De La Hoya: I would have beaten Mayweather if I was younger
By Dan Ambrose: Former 6 division world champion Oscar De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KO’s) said today that he feels he would have beaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. (45-0, 26 KO’s) if the two of them had fought while he was in his prime of his career instead of at the end of it. De La Hoya was 34-years-old when he fought Mayweather in 2007, and he ended up losing by a close 12 round split decision by the scores 116-112 and 115-113 for Mayweather, and 115-113 for De La Hoya.
“Everyone has failed against Floyd Mayweather because he’s obviously the best,” De La Hoya said. “Explaining why 45 have failed to beat Floyd. He (Floyd) is slippery and tough to hit…this is my experience…I feel if I was younger I would have beat him.”
There’s no question that De La Hoya was near the end of his career at the time that he fought Mayweather in 2007. De La Hoya was slowing down, and he had fought only once in the past 3 years going into the Mayweather fight. At that point in his career, De La Hoya was a part-time boxer with one foot into retirement. He was still technically an active fighter, but he was fighting so seldom and mostly just picking out fights against big names.
During the prime of his career, De La Hoya beat Julio Cesar Chavez, Javier Castillejo, Arturo Gatti, Oba Carr, Hector Camacho, Fernando Vargas, Genaro Hernandez, Rafael Ruelas, John John Molina, Jesse James Leija, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Pernell Whitaker, and Javier Castillejo. However, De La Hoya also lost to Shane Mosley and Felix Trinidad. His win over a past his prime Whitaker was slightly controversial because that fight was very close.
The fact that De La Hoya failed against Trinidad and Mosley would seem to suggest that he wouldn’t have been able to beat Mayweather at any point in his career.
As fast as De La Hoya was, Mayweather was always faster and superior to him defensively. Mayweather was also a smarter fighter than De La Hoya, and that would have been a problem as for Oscar. Earlier in his career, De La Hoya was beating guys on size and speed alone. But that wouldn’t have worked against Mayweather, because he would have likely out-smarted De La Hoya and won a decision against him at that point in his career as well.
I always had the feeling that Mayweather took it easy on the 34-year-old De La Hoya in their fight in 2007, because it looked like he was fighting in 2nd gear for the first 6 rounds out of respect for him. It wasn’t until the last seconds that Mayweather shifted into 3rd and 4th and was able to come back to win the fight.