. More Boxing News-------------------------- Boxing Interviews---------------------------- UFC/MMA NEWS
The Golden Twilight?
By Jim Cawkwell (June 7, 2004) 
Photo ©
Phase one of the collision course to history was completed rather shakily, but the final part of the proceedings may well be one that Oscar De La Hoya would rather sit out. For it could be said that De La Hoya’s main event produced one of the more sickening instances of poetic justice boxing has seen in recent times. Approximately nine months ago, Oscar received the wrong end of a decision in Las Vegas which prompted him to propel himself head-first into the fight to clean up this dirty business. On Saturday night it was he who stood across from disappointment; ironically, the establishment had just enlightened him on the unpredictable matter of changing fortunes.

Being still fully aware of Roy Jones’s dramatic disposal the previous week while watching De La Hoya consistently outfought by a comparative novice, I contemplated the possibility of some cosmic power which may have designated this year as the time when profound change would have to occur. I admit that I was as unprepared for the possibility of De La Hoya losing to Felix Sturm as De La Hoya was that Sturm would be as stern a test as he certainly proved to be.

After Fight Video: 
Watch and hear what every fighter had to say after their Fights.  Hopkins, De La Hoya, Sturm and Allen all speak and tell you their thoughts.
Free At
Click Pic Below: Opens in Media Player
(Video ©
Sturm previously indicated the honor he felt at being able to fight De La Hoya, his idol. Quickly it became obvious that the honor and the pleasure would be mostly his as he solidly absorbed De La Hoya’s rapid body attack and proceeded to return fire with a jolting left jab. As the rounds elapsed it was De La Hoya’s features which became increasingly battle worn and full of worry as he plainly struggled to adapt to his new terrain. His fast start had been largely ineffective and Sturm comfortably controlled matters with his jab and a gathering sense that whatever he threw would likely find its home.

Too often, De La Hoya’s fatigue prevented him from punctuating the rounds with a scintillating flurry to raise the fervor of the crowd and snatch the favor of the judges. Instead it was Sturm’s dogged persistence and unmovable presence that was winning the hour. At the finale, a famous win for Felix Sturm was expected by most, but by no means assured. Ring announcer Michael Buffer’s throat must ache from having to choke his way through the proclamation of innumerable bad decisions through the years and this one was no more soothing to me or anyone that cares about fairness in boxing.

In the grand and sickening scheme of things for those whose pockets will be lined in the months to come, Felix Sturm is an expendable asset and his is an acceptable loss when measured against the power of the currency which a Hopkins-De La Hoya mega-fight will generate. Sentimentality may buy Sturm another appearance on American soil and endear him to those whom he was previously unknown, but the days of boxing’s marquee events are drawing to a steady end and before its champions are spent it will have milked them for all they are worth. Sturm will be one of many fighters who will have to be satisfied to wait in line and salvage whatever they can for themselves of the remains.

Oscar De La Hoya did not insult our intelligence with clichés or suggest that he was a deserving winner. He was the picture of dejection and disbelief and I credit him for being as honest as he could afford to be in his position. He met a very good middleweight in Felix Sturm; but I believe that his biggest obstacle and the one which will prove to be his undoing is his idealism, the limit of which has finally been realized.

Bernard Hopkins’ latest “execution” was not as emphatic and destructive as I had thought it may be, but the champion was authoritative enough during his workmanlike breakdown of Robert Allen. For long periods, Hopkins’ carriage suggested to me that he was wary of walking into something sinister as he gave ground to Allen and sought to counter him. Allen’s challenge was not as potent as he had promised, but even if it were, it was not expected to be nearly enough to inconvenience Hopkins from securing his position of being able to earn his career highest purse against De La Hoya in September.

Hopkins’ true crisis occurred while watching De La Hoya’s struggle with Sturm. He must have felt a deep irony that despite finally making himself available for a greatly desirable pay-day, it might be the professional collapse of the considerably younger De La Hoya that would prevent him from collecting it.

Truly surreal though was the spectacle of him being interviewed with De La Hoya after the fight and attempting to salvage more of the preceding events and the potential of their future meeting than the newly, if somewhat dubiously crowned WBO champion, who was obviously still heart-sick. Hopkins looked ominously taller and physically broader than De La Hoya and these are but two of many factors that will count heavily against De La Hoya in the following months.

When the interview was over, Larry Merchant, who was positioned between Hopkins and De La Hoya uttered the words; “Thanks champ.” Significantly, he was not looking at De La Hoya when he did so.

That moment more or less told us everything we needed to know about the proposed super-fight between the men who hold all of the meaningful middleweight hardware. I will always regard Oscar De La Hoya as a true champion for seeking out the greatest challenges, ignoring physical disadvantages and indulging the wishes of the fans to witness some of the greatest occasions in modern boxing history.

Perhaps in time he will be able to reconcile the events of the night and begin to ready himself for one last stand. But it must be said that he shows little sign of any longer being able to bridge the gap between the grandeur of his ambition and the limitations of his body. Challenging Bernard Hopkins for the undisputed middleweight championship of the world will be his bravest and most audacious act, but it will likely be in defeat that he will take his final bow.
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2004