8 Is Enough: From Round 9, Who Has The Edge?

Day 6: With less than 6 days remaining until the mega-fight between Oscar Dela Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr., one can’t help but ponder the question of exactly what will the headlines around the globe read next Sunday morning? Barring a sudden capture of Osama Bin Laden, there’s absolutely nothing else that could possibly steal the headlines from this heavily awaited showdown. Whatever they read, it’ll have something to do with this fight and the topic we’ll decipher today will strongly influence the chosen words. Much has been made about intangibles between the two ‘greats’ but the fighter who does the most damage during the championship rounds will probably be the one who walks away with the “W”. Today we look at arguments for both sides. Argument For Oscar Dela Hoya: (11-4 Past 8 rounds) If there’s any boxer in the sport that knows what to do in ‘crunch time’ down the stretch of a big match it’s Oscar Dela Hoya. Conventional wisdom tells us that he doesn’t always act on these instincts, (remember the Trinidad fight?), but few can actually question whether or not he knows what to do. If this fight should go to the later rounds it’s not far-fetched conceptually to feel that Oscar has the edge based on his experience against some of the great ones. To his credit, he has an impressive record of 11-4 when his fights have gone past the 9th round. Part of this is because in order to beat Oscar this late in a fight you’d have to have the ability to out-land him over a full twelve rounds and most fighters can’t do that despite the fact that he has a tendency to brawl rather than box. One other major determining factor is the fact that Oscar has always had a big heart. If you put aside the fights against Tito Trinidad where Oscar basically stopped fighting under the impression he was ahead on the score cards, and the fight against Bernard Hopkins where he was TKO’d, rarely have you seen Oscar outclassed or outpointed in the final rounds of a fight. With his legacy on the line, if nothing else come May 5th, you can look for the best that the “Golden Boy” has to offer. Argument For Floyd Mayweather Jr.: (15-0 Past 8rds) As far as comparing skills between the two, Oscar’s punching power is believed to be the X Factor. Trouble is, that same punching power which now stands as an X Factor could very well reverse and backfire. Through the years Oscar has been able to knockout average defensive fighters before getting to the late rounds by landing his patented left hook but where the trouble with Floyd comes is that his speed typically translates both on the offensive as well as defensive ends. “Iron” Mike Tyson was once the most feared hitter in the sport but when he started to take a beating in a fight and his opponents were elusive enough to avoid his ‘hay-makers’, (revisit his fight against Lennox Lewis), his ability to be effective went south and eventually so did his career. To quote Floyd’s trainer Roger Mayweather, “You can’t hurt what you can’t hit”!. Floyd won’t in a million years knock the battle tested Dela Hoya out for a 10 count, but if he can nullify Oscar’s hooks and powershots with good defense and a surging offense, it could be a long night for the “Golden Boy”. As if Floyd’s raw talent wasn’t good enough, his stamina is believed to be his strongest asset within a very deep collection. If indeed this fight goes past 8 rounds you have to consider the fact that Floyd’s done this 15 previous times with no variation in results. That’s a helluva mountain for any man to over come. Who Has The Edge? Both cases were well represented and there are a million more points that went unstated but regardless of what we all think, in the end it’ll come down to Oscar and Floyd. Oscar has the tools to stop it before the 8th round, Floyd Doesn’t. Floyd has the stamina to kick it up another gear past the 8th round, as far as we know, typically Oscar doesn’t. For every action there’s a reaction and for each strong point there’s a rebuttal for the other guy. At the end of the day there’s only one way to find out who has the edge….Watch the fight. We all question, we all debate, therefore we pause as “THE WORLD AWAITS”. Tomorrow’s installment of the countdown to Dela Hoya/Mayweather hone’s in on a two part piece where we appease the many skeptics out there. I’m never one to reduce myself to ‘underground’ writing tactics but in what has been a 21 day countdown, we have to have at least one segment for the hater’s right? For that reason, (and that reason only), we’ll use the next two days to ask two questions about the “Golden Boy” and the “Pretty Boy”. Tomorrow we ask “Should Dela Hoya Get An Oscar”?, as we uncover what skeptics feel is a hidden agenda behind Oscar taking this fight; Monday we ask “Is It Floyd Or Fraud”?, as we uncover what skeptics feel is a hidden agenda behind Floyd taking this fight with a somewhat over-the-hill Oscar instead of some of the young ‘stallions’ coming up in the world of Boxing. Keep it locked ’cause we don’t plan to stop!!!

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.