Lock up Oscar De La Hoya’s boxing and throw away the key… please
Of course Oscar De La Hoya is planning a comeback.
At 42, the former five-division world champ hasn’t fought in nearly seven years, but he’s in the best shape of his life* and says there’s a 50-50 chance of him fighting for money again.
We could mention here that “best shape of my life” is something only old fighters say, and usually isn’t true. After all, no fighter has ever said, “I was in much better shape three years ago when I fought Vasquez,” even if they in demonstrably better shape three years ago when they fought Vasquez.
We could also point out that feeling “in the best shape of my life” is easier to achieve when you’re exercising for health and not enduring the day-to-day and month-after-month grind of preparing for a prizefight. Every boxer would feel much better physically and emotionally if they did all that exercise and healthy eating but ditched the injuries and brain trauma that come with hardcore sparring.
Point here is, Oscar thinks he’s ready to knock off one of the top two boxers on the planet — Floyd Mayweather or Gennady Golovkin.
And according to The Guardian, de la Hoya isn’t the only person who thinks this should happen.
“I just feel good and when I walk the streets, everyone tells me: ‘You have to fight Floyd again, you have to fight GGG. You can do it, you can do it,’” he said.
Do you know who should listen to Everyone?
Especially not Oscar.
Listening to Everyone will get Oscar knocked unconscious.
Golovkin tells ESPN’s Dan Rafael that he’s open to a de la Hoya showdown, and he should be. A career-high payday against a fighter who peaked the same time Ja Rule did? No reason to turn that down.
He says a Golovkin fight would play out like Ray Leonard’s bout with Marvelous Marvin Hagler, with a hall-of-famer ending a long layoff to topple a middleweight champ who seems unbeatable.
Except reaching that conclusion requires you to forget what happened last time Oscar faced the world’s top middleweight. But I remember. It didn’t go well for the Golden Boy.
And seeing this bout as anything but the fantastical ravings of an over-the-hill fighter still craving the spotlight requires forgetting what unfolded the last time Oscar confronted a fighter with power and speed in equal measure. That went even more poorly for him.
So instead of comparing himself to the Ray Leonard who fought Hagler, De La Hoya is more like the Leonard who lost to Hector Camacho in 1997. Too old and coming off too long a layoff to attack or defend effectively, even with Billy Blanks backing him.
The bigger question is why, besides money or ego or boredom, Oscar is pushing for this fight. I understand he’s one of the millions of fight fans who feel disappointed that the Mayweather-Pacquiao superfight turned into snooze, but I don’t know that a lopsided loss to Mayweather or Golovkin is Oscar’s best way remind us how compelling the sport can be.
If Oscar really believes the sport is healthy, a comeback won’t make the sport any stronger. Especially not when the spread of CTE has the entire sports world’s aversion to gratuitous head trauma at an all-time high.
And if the thinks boxing is dying, a lopsided loss to Golovkin won’t revive it.
Oscar might be feeling younger than ever, but he’s old enough to know better.
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