscar doesn’t think Floyd can hurt him. So we’re in a bit of a styles clash where Floyd is in and out and Oscar is willing to take a shot to get a cleaner look, which isn’t necessarily the way to win on points.

10-9 Mayweather

R7

Duan: That was a tricky round. Oscar turned in a huge effort early, but after about the first minute Floyd started to pick him off quite cleanly. There were two perfectly placed body shots in there just as you could see Oscar starting to visibly breath through his mouth. Those couple a punches may have been the difference in this one.

10-9 Mayweather

GG: Oscar started throwing more jabs which met Mayweather’s shoulder each time and Floyd just smiled after it was done. I do think this is the type of round that judges would give to Oscar because he was more active even though he missed a lot of his punches. But Floyd wasn’t really throwing back, almost like he took the round off.

10-9 De La Hoya

R8

Duan: This is the round I take exception with. Several of the earlier ones you could argue either way, but there is no way De La Hoya did enough to steal this session. He rallied a couple of times, but he wasn’t in any way effective. This was the most open he’s looked defensively and Mayweather ate him alive. Clear Floyd round.

10-9 Mayweather

GG: I would slightly disagree with the announcers here. Floyd’s connections were more flush. Oscar was using the jab better in the round prior and went back to flinging punches. I think Mayweather won the round, even though the announcers didn’t.

10-9 Mayweather

R9

Duan: I think at this point a lot of people had gotten caught up in the underdog story and were starting to look for rounds to give to De La Hoya that would push him over the finish line. He got off with one big flurry against the ropes here…..and missed with almost every shot. The precision punching is coming from Mayweather and it’s getting more pronounced as the rounds tick by.

10-9 Mayweather

GG: When De La Hoya gets inside, he throws wild hooks that have no chance of landing. The crowd gets excited, but they aren’t coming close to touching Floyd. Floyd’s hitting his target, though not throwing as many punches. De La Hoya is not hitting his target close to as often, but is throwing way more punches.

10-9 Mayweather

R10

Duan: Plodding pressure now from De La Hoya. He’s starting to look really ragged. Speed and skill have left, it’s just will and guts that remain. This is the first time in the fight Floyd has really started to look like the Floyd were used to seeing; the guy who makes his opponent look like he’s operating in slow mo, the one who is always those couple of steps ahead. He bangs in a hard shot at the bell that may have buzzed Oscar.

10-9 Mayweather

GG: Oscar looked slow and old in the round. Mayweather didn’t do anything differently, but he was letting everyone know that he could hit Oscar and Oscar couldn’t hit him back. From a narrative standpoint, this is where Oscar slowed down and got tired.

10-9 Mayweather

R11

Duan: The genius of Mayweather now beginning to shine through. Once he’s given that space to work, he dominates. De La Hoya does land with a hail mary swing late. It’s his best shot in four rounds. I’m certain it gave him the round on some peoples’ cards. He didn’t win it.

10-9 Mayweather

GG: Lampley called it a sparring session. Oscar wasn’t throwing punches until the very end of the round and Mayweather played with him for the rest of it. He measured him and hit him. Oscar lunged, and didn’t hit Mayweather.

10-9 Mayweather

R12

Duan: A massive effort turned in by a clearly exhausted De La Hoya in the twelfth. It opens up some as both buys brawl to a finish and that evens the playing field at least somewhat. I don’t think Oscar deserved to lose the round, but I can’t give him it either. I will give it a split.

10-10

GG: I guess you could give Oscar that round. If that energy was there in the previous four, he could’ve come close on my card to beating Mayweather, but really, you can’t give the fight to a guy who simply couldn’t hit the other guy.

10-9 De La Hoya

Winner: Floyd Mayweather by split decision

The judges scores were 115-113 for De La Hoya and 116-112 and 115-113 for Mayweather.

Duan scored it 116-113 for Mayweather. GG scored it 116-112 for Mayweather.

Final Thoughts

Duan: This bout was better than I remembered, but Mayweather’s performance was worse. I don’t know if it was Oscar’s style, the weight, or what, but he looked off in this one. He only really came alive from 8 through to 12 and that was when De La Hoya was running on empty.

So did Oscar have the blueprint? I’m not sure. The De LA Hoya we saw here was still a very good fighter. In his best moments, he bettered Mayweather, but he also had to put a lot into those rounds to do it. It wasn’t something he could sustain. If he could have done it for twelve then maybe against the Mayweather who showed up on this night, it would have been enough, but that’s a big if. One that requires Oscar’s skills, a below par Mayweather, and a gas tank like you wouldn’t believe. It’s probably asking a lot.

I think the lesson to take away from this though is that it’s not always a sparkling showing that makes a superstar. As far as performances go, this is way down the list for Mayweather, but it’s the one that has mattered most both for him and for the sport. This is the fight that turned him from a boxing star into an a million PPVs everytime draw. It’s something to think about.

GG: What I really wonder is if a young De La Hoya could’ve beaten this version of Mayweather. Maybe that young version isn’t as tactical, but he’s definitely quicker and probably hits Mayweather even more. Then again, he might not be that much stronger and some of those shots by Mayweather would’ve stung more at a lower weight.

Did Oscar have the blueprint? Like Duan said, he may have had the blueprint, but I don’t know if Canelo is as good as De La Hoya was to employ it. And even in employing it, he still lost.