Sharkie’s Machine: Evaluating Oscar after the Forbes Sparring Session
By Frank Gonzalez Jr. exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (May 5, 2008) Photo © German Villasenor  
Boxing’s biggest money maker, Welterweight/Light Middleweight, Oscar De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KO’s) looked good in front of his home fans Saturday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson California, as he fought Steve Forbes (33-6, 9 KO’s) and won just about every round. It was a competitive fight that saw Oscar always landing the stronger punches and more of them. Oscar set the tempo with pressure and kept Forbes going backwards most of the time. Forbes proved a respectable “opponent” and had good moments in spots, blocking many of Oscar’s punches and
managing to land a few clean shots, like his best punch, a clean left uppercut to the eye that he got in before the bell ended the eleventh round. It had the feel of a sparring session because that’s what it was.

Oscar was in top form and showed good focus and stamina, fighting busy from beginning to end. If this was the preparation fight for the rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr., it showed Oscar looking consistently busy while going the distance with good stamina, fighting at a relaxed pace. His defense, mobility and jab still look good and his willingness to trade often through twelve rounds was impressive. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is probably a sharper puncher with faster hands and quicker reflexes than Forbes, but I doubt Floyd has the power to hurt Oscar, so I like Oscar to win their inevitable, big money rematch. If Oscar commits to pressuring Mayweather, he will land something significant and test Floyd’s chin like it hasn’t been tested.

Does Oscar still have knockout power? The truth is that he’s lost three of his last six fights. Felix Sturm really beat Oscar and DLH got a gift decision. He clearly beat Forbes. Though a lot of people thought he beat Shane Mosley in
their rematch, the Judges mysteriously ruled against Oscar in that one. The fight with Hopkins saw Oscar ahead on the score cards until suddenly, Oscar went down from a body shot that didn’t look like more than a soft punch to the liver from Hopkins . B Hop and DLH are business partners is an interesting asterisk. Ricardo Mayorga was the last guy Oscar knocked out, which while very entertaining, wasn’t considered the hardest feat for a good boxer to accomplish over the undisciplined and fading Mayorga.

Considering that Oscar will retire soon, the last fights of his career should be against the best possible opponents, unless he’s just fighting for the reasonable sake of milking his name for the big bucks. Outside of the huge money bonanza for both, I see little justification for DLH vs. FMJ part II, especially on Pay-Per-View. It wasn’t that good of a fight the first time and honestly, the decision could have gone either way, as both had their moments during that fight. They both made a ton of money, which was the primary objective so the bottom line dictates they’ll do it again.

In a perfect world, both Oscar and FMJ would be chasing Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto to consolidate the titles in their quest to be—by definition; the truly undisputed champion of his division. Sooner is the time, not later when either of those two may be past their best days.

Hats off to Steve Forbes, he gave his best and kept the fight competitive (even if it was a blowout on the score cards). Forbes has had a pretty good career. He did a stint on the TV show, “The Contender” where he had success that gave him good publicity. He’s not a big puncher but he’s a crafty veteran with respectable boxing skills and he’s never been stopped.

Floyd must have watched that fight and thought Oscar very beatable, since Oscar misses so often. Floyd would be wise to consider Oscar’s improved stamina and work rate and that Floyd Mayweather Senior will be in Oscar’s corner for the rematch. I think Oscar can beat Floyd if he wants to. I also think Floyd’s capable of out-pointing Oscar again, especially if Oscar forgets to use his best weapon again, his jab. Time will tell.

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