Posted by MICHAEL AMAKOR on Feb 9, 2011

Perhaps a Bridge too Far for Oscar? Oscar vs. Mayorga Pre-Fight Analysis

By Michael Amakor

On Saturday May 6, 2006, there will be an explosion of gagantum proportions as battle tested veteran Oscar De la Hoya tries to seize the WBC Light Middleweight Title from Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga in a fight labeled Danger Zone at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Las Vegas in one of the most exciting match-ups in recent memory.

Oscar de la Hoya first made a fan of me with his brutal bone crunching 4th round stoppage of Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez, later on, I was awestruck by how his two fisted combinations bloodied up Chavez in the rematch forcing him not to come out for the ninth round on September 18, 1998. Also who can ever forget his explosive power punching war of attrition with Ike Quartey who he knocked down in the final minutes of the fight, or his crisp well timed left hook that sent Fernando Vargas crashing down to the canvas, or his fast and furious first fight against Shane Mosley. No doubt, he is the stuff of legend most deserving of immediate enshrinement into the hall of fame especially when you remember that he has won titles in five weight classes, However despite all those victories, his new quest against Mayorga has me feeling apprehensive for his safety.

To me, there is a touch of arrogance in Oscar De la Hoya challenging Mayorga for his title, especially, as he has not fought since September 2004 after being stopped by Bernard Hopkins. He is also disregarding an unwritten rule of boxing that you come back into the game by tuning up against mid level competition before taking on the lions of the division. Oscar’s supreme confidence in his abilities and the gleam in his eyes for Mayorga’s belt has made him overlook this cautionary rule. He might find out he is taking on too much, as Mayorga is no joke in addition to his famous loud mouthed trash talking that Oscar has discovered as a rude shock. Oscar should reckon with the fact that Mayorga, a chain smoking brawler , is from the poor streets of Managua, and a two time champion, who first exploded into boxing center stage by destroying Vernon Forest in two brutal rounds. Prior to that explosion he twice crushed feisty WBA champion Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis in successive fights, his championship reign ended at the hands of Cory Spinks who out-boxed him in a stinker that prevented Mayorga from landing one of his trademark bombs.

Oscar De la Hoya’s trade mark thousand watt smile, clean looks, evident wealth, a Latin Grammy award, and clean background is a misnomer to the sport of boxing which is considered a gutter sport in some circles. His success can drive a fighter like Mayorga who has nothing to fall back on like Oscar, insane with bitterness wondering how the gods of boxing could doubly reward such a straight arrowhead, while real deal boxers like him have to toil away in the fields for paydays. When I follow that line of thinking, his rage and expressed hate for Oscar may be understandable, and designed to draw Oscar out of his dignified shell, we have seen this kind of animosity between Morales and Barrera who share similarities with these pending combatants, but after the fight they will hug nevertheless, that’s what makes boxing great.

          In analyzing this fight, you will remember that both fighters stepped up to the middleweight division, Oscar de la Hoya was goaded into the division by losing his belts to Sugar Shane Mosley in the Light Middleweight division and later on he received a gift decision against Felix Sturm for the WBO Middleweight title. Somehow through it all he decided he could hang in the Middleweight division. He challenged Hopkins for the undisputed Middleweight Crown and got crushed by a single left hook liver shot that sent him into a hiatus away from the ring till now.  

Mayorga, himself after losing all his belts to Spinks was more or less forced into moving up to the Middleweight division against a just recalled to active duty Felix Trinidad. That fight was one of the most brutal fights I have ever watched as he slugged it out with Trinidad over eight rounds absorbing tremendous punishment and knockdowns that forced the referee to stop the fight. That loss was a bitter pill for the proud Mayorga to swallow and he briefly considered retirement but he regrouped and beat Michelle Piccirillo for the crown he now holds almost a year ago.  

Both fighters also fought Felix Trinidad, but while Oscar went the full twelve rounds and won the fight according to my score card, Mayorga got soundly beaten by the same foe in only eight rounds. Mayorga also has not done well against fighters who give him angles, and in my books he was lucky to win the second fight against Vernon Forest, but his poor boxing skills became apparent against the powerless Cory Spinks who out-boxed him thoroughly over twelve frustrating rounds, if Spinks could do that just imagine what Oscar would do to him.  

Mayorga also cannot match they explosive speed, accuracy or ring generalship that De la Hoya brings to the table, you can expect Oscar to land the cleaner shots and land his trade mark left hook as Mayorga rushes in with one of his wild flurries, exposed to a counterpunch. I do foresee Mayorga getting lucky by landing one of his bombs that will see Oscar dancing around the ring trying to recover his scattered wits as Mayorga chases him from pillar to post looking for the knockout though. Going by his history Oscar has weathered many storms as exemplified by the Quartey and Sugar Shane fights, so I am sure he should be able to take everything Mayorga has in store.  

I am loathe to pick a winner for this fight, and my gut tells me that Oscar wins probably by a lopsided decision, but when I add the ingredient of Oscar not being as hungry as Mayorga and the possible dousing of his competitive fire by dabbling in other very successful enterprises into the mix, I am not as sure as I would be anymore. The reason being that boxing requires absolute focus and dedication from its pugilistic subjects, you must dream, eat and sleep boxing to compete at the championship level, boxing history is replete with multi-talented like Roy Jones who got soundly beaten after losing focus in boxing. On the upside for Oscar is the fact that Mayorga is just as rusty having fought only once in 2005, but that might not matter as Mayorga may just dig deep and brutalize Oscar into submission scoring a huge upset that makes boxing so unpredictable and interesting.  

That outcome may be good for boxing as we will have a full time focused champion on deck as opposed to business men like Roy Jones and Oscar who think the can take the game for granted and just comeback anytime the like, earning title shots over ranked and busy title contenders. Oscar already has a meal ticket outside the squared circle and his fooling around in the fight game much longer even if he gets past Mayorga can leave him vulnerable to the designs of enraged demonic pugilists who will find a way to hurt him permanently and damage his golden smile for good, if only to stop him from eating up all the remaining crumbs at the table.  

Enough Said…May the Best Man Win.


Michael Amakor has written 174 post in this blog.

Michael “Keep Punching” Amakor has been the Chief Scribe of popular boxing website FightKings.Com since 2003. He has written over 100 articles about boxing that have been vicariously read and extensively blogged across the internet and on major boxing websites. He can be seen regularly at the fights giving round by round commentary and he is a regular commentator on the boxing radio and TV circuit.

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