Mayorga vs. De La Hoya: Vargas Anyone?
By Julian Kasdin, May 6, 2006
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Saturday night on HBO PPV Ricardo ‘El Matador’ Mayorga, 28-5-1 (23), squares off against ‘The Golden Boy’ Oscar de la Hoya, 37-4 (29). Mayorga has spent the last few weeks being as offensive as possible to de la Hoya who, to his credit, has taken the barrage of insults quite well. This all reminds me of the buildup to Oscar’s fight with Fernando Vargas. Just like Vargas, Mayorga has given his reason to hate de la Hoya, and just like Vargas Mayorga has questioned Oscar’s manliness and his “Latinoness.” All of this seems to have motivated de la Hoya, a consummate competitor, to push himself towards pugilistic perfection for the fight. One has to wonder though, how will this fight go? Will the free swinging bull that is Mayorga pull off the W, or will the skilled boxer puncher that is de la Hoya do to Mayorga what he did to Vargas?

Ricardo Mayorga is a brash, in your face and sometimes offensive individual. He smokes, he drinks, he ravages local women during training, and he has insulted other fighters in such a way that would make Howard Stern cringe. Mayorga is a tough individual he has the solid chin and the scars to prove it. Ricardo lacks any real defense, but he makes up for that with power and a persistent come forward pressure style. There are questions about Mayorga’s power at weights about 147, and after the beating Tito gave him one has to wonder if Mayorga is the same fighter. For Mayorga to win he has to somehow avoid getting repeatedly tagged by Oscar’s power punches, anyone who has seen Oscar’s fight with Vargas knows the consequences of that. Mayorga has to pressure de la Hoya early, and keep up the pressure all fight long. It is in Ricardo’s best interest to try and see if Oscar is well conditioned enough to go the full twelve, and to test Oscar’s will to dig deep and fight back hard.

Oscar has been in more big fights than anyone in the last decade. Tito, Whitaker, Mosley, Vargas, Chavez, and Hopkins are but a few of the big name fighters that Oscar has fought over the last ten years. De la Hoya is a tremendously skilled fighter, and while his campaign at 160 was not successful, one must keep in mind that he won his first title at 130. Once again Oscar is in a big fight, with another title on the line, and another big name fighter staring at him from across the ring. Oscar needs to fight Mayorga in much the same way he fought Vargas. By using his jab, straight and hook he can both throw off Ricardo’s rhythm, and hurt him with hard accurate power punches. De la Hoya seems to be in incredible shape, and that will help him keep the pressure on as the fight progresses. Oscar has better defense and actually a better offensive arsenal than Mayorga, and he has proven power at 154. Oscar knows how to use both effectively, and any fan of the sport knows that if he has the same mindset now that he had before the Vargas fight he will put his considerable tools to use.

I have to say I see this fight going much the same way as Oscar’s fight with Vargas only Mayorga will not be as competitive. Let’s be clear, I do not rule out that Mayorga can win, he can, but I do not see what Mayorga brings to the table that de la Hoya has not faced and overcome before. Ricardo is neither as strong nor as skilled as Vargas, and we all saw what Oscar did to a juiced Fernando. While Ricardo is an unquestionable tough hombre he is also coming off one of the most one sided and brutal beatings in recent memory. Tito didn’t just beat him, Tito destroyed him, and one must question if it is possible to come back from a drubbing like that. Look for Mayorga to come out fast and furious early on, much like Vargas, while Oscar fights more defensively picking his shots and landing hard jabs repeatedly on Ricardo’s face. As the fight wears on Oscar’s edge in skill and power will become more and more evident as Ricardo eats an increasing number of hard accurate shots as de la Hoya begins to go on the offensive. Look for a tough and motivated Oscar to take control of the fight from the middle rounds on, and possibly stop Mayorga between the tenth and twelfth rounds.

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