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Bring on Oscar

BY Rick Folstad ON April 11, 2003
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Pretty Boy Floyd Mayweather Jr., is calling out junior-middleweight champ Oscar De La Hoya, which is like Barney Fife calling out Atilla the Hun. Before it’s over, someone is going to get a bloody nose.

When you’re still fighting at 135 pounds, you don‘t invite a guy like De La Hoya into the ring with you unless you’re going to present him with a plaque or introduce him to the crowd. When he takes his career seriously, De La Hoya is still one of the best three or four fighters in the world.

Mayweather? He’s just one of the best three or four talkers in boxing. When it comes to braggadocio, you can put him in the same league with Roy Jones Jr. The difference is, Jones always backs up his boasting. Mayweather hasn’t done enough yet to back anything up. Though he’s still undefeated, he hasn’t exactly dominated the lightweight division. His two fights with Jose Luis Castillo were both close, and some of us thought he lost the first fight with Castillo.

Of course, before Mayweather (29-0, 20 KOs) packs on 20 pounds and chops up De La Hoya, he has a prior engagement to take care of. He defends his WBC lightweight title against Victoriano Sosa in Fresno, CA on April 19.

This is a minor interruption in Mayweather’s grand scheme of someday ruling boxing between the lightweight and middleweight divisions, though even Mayweather isn’t pompous enough to think he can do it all at the same time.

After beating Sosa and maybe fighting mandatory challenger Juan Lazcano or former lightweight champ Stevie Johnston, Mayweather says he would like his shot at De La Hoya. And since Bob Arum promotes both fighters, it’s a fight that could actually happen sometime next year.

Arum must be almost giddy.

IBF junior-middleweight champ Winky Wright, meanwhile, has been trying for what seems like years to get a fight with De La Hoya. The only way Wright will ever fight De La Hoya is if he catches him walking out of a bar late some night and spits on his shoes.

Against Sosa, who is the cousin of Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa, Mayweather said he will pretty much do what he pleases against the poor guy.

"I might take him out early or I might play with him," Mayweather was quoted as saying in a Fightnews interview. "I just want to put on an impressive performance."

Yeah, play with him, Floyd. That always impresses people.

Mayweather said he could also trounce welterweight champ Ricardo Mayorga, who recently defeated Vernon Forrest.

"He’s a tough guy and a puncher," Mayweather said. "But there is no way a guy that smokes cigarettes and drinks alcohol is going to beat Floyd Mayweather."

Ah, Floyd likes to speak in the third person. I guess it puts him on a higher level, elevates him to legendary status. Doesn’t Roy Jones do that a lot? I guess when you’re a world champion, calling yourself "me" almost seems anti-climatic.

As for fighting De La Hoya, Mayweather said it’s a fight that boxing needs.

"Can’t no fighter beat me because no fighter can out-think me," Mayweather was quoted as saying. "I’m a throw-back fighter and a businessman. I want De La Hoya. I want to be a mega superstar, and right now, I just feel like a star."

A piece of advice, Floyd. Get used to the feeling. I’m giving odds and betting on Atilla.

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