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De La Hoya – Could He Have Found A Better Opponent Than Forbes?

By Jim Slattengren: With this past week’s news that Oscar De La Hoya (38-5, 30 KOs) is reportedly set to fight his tune-up bout against former star from “The Contender” reality TV series light welterweight Steve Forbes (33-5, 9 KOs) on May 3rd at the Home Depot Center, in Carson, California, I kind of wonder why De La Hoya, 35, didn’t opt to fight at better opponent than him. At least pick a fighter that is a legitimate welterweight and not a fighter that has fought virtually his entire career at 140 lbs. Of course, De La Hoya had to pick someone, and most people assumed it would be a fighter with little boxing skills or ability with which to make it tough on the aging De La Hoya.

The tune-up against Forbes is a prelude to another huge mega-bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr., which will be taking place on September 20th. De La Hoya, naturally, didn’t want to potentially mess that up by taking on a top 20 welterweight, since many of those fighters would make it extremely tough on De La Hoya to pull out the win at this stage in his career. However, in choosing Forbes, De La Hoya will be getting a fighter much smaller than him, while at the same time getting a very beatable light welterweight in the bargain.

Currently, Forbes is ranked #15 in the IBF, and that’s perhaps pushing it a little. He’ll have his hands completely full with De La Hoya, who will probably have to try not to knock the guy early. Forbes’s claim to fame is a 10-round split decision victory over former Olympian Francisco Bojado in October 2007. Before that, however, Forbes was soundly beaten by Demetrius Hopkins and Grady Brewer in 2006 & 2007.

If De La Hoya wanted to pick a junior welterweight as an opponent, then why didn’t he chose someone a little better, someone like Randall Bailey, Vivian Harris or Lamont Peterson. De La Hoya, with his skills, would have been able to beat any one of them while at the same time satisfying fans by beating a good fighter with a decent name. Forbes, however, may be a decent fighter, but he’s not at the level of the fighters I’ve listed nor is he big enough to take on De La Hoya. This is going to be a potentially one-sided fight, and it will likely do nothing in terms of preparing De La Hoya for Mayweather.

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