LAS VEGAS-Youth and lightning reflexes seemingly vaulted Floyd Mayweather over the bigger and stronger Oscar De La Hoya to a split-decision win and the WBC junior middleweight title at the MGM Grand to the dismay of the pro-De La Hoya crowd on Saturday.
But a last minute inquiry put Mayweather’s win in doubt when Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer felt they had discovered an error in the judging. After careful examination it was decided the decision was correct.
“My opinion is that it (the judges decision) stands,” Schaefer said.
With the most of the 16,500 people supporting the East Los Angeles fighter De La Hoya, when the decision was read in favor of Mayweather the boos cascaded throughout the arena.
“I thought I won the decision,” said De La Hoya (38-5, 30 KOs). “I landed the harder, crisper punches.”
But Mayweather used his speed and cunning to potshot his way through De La Hoya’s defense and motor down the last few rounds to victory. At the end of 12 rounds both prizefighters hugged and smiled.
“It was easy work for me,” Mayweather (38-0, 24 KOs) said. “He was rough and tough but he just couldn’t beat the best.”
With the crowd murmuring and geared for the much-awaited fight, De La Hoya shot out of his corner determined to take advantage of his height, reach and natural weight against Mayweather who is three inches shorter in height.
From the beginning it was easy to see that De La Hoya’s plan was to batter the body in hopes of tiring Mayweather. Instead, it was the popular Mexican-American boxer who tired gradually from the fifth round on.
Mayweather picked his shots carefully and thriftily realizing before the fight that his opponent had a tendency to tire. Each time De La Hoya trapped his opponent in the corner he would rain punches to the head and body. Then Mayweather would proceed to fire his combinations that landed flush on De La Hoya. But he never hurt him one single time.
“He’s fast, but I’m faster,” said Mayweather, 30, who predicted an easy victory, but was satisfied with the split-decision. “I was having fun in there.”
De La Hoya had his moments, especially in the beginning when his attack on Mayweather’s body echoed in the arena. The East LA’s famous left hook never landed flush. But it did land on occasion.
“If I didn’t press this fight then there would be no fight,” De La Hoya claimed. “I’m the champion, it takes more than that to beat a champion.”
According to the judges Tom Kaczmarek favored De La Hoya 115-113. But judges Chuck Giampa and Jerry Roth scored in favor of Mayweather 116-112, 115-113.
Floyd Mayweather Sr. the former trainer of De La Hoya said he felt De La Hoya deserved the victory.
“Oscar did enough to win,” said Mayweather Sr. the father of the victor. “I thought he won it based on the point system.”
It seemed every time Mayweather was against the ropes, De La Hoya would pin him while pumping out punches to the head and body. But never did a punch seriously stun the fleet-footed fighter.
“I was trying to knock him out,” said De La Hoya. “He’s a fast fighter but my speed also upset him.”
Before the fight De La Hoya predicted his jab would win the fight against the counter-punching Mayweather. But the jab was seldom seen though when he used it, its affect was clear.
“I just couldn’t throw it,” said De La Hoya who according to Compubox fired 246 and landed 40. “It was working and I could see the effects, but it wasn’t there for me tonight.”
Mayweather said he may retire because “I have nothing left to prove.”
De La Hoya wants to look at the fight and examine his effectiveness before making a decision.
“I’m going to go back home and analyze the decision,” he said.
New Golden Boy Promotion acquisition Rocky Juarez (27-3, 19 KOs) knocked down Chicago’s Jose Hernandez (22-4, 14 KOs) in the second round but after that it was trench warfare. Both fighters fought at close quarters where Juarez has more experience. In the end Houston’s Juarez was given the 12-round decision 117-110, 116-111, 115, 113.
A junior featherweight elimination bout for the WBO title pit two undefeated fighters in Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista (23-0, 17 KOs) against Argentina’s Sergio Medina (28-1, 17 KOs) in a rousing affair. Both fighters had their moments with Bautista scoring knockdowns in the seventh and 11th rounds; first with a left hook and then a right hand that could have been mailed from the Philippines. Medina scored a knockdown with a left hook in the seventh round. The judges scored it 116-108, 115-109 for Bautista.
Philippine sensation AJ “Bazooka” Banal (13-0-1, 10 KOs) looked like he would steamroll by Mexico’s slower Juan Rosas (25-3, 22 KOs) with his quicker punches and power. But as the rounds went by Banal tired a bit and that gave Rosas a chance to survive. The judges scored it 78-73 twice and 76-75 for the southpaw Banal.
Undefeated Aussie Billy Dib (16-0, 9 KOs) was given a gift decision over the much shorter East L.A.’s Jose Gonzalez (14-4) in a eight round junior lightweight bout. The judges scored it 78-74 twice and 77-75 for Dib. But it looked like Dib caught most of the punches with his nose and by the final round was bleeding profusely from punches sustained.
British lightweight John Murray (21-0, 11 KOs) dominated New Jersey fighter Lorenzo Bethea (6-5) for seven rounds before referee Vic Drakulich decided he’d seen enough. The fight was stopped at 28 seconds of the seventh round.
Cuba’s Carlos “El Chocolate” Duarte (6-0, 5 KOs), a southpaw, needed less than five minutes to batter down Las Vegas cruiserweight Calvin Rooks (0-1) with seven consecutive left hands at 1:54 of the second round. In Duarte’s corner was Nacho Beristain a trainer who produces aesthetically pleasing boxers whose scientific skills are admired. Not with Duarte, he’s alike a barbarian waiting to bludgeon opponents into submission. It worked in this fight.
Los Mochi’s welterweight Christian Solano (20-11-4, 15 KOs) gave British John O’Donnell (15-1, 5 KOs) his first defeat with a second round technical knockout. From the opening bell it was apparent the southpaw Brit’s right hand was far too low defensively, especially against a Mexican fighter who are notorious for preferring the left hook. Guess what? A left hook dropped O’Donnell in the first round and finally in the second for good at 1:50 into the frame for the technical knockout victory.