Does De La Hoya Have Anything Left?
By Chris Williams: It’s sad to see when once great fighters stick around a little too long in the sport of boxing and end up taking a lot of punishment at the end of their careers. In most circumstances, fighters do it because they didn’t make enough money in their career. That’s what makes it seem so strange in the case of Oscar De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KOs). He’s a millionaire many times over and doesn’t need to keep fighting, especially now that he’s no longer fighting well.
In the past five years, he’s been beaten four times while only winning three fights over less than impressive opposition. His last fight, an eighth round stoppage at the hands of Manny Pacquiao on December 6th, was especially bad in the way that Oscar was so easily beaten by the Filipino star.
Since that fight, fans of Oscar have been quick to say that he was weight drained, that he had taken off too much weight and little strength for his bout with Pacquiao. There may be a grain of truth in that, but there’s no denying that Oscar looked poor against his other opponents in the past four years, losing to Bernard Hopkins, struggling to beat Steve Forbes and getting beaten by Floyd Mayweather Jr. by a decision.
And though De La Hoya looked good at times in each of those fights, I would give him little chance at beating any of the champions from the super featherweight division on up to the super middleweights. The sad thing is he’ll probably continue fighting, if only to prove to people that he’s not as bad as he looked against Pacquiao. I think he is.
Who he would fight is a mystery, because if he fights a champion in any weight class, De La Hoya will probably take a savage beating on the proportion of his loss against Pacquiao. And if he fights a washed up fighter like Felix Trinidad, people would probably care less if he wins because it won’t prove anything except that he can beat a fighter well past it.
I doubt that the boxing public could stomach watching De La Hoya fight Mayweather for a second time, which is something that De La Hoya had been preparing to do a year ago when Mayweather suddenly spoiled his plans and abruptly retired. A fight against Ricky Hatton also is less than attractive because of the huge size disparity between him and the smaller 5’7” Hatton.
Besides, De La Hoya would probably take a beating in that fight as well, and further spoil his once impressive legacy. I do think that De La Hoya has enough left in his to beat a lower level fighter like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., but that’s about it as far as the 1st tier fighters go.
I think De La Hoya would be beaten senseless by virtually all of the top 15 in the welterweight and light middleweight divisions. One would hope that he didn’t stoop so low as to pick a fighter from the super featherweight, lightweight or light welterweight class to fight again because it will make him look even worse than he did in originally opting to fight Pacquiao.
If De La Hoya gives it his all, I think he’s got enough to beat a young prospect but that’s about it. I think he’d take a lot of heat for fighting someone young and beatable, but that’s probably his only chance at beating anyone other than older fighter.