Three and Out for Oscar De La Hoya?
By Eric Marks (April 28, 2008) Doghouse Boxing  
Now that the Joe Calzaghe/Bernard Hopkins fire is slowly subsiding, we turn our attention to the annual Cinco de Mayo festival next weekend; which as always, features Oscar De La Hoya entering the ring with promises about his boxing career coming to a close. This year he claims he’ll fight three times in one calendar year and call it quits. Given De La Hoya changes his mind more than a politician, shall we believe the rhetoric in recent weeks spewing from ‘The Golden Boy’s’ mouth? The answer is yes and no.

While it seems likely that De La Hoya will fight three more fights beginning May 3rd, it is unlikely he will fight three times this year, leaving this writer to believe ‘Goldie’ will close the show May 2009 or possibly September 2009. Oscar has made it fairly clear he wants to go out in grandiose style, which could be achieved by beating pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. on September 20th. However, the fact the Oscar has publicly declared he wants three fights raises questions about his confidence in beating Mayweather in a rematch. He otherwise would not declare a third fight as a means to go out on top. Assuming he does beat former IBF junior lightweight titleholder Steve Forbes this coming weekend and lose to Mayweather, as most boxing fans expect to happen, he may not have an attractive opponent for December.

If this likely scenario plays out of beating Forbes and losing to Mayweather, De La Hoya will likely seek out a smaller opponent such as Ricky Hatton or Manny Pacquiao for his ‘farewell fight.’ The dilemma is there is a distinct possibility that Hatton and ‘Pac-Man’ will fight in the late fall presuming they win their upcoming fights. This would not leave much time at all for the winner to prepare for a showdown with De La Hoya in December nor would significant promotional time exist. And it is highly unlikely that neither Hatton nor Pacquiao will simply sit around all summer and wait for the Mayweather/ De La Hoya II outcome in September when they could fight each other in what would be a huge event; particularly since Oscar has not committed to anyone specific for a December fight.

Should ‘Goldie’ beat Mayweather, this confidence booster would certainly propel him to fight WBA welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto, something he has recently mentioned as a possibility. De La Hoya faces the same scenario in Cotto though as with Hatton and Pac Man: Cotto is fighting in July and is certainly not going to sit around and wait for outcome of Mayweather/ De La Hoya II, since it’s likely Floyd will prevail and unlikely Floyd will fight Cotto at this point in time. The larger point here is that all three likely candidates for De La Hoya’s ‘farewell fight’ will presumably have other opponents set to fight in late October or early to mid November. Therefore, a fight with Oscar in December is too soon and will not occur; hence De La Hoya will postpone his final fight until May 2009, especially if the opponent is Hatton or Pacquiao. Should De La Hoya upset Mayweather—and this is certainly possible given his left hook, motivation, and Floyd Jr. not being a hungry fighter anymore—Oscar would most certainly seek out Miguel Cotto for a May 2009 fight with the option of a September 2009 insurance policy if he can’t beat Cotto.

Of course this sentiment is only one opinion and anything can happen but the boxing aficionado must know by now that when De La Hoya speaks about his future fights or retirement, it is seldom written in stone and one tends to embrace his rhetoric with a kind of attentive skepticism. Maybe he’ll stick to his guns and go out with a bang in December, but until I see it I’m setting aside the first Saturday in May 2009 to watch Oscar De La Hoya fight.

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