De La Hoya To Fight For The Final Time In December
By Eric Thomas: Oscar De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KOs) will reportedly be fighting for the final time on December 6th at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas against a still unnamed opponent. De La Hoya, who lost his original Floyd Mayweather Jr. for a bout that was supposed to have taken place on September 20th, is looking at a variety of opponents from Miguel Cotto, Felix Trinidad, Sergio Mora or Manny Pacquiao. Another potential opponent and the one that De La Hoya had the most interest in – Ricky Hatton – rejected an offer to fight De La Hoya, saying that he would prefer to go ahead and fight IBF light welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi instead.
Of the bunch that De La Hoya is currently interested in fighting, I highly doubt that Cotto or Trinidad will be the final choice for De La Hoya. Trinidad, 35, though a great fighter earlier in his career, he’s gone downhill considerably in the past seven years and has lost over half of his fights during that seven year span. Knowing that De La Hoya likes to mostly take on fighters that are still a challenge for him, he’ll probably not like the idea of fighting him at this stage in his career even though Trinidad previously defeated De La Hoya by a 12-round majority decision in September 1999.
Beating Trinidad at this point would be essentially meaningless for De La Hoya, because the time to have gone for revenge was back in late 1999 or in 2000, and it would seem pointless to fight Trinidad now that he’s no longer the same fighter he once was.
As for Cotto, he’s simply too young, too powerful and much too good for De La Hoya to fight. Cotto would likely beat De La Hoya senseless no matter how hard De La Hoya tried to stay from him and use his boxing skills to survive. Cotto cuts off the ring extraordinarily well, and would likely trap De La Hoya against the ropes and pound him into submission. It’s true that Cotto did have a lot of problems against Shane Mosley, beating him by a close 12-round unanimous decision in November 2007, but Mosley is arguably a better fighter than De La Hoya at this point in their careers and had enough left to make the fight close.
De La Hoya, however, isn’t as fast and wily as Mosley, and would be like a tall tree for Cotto, one that he would mow down in a short period of time. I think De La Hoya knows that, and will likely steer clear of him for his last fight in December. That leaves Sergio Mora, the former star from The Contender reality television boxing series and Pacquiao. Mora, a middleweight who recently moved down to light middleweight to defeat Vernon Forrest for his WBC title, isn’t the type of fighter that you can look good against. He doesn’t have much power, which is a plus for De La Hoya, but he’s an awkward defensive fighter who fights in short bursts of combinations. He would be a difficult fighter for De La Hoya to beat even in his prime, because his style is somewhat like heavyweight John Ruiz and is difficult to solve. That’s not to say that he’s unbeatable, because his style has difficulties against pressure fighters with power.
A powerful light middleweight like Alfredo Angulo or James Kirkland would make mincemeat out of Mora and give him a thorough beating. De La Hoya, however, doesn’t have a pressure fighting style, and would give Mora too much space with which to set up his frustrating offense attacks. Besides that, it would probably be a fight that the boxing fans would hate. Many in the audience were booing Mora’s fight with Forrest a couple of weeks ago, mostly for the same reasons I listed above about Mora’s style of fighting.
That leaves Pacquiao, a super featherweight, as the final option. This may not be an appealing fight when you look at it initially given the huge 20 pound weight advantage that De La Hoya has over Pacquiao, but it would be a fight that would attract a lot of attention considering that Pacquiao is one of the top fighters in all of boxing. Perhaps best of all, De La Hoya would likely make it out of the fight without suffering a humiliating beating like he would in a fight against Cotto. Pacquiao, for his part, would be giving up five inches in height and six inches in reach against De La Hoya.
With that kind of size advantage, De La Hoya could stand back and safely peck Pacquiao apart from the outside, and rarely take punishment from him. Naturally, it’s not a particularly appealing fight as far as fairness goes, since Pacquiao is so much smaller than De La Hoya, what the heck; at least De La Hoya will go out on a winning note without taking a beating. At the same time, he’ll get one last huge payday to take with him to his retirement.