|Oscar De La Hoya's final opponent will be Floyd Mayweather Jr - I Just Might Be Full Of S__t
By Coyote Duran, DoghouseBoxing.com (Aug 20, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
Just to warn ya, I don't have a line on anything; any source or insider who chooses to go on the record anonymously and I haven't been sneaking around outside private meetings with my ear connected to my Sangria glass, which is held firmly to the door. I simply call the following a minor conspiracy theory.
Oscar De La Hoya's final opponent will be Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In fact, I believe that this has been the plan all the way back to 'Money May's' 'retirement'; carefully orchestrated (more on that later), ‘X-Files’-style, so the end product results as a massive event involving the world's most skilled fighter and the world's most renowned fighter; from as far back as 1992 (the year of the original fall of Mike Tyson and De La Hoya’s professional debut) to present day. And if all the pieces of the shadowy puzzle fall into place, then we'll start seeing something in the official making right around late-September.
We all know Mayweather, 39-0 (25), was originally supposed to face De La Hoya, 39-5 (30), in September, in a rematch of the May 2007 fight when Floyd beat Oscar for the WBC super welterweight title via split decision. Of course, this is why De La Hoya faced Steve Forbes; as somewhat a preparation for the second Mayweather fight. Certainly, in the beginning, this was the case. But wrinkles do occur and they just happened to work to both De La Hoya and Mayweather's advantages. Hey, we're talking two businessmen here and if you've got the right kind of press (iron or media; they both work in this case), any wrinkles you've got can be smoothed out and you'll wind up looking real spiffy.
Dig: As Oscar got older, his fights became rarer occurrences and his opponent selection became more, well...selective. How Oscar holds up today, mentally and physically, is positively attributed to this and that's not so bad. To trail off as one ages, namely a winning and financially comfortable fighter with a semi-truckload of accomplishments, is not so unusual. So when De La Hoya revealed to the world that he was fighting three fights, as opposed to his normal single, in a year, something smelled weird.
That odd scent? A subtle-yet-stinky mark-up sprayed around to keep fans in a cloud of suspense. But other elements are involved at ‘High Illuminati’-style levels (as in Golden Boy Promotions). Here's where things get deep (One side, Mulder and Scully…):
1. Oscar said he's coming back at welterweight for his farewell fight. Alright, fine. Big deal. Everyone's pretty much assumed this, correct? So that means if De La Hoya is forsaking the junior middleweight division, then that eliminates a group of contenders or titlists that are of little or no relevance as to what Oscar wants to craft for this event. Yeah, I know writers are pulling out the Sergio Mora card now that Manny Pacquiao and Top Rank nixed the 30/70 'split' De La Hoya offered originally, but let's be reasonable here. For one, Pacquiao was never Oscar's intended final opponent. Nope. Never was. De La Hoya priced himself out of a fight he proposed to accentuate the drama of a 'desperate' soon-to-be retiree. As well, Mora is not the name 'The Golden Boy' is willing to go out on, unless it's being played as some 'passing of the torch' sort of thing to prep 'The Latin Snake' as 'The Next Young Latin Sensation In The Oscar De La Hoya Vein' (unless it’s some sort of sub-conspiracy, concocted from the inside out, from the minds who brought you Fox’s ‘The Next Great Champ’ to expose ‘Contender’ properties). Sounds goofy, doesn't it? This is not to take anything from Mora. The undefeated 'Contender’ (season one) winner surprised us all when he upset Vernon Forrest (something Shane Mosley couldn't two twice) for the WBC super welterweight title. But if Mora's win was ONLY an upset and 'The Viper' regains the strap in the rematch, then the issue of Mora/De La Hoya is rendered moot. Just as I'm rendering it now…
2. ...Because De La Hoya is the biggest name in boxing today. Notice how I said 'the biggest' and not 'the best'? Oscar has been shaped since prior to the start of his professional career and has shaped his career for the better since his debut. When one mentions the name 'Oscar De La Hoya', the mainstream is addressed; not just we fight nerds. The name goes up in pop culture lights just as Muhammad Ali's, Mike Tyson's and Sugar Ray Leonard's did. They had the hook; whether it was by amateur and/or Olympic pedigree or astounding, near-unmatched accomplishments. With Oscar, you have the amateur/Olympic background, the good looks, the accomplishments and the right kind of P.R. (and let's not split hairs about whether or not he's a six-division/10-time world champion. Were the first and last WBO belts really applicable?). 16 years is a long time for nothing but progression and that's not just relegated to in-the-ring exploits. Much like 'The Greatest', 'The Baddest Man on the Planet' and the second 'Sugar', there's only one Oscar and if there's only one retirement (as Oscar says there will absolutely be) for him to celebrate, then facing a fighter that Jay Leno wouldn't guide to his couch would be just like watching your favorite TV show whip out an anti-climactic or ordinary series finale. This isn't to say that an equally relevant, would-be opponent at welter or junior middle would provide that same 'shrug-your-shoulders-and-say-"Eh..." finale ending. But who would it sell to outside of only 'Glove Geeks'?
Let's rock a list within our list: former Undisputed Junior Middleweight Champion Winky Wright? If he could make junior middle now, why would Oscar make the fight when he didn't want it five years ago? Former WBA welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto? Dude lost one already this year and it was to a Mexican fighter. If Oscar faced Cotto and won, where's the novelty and inspiration in that? And remember, from what some media have led us to believe, if De La Hoya-Cotto came off, Oscar would be sleeping on 'The Golden Couch' for a good long while (No disrespect intended, Mrs. DLH. J).WBA welterweight titlist Antonio Margarito? Not the crossover draw. Too nice a guy. And he doesn't speak English so if he beat De La Hoya then, by some freak chance, got the call to warm Leno's couch (Sounds gross, doesn't it?), he'd have to drag along an interpreter and the only millionaire celebrity that seems to work for is Marlee Matlin.
WBO titlist Paul Williams? Carlos Quintana? IBF titlist Joshua Clottey? No. Uh-uh. Negatory. Or as that translates (if I may use the aforementioned interpreter; providing he's a polyglot: Who, who and who?) Celebrities only to us; none when it comes to everyone else in the world. Kermit Cintron? I'll be diplomatic and let you answer that one.
3. Spun solely as a tool for self-promotion, initially, Floyd's dalliance with pro wrestling, and 'doing battle' with Paul 'Big Show' Wight, helps in more ways than you think. Intended to sell Mayweather as, what wrestling fans refer to as, a 'face', the 'WrestleMania' experience now helps build the 'heel' grudge in whatever way 'De La Hoya-Mayweather 24/7 didn't; and those of us who watched wrestling dutifully, (Word to the L.O.D.!) as teenagers, know ‘good’ and ‘evil’ change as often as the bass players in Great White do. Needless to say, the experience gives Mayweather the 'return' in order to remain the deep, irremovable thorn in De La Hoya's side. Hey, at the very least, 'Golden Boy Enterprises' also owns 'Pro Wrestling Illustrated' (that 'special helmet-and-harness wearing cousin' to 'The Ring'). Maybe Floyd can score some free issues for research.
4. Being that he didn't train De La Hoya the first time against his own son, Oscar's longtime chief second, Floyd Mayweather Sr., gave no illusions that he wouldn't in their September rematch. He wants to see his son schooled in an "I may have taught you everything you know but I didn't teach you everything I know." way. And you can be sure that, despite the refusal to train Oscar for the first fight due to lack of sufficient funds needed to help wipe out a Prodigal Son, Floyd Sr.'s presence will be fueled solely by the enormity of Oscar's retirement; not Floyd Jr.s comeback. 'Pretty Boy's' ire adds to the tension of a fight that's too good to resist to be a 'What if?". It's another pro wrestling-style angle that even Vince McMahon would be proud of. Sadly, I can't use the Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker analogy because, knowing how sociably lovable The Two Floyds are, we couldn't tell the difference between the Jedi Knight and the Sith Lord if either one of ‘em shoulder-rolled before pot-shotting us with a lightsaber.
5. When interviewed almost two years ago for Doghouse Boxing, I asked Oscar, point blank, "With the firepower that you have in your business contemporaries like Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins, would you ever entertain the idea of maybe even inviting Floyd to join the Golden Boy family?"
Oscar's response? "Oh, absolutely! I mean, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a one of the top names today in boxing. You know, it would be interesting to talk to him and see if he would be interested. We would definitely wanna work something out if we had the opportunity." Something or another was mentioned about Top Rank honcho Bob Arum pissing himself...The exact quote eludes me.
Now that Golden Boy Promotions is one less Horseman in Marco Antonio Barrera, the notion of promoting Mayweather has just become promoted itself. And the notion of Arum pissing himself has just pissed itself; as well. Since bailing the Top Rank banner, Mayweather has no real promotional support system but himself. And let's be honest, 'Mayweather Promotions' holds the same amount of water that 'Winky Promotions' does unless working with Golden Boy or the likes of Don King Productions. This is chapter-and-verse with Mayweather's career progression: Great fighter, little drawing power, unappreciated by the masses for his genuinely pure talent. It took the right opponent to propel Mayweather to bankable heights. Wisely hitching onto the momentum, Mayweather gave the nod to, not just appearing, but participating - and doing it quite well - on the ABC hit 'Dancing with the Stars.' He followed it with a successful World Welterweight Championship defense against World Junior Welterweight Champion Ricky Hatton; then did a little bit of play-fighting in the WWE. Considering such different forays, Mayweather saw, and absorbed, the business sides of each form of entertainment. Should Mayweather join the executive ranks at Golden Boy, he'll bring the lessons he's learned; being an ever-too-brief crossover commodity, making 'Money' himself a slick, suit-wearing rainmaker of a smile in the tradition of Diddy as well as a member of the Golden Boy fold that Oscar would be insane to overlook.
And if that wasn't enough, how 'bout the build-up (Had to handle that myself. ‘The Lone Gunmen’ handle the lowdown-oriented material)?...
With the pieces already in place and fan criticism for any opponent Oscar proposes to face, i.e. Pacquiao or Mora, De la Hoya could choose to call his last fight against Steve Forbes his final fight altogether (Insert enraged fan response...but remember, it's all a ruse). The spin could be that Forbes is a skilled competitor, a former IBF junior lightweight titlist and a 'Contender' (season two) participant. What more would Oscar need to leave satisfied (wink, wink!)? Yeah, it would be piss-poor but Oscar has made eyebrow-arching statements in the past (getting 20 friends together in a living room to pay two clams a head to watch De La Hoya-Yory Boy Campos on pay-per-view comes to mind). With a wink and a nudge, De La Hoya fires off the secret cue for Mayweather to ‘come back’; deciding that he had to prove his first win over De La Hoya wasn't a fluke and that he couldn't live with merely a split decision win (Mayweather’s only split decision victory, courtesy of judge Tommy Kaczmarek). Oscar accepts the challenge in mock anger and takes the challenge because his dance card is 'empty.' The resulting effect would be like holding a palm over a vacuum hose for about 15 seconds, then letting go. If 'Unfinished Business' wasn't already taken (Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez II), it would be the perfect title for the event.
The fight would be only to sate Mayweather's fur-lined ego and make both men even more truckloads of cash then they already have. No crappy alphabet belts on the line. No crappy sanctioning fees to dole out. Nothing but a fight and a real fight at that (This may be a conspiracy but, not once, did I claim the rematch was anything but on the real. Sorry, ‘Smoking Man’). In fact, that's the most genuine thing about this business venture.
There's still the end result to consider. The end-of-the-12th-round, final bell judgment. No matter if Oscar wins or loses, it might be safe to assume he's out; that is, unless he takes that one last winning fight against that one opponent who's not truly tested but has a big enough name to squeeze out one more fight for. Junior middleweight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fits that bill perfectly. The history's already in place, with De La Hoya beating Papa Chavez twice via TKO in 1996 and 1998. The timing is perfect. The angle is perfect. Both fighters are well-matched, comparatively. It just works for that one last victory.
And then there was Mayweather.
As mentioned before, there will be no title belt at stake in the rematch. Should Mayweather emerge victorious, there might be one last green strap left to take. That one is currently won by Andre Berto; who won the vacant belt in June and is slated to defend against none other than Steve Forbes himself in September. At both Mayweather's and Berto's stages of the game, a Mayweather win for the belt he used to hold would not just be possible, but expected.
And let's just say this happens early enough in 2009. Maybe April? May? Hell, maybe even June. If Floyd doesn't hang 'em up, there's only one fight left to pursue at the ginormous, money-making, pay-per-view level.
A welterweight throwdown with Manny Pacquiao.
For all the same reasons Maxboxing.com's Steve Kim laid out in his recent "I'm Drinking The Kool-Aid" piece last week; regarding a De La Hoya-Pacquiao fight, I see Mayweather-Pacquiao as a realistic and viable match between two comparatively parallel athletes. Mayweather's last fight at lightweight (against Phillip N'dou), Pacquiao's current division, was five years ago and four years later, Floyd was squaring off against Oscar at 154. Is the weight gain really that big of a deal? The WBC belt notwithstanding, what would be truly on the line would be the mythical Pound-For-Pound designation between the two best active fighters of the last four years; both possessors of the dubious distinction that, curiously, means almost as much as any stramineous alphabet strap.
Should Mayweather prevail, he goes out already a first-ballot Hall of Famer but takes with him what he left behind; along with the criticism that he still never faced a true welterweight, pre- or post-World Welterweight Championship.
Should Pacquiao, another first ballot entrant in the hallowed halls of Canastota, New York, win, he takes that Pound-For-Pound designation and Mayweather's WBC belt to retirement (assuming this would be his final fight).
To make the hypothetical even more engaging, Floyd can skip the Berto fight, altogether (especially if Mayweather sees risk involved), and face Pacquiao in a 'Cinco De Mayo' weekend 'battle for honor,' made to defend all Mexican entities Pacquiao has vanquished; as well as De La Hoya (as a gesture of penance, due to Mayweather's backward sombrero-wearing display; prior to their first fight...Good lookin' out, GBP execs!). By May 2, 2009, both Mayweather and Pacquiao will be rested and recovered from their scraps with De La Hoya and Humberto Soto, respectively. Your winner? Talk amongst yourselves and behave; or else I’ll have to fire up the garden hose later to get your loud, fantasy-fight debating asses off my lawn.
So, there you have it, Dear Howlers. Oscar De La Hoya will get the revenge fight he wants and Floyd Mayweather Jr. gets the excuse he needs to return to action.
You didn't REALLY think he was retired now, did you?
Then again, I just might be full of s__t.
Damn 'Acme' crystal ball.
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