Spin Master:Which Fighter Strategies May Backfire

Day 13: Exactly two weeks from today, what will the headlines around the country read? Your guess is as good as mine but over the next 13 days we’re gonna continue to create and recreate every angle possible in an effort to do everything but decide who the winner will be. Today we take a look at strategy. In the sweet science of boxing, strategy is everything and no matter how well yours is thought out, the other side is putting one together also with plans to dismantle anything you bring to the table. That being said, here goes a look at what Dela Hoya and Mayweather may decide to employ…Whether or not it actually works…Well, we’ll provide the ‘spin’ on that…You decide! Oscar Dela Hoya/Freddie Roach Fight Plan (Guesstimation): Oscar and Freddie Roach are believed to be putting together a gameplan that will allow Oscar to utilize his size. Typically walking around at better than 160lbs between fights, compared to Floyd who probably walks around closer to 145lbs, this seems to be a logical plan. Also, based on recent interviews with Roach, it appears that they’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out the best way to offset Floyd’s speed. Oscar has received everything he wanted in this fight to give him the ultimate advantage. He mad Floyd agree to the smaller ring which ensures that Floyd won’t be ‘running too far’, he has the Reyes gloves for power, and he has the weight he asked for for a size advantage. Now lets see exactly how far these perceived advantages could take him.

  1. Use Size To Bully Floyd. {The reason that this plan could very well backfire is because we’re dealing with a fighter who has well documented stamina issues down the stretch. Even taking a look back at some of the fights in Oscar’s prime, (Tito, Quartey, etc.), Oscar has always expelled most of his energy early and found himself operating on fumes in the “Championship” rounds. This could be catastrophic against a guy who runs a minimal 8 miles on a light training day. Using his size can work for Oscar only if he picks and chooses when to do it. If he tries to go the whole fight pressing and chasing, it could very well cause him to tire out early which could be a recipe for disaster down the stretch against one of the quickest, well conditioned athletes in the sport. Oscar would be wise not to pack on too many pounds after the weigh-in to find a weight advantage. If he gets sluggish in the ring and Floyd remains fresh and sharp, it could spell the end}.
  2. Try To Offset Floyd’s Speed. {This isn’t such a bad idea but in a similar fashion to #1, this could cause Dela to tire out at some point as well. He seemed to do a decent job at offsetting Mosley’s speed but as was witnessed in both of those fights, it didn’t do anything for him on the scorecards in the end. This is a basic strategy that any trainer would employ but the key to this will be Oscar’s ability to stay strong and energetic as the fight wears on}.
  3. Focus On Power shots To Slow Floyd. {Oscar received the Reyes gloves that he wanted to give him a better punching chance but the trouble here is that Floyd, (although not a knockout artist), is not a light puncher either. If Floyd’s speed pays dividends and he’s able to connect at a rate of 3 to 1 or anything remotely close, all it will take is for him to capitalize after Oscar lunges and misses with that patented left hook. I don’t see it being lights out if he catches Oscar good, but if he does, Oscar could begin to get a little timid and refrain from trying to mix it up as much which will take away from his ability to score points. By Oscar’s own admission, he’s “not afraid of Floyd’s power but the punch you don’t see coming is the one that hurts the most every time”. The very same gloves that Oscar requested could very well come back to haunt him}.

Conclusion For Oscar: How effective the strategies Oscar and Freddie Roach employs will be, will all come down to conditioning. That word will be used repeatedly in the pre-fight analysis as well as in the post fight analysis. Nothing else matters. Oscar did well against a comparably quick Shane Mosley but Mayweather hopefully has no intention to stay in there and mix it up like Shane did so you consider that not only does Oscar have to try to match Floyd’s speed, but also chase him while doing it, and before you know it we may have a desperate Oscar trying to land the big bomb that may or may not actually connect. This can make for a long night if things don’t quite go according to plan. If Oscar executes and has Floyd like conditioning he won’t have to rely on the left hook. If he isn’t look out. Floyd Jr and Roger Mayweather’s Fight Plan: (Guesstimation) It’s believed that Floyd’s fight plan will be widely based on what has gotten him this far in his career. Speed and intellect. From all recent accounts, the Mayweather’s are simply looking to capitalize on mistakes of Oscar by shooting his jab and being more patient with his combinations out of fear of the left hook or something comparable landing. There’s a wide contingent that says Floyd may try to prove to fight fans out there that he can rumble with the bigger Oscar. This could prove to be a huge error as he is definitely the smaller guy and should use his speed and footwork to pick his spots and create better punch output angles. Floyd’s piece in this article is much more simple with fewer parts because it makes better since for him to stick with a very basic philosophy that may be tweaked here and there but nothing major.

  1. Try To Wage War: This would be a very ignorant thing to do for a man moving up a considerable amount of weight against a very dangerous fighter. Floyd’s chance will be to do his best to avoid the big punch and to continue to stick and move. Roy Jones Jr. didn’t try it against John Ruiz, and Floyd shouldn’t try it against a large and very skilled Oscar. This is technically the only strategy that comes to mind for Floyd with these type of ramifications. Contrary to Oscar’s gameplan, Floyd knows that to solidify his position in the history books forever there’s only one way to do it…That being a solid, indisputable victory on May 5th over the biggest draw in the sport of this current era.

Conclusion: I expect Floyd to stick to the plan. For once, the guy who refers to himself as a fighter with ‘special effects’ will be very plain and simple. Although his machismo alter ego may kick in, I don’t expect him to try to mix it up much because he’s never felt a fist as powerful as Oscar’s and he won’t be willing to gamble for long once he does. If he can calmly execute and not allow the hype and spotlights to influence him in anyway, it could turnout to be a decent evening for him. Look for Floyd to take his time and start slow like we’ve seen in the past. He will be very methodical early as he tests DLH’s power and measures his skill level. After a round or two of that, look for Floyd to put on his thinking cap and be the Floyd of old. How the Floyd of old will stack up against Dela Hoya is a good question. Tune in on May 5th to find out.

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.