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Boxing's Last Hurrah? Dela Hoya Vs Vargas II
Feb 5, 2004 By Orlando Rios, JR.
Recently it was reported that the camps of Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas are close to signing on for a rematch.  Bad Blood II, which could take place June 5, 2004, has so far received mixed reactions, with some people believing that Fernando Vargas isn’t the same fighter he once was, while others believe that Oscar De La Hoya is taking the bout to cash in on a name, but according to some, “shot” fighter.  But I view it another way.

Oscar De La Hoya recently expressed his desire to fight as much as 3 times in 2004, with June, September, and December dates possible and has mentioned fighters Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley, Fernando Vargas, and Felix Trinidad as all possible future opponents.  I believe that De La Hoya has 3 to 4 good fights left, maybe more, but probably doesn’t want to be fighting into 2005 therefore making 2004 the Golden Boy’s last run.  And he has even hinted at this, recently saying, “Since these are the last few fights of my career as a fighter, I want to ensure that each one of these fights will be mega events.”  One of boxing’s biggest cash cows is preparing to cash in his chips as a fighter, but not as a promoter. 

I believe that of all the names on the list, Vargas, Trinidad, and Hopkins, in that order is what Oscar is gunning for.  I believe that Oscar envisions cashing in on a huge payday versus Fernando Vargas, getting revenge on Trinidad, and then finally going out by dethroning Bernard Hopkins and ending his title defense streak, and with that, securing his boxing legacy.  Almost seems too easy.

Fernando Vargas postponed his first bout with Tony Marshall, set for October 3, 2003, when it was discovered that Vargas had been suffering from a bulging L-5 disk in his lower back.  He returned in December picking apart Marshall and was poised to take on the WBC Interim Champion, Javier Castillejo, but the continuance of a bad back forced a cancellation to the bout, which would have been the first HBO PPV broadcast of the 2004 year.  It was believed that believed the bout was cancelled because like many other boxing fans believe, Fernando Vargas just isn’t the same fighter he used to be, and the risk of losing Vargas to Castillejo when they can take one last shot at De Le Hoya might be too great to pass on. 

Vargas may have led fans to believe that his time as a fighter may soon be coming to an end, especially with the continuance of his lower back problems and once mentioning that he was financially set, which furthered the belief that El Feroz might be hanging up the gloves sooner than we thought or liked.  Although he received much criticism for his outings vs. Fitz Vanderpool and Tony Marshall, Vargas is trying to adjust to the Buddy McGirt system of boxer-puncher rather than slugger, which some believed hurt Vargas in his bouts with Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya.

Still, others believe that Vargas may be rushing himself into a rematch with the Golden Boy believing Vargas should take a couple of more fights before taking on De La Hoya, who some believe took the fight with Vargas only after Vargas fought Trinidad.  But if you look at the overall layout, in the final analysis, this may very well be the final opportunity for Vargas and De La Hoya to meet in the ring.  I honestly believe that Oscar De La Hoya is on his last lap and won’t be fighting anymore after 2004, and assuming that negotiations work out between the two camps, I believe De La Hoya-Trinidad II will take place in September and Bernard Hopkins in December. (that's if everything goes according to plans)

When it comes to the knowledge of boxing, some believe that Oscar De La Hoya may be the smartest fighter in and outside of the ring, by fighting guys who were physically smaller than him, or past their primes, and to some critics Fernando Vargas may now fall under the category of damaged goods. Critics have argued that Vargas hasn’t been the same fighter since his loss to Felix Trinidad back in 2000, believing that Trinidad exposed Vargas, and cracked his confidence.  This is why some boxing fans now believe why Oscar is now calling out Fernando for the rematch, because Oscar believes Vargas isn’t the same fighter he was pre-Trinidad, and would have an easier shot the second time around.  Although I disagree with the notion that Fernando Vargas is a shot fighter or damaged goods, this leads fans to argue that although the rematch between De La Hoya and Vargas could be a financial success, in boxing terms, it could be disastrous for Vargas, who some believe, rose too fast too soon.

Fernando Vargas and Oscar De La Hoya are good for boxing, and their first bout back in 2002 will go down as one of the great all time fights in boxing history, and although some fans will argue that a rematch at this point is strictly based on money, I believe their rematch could be in the best interest of both fighters, who could very well be on their “Last Hurrah.” Bob Dylan once said, “One more cup of coffee for the road, one more cup of coffee before I go.”  2004 could very well be the last time we ever see Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas together in the ring, and to me, their rematch makes much more sense now than ever before.

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