Since the fight has been made public, people in my atmosphere have been asking me whom do I think will win “the fight”? (You know it is big when they call it the fight without saying the names of the combatants and you know exactly what they are talking about.) And to tell you the truth, I end up vacillating like a seesaw… (I don’t know if seesaws vacillate, but just by using the word I sound more intelligent.) There are so many intangibles in this fight that one could end up confusing what might be a very easy decision as to who is going to win (which we all do). Yet, after the fight we’d say something like… “Of course de la Hoya knocked him out—he’s naturally much bigger and hits harder than anyone Floyd’s ever fought.” Or, “I should’ve known Floyd woulda been too fast… Oscar couldn’t pull the trigger!”
So let’s try this. I am going to take what I think de la Hoya and Mayweather’s greatest abilities are and create two super fighters, each designed with one intent and one intent only… to defeat them.
DECIPHERING DE LA HOYA
• Oscar has a hair-trigger release of his fists, although sometimes he tends not to put his body behind his combinations… he is heavy-handed and quick, that is where his power comes from.
• He hits hard… I didn’t see Mayorga give de la Hoya free shots to his cabbage, as he did Vernon Forrest. See above.
• He has good footwork and is more agile than he is given credit for.
• He can work the body and does have the tenacity to dig and make it a dogfight if need be.
• Never been in a knockdown-drag-out fight of the highest order and therefore has preserved himself quite well—in other words, he is not over the hill or washed up.
• A commanding jab that is a hard weapon to render ineffective.
• Serious competitor… preparation for bouts has always been meticulous, especially if the opponent is highly regarded.
• An excellent anticipator of a punch, he knows when it is advantageous for him to be in close range and when it is a disadvantage.
THE QUINTESSENTIAL CONQUEROR
• 5’10” and up… Just for the psychological edge.
• Defensively he blocks the jab with an open right glove…. This allows him to keep eye contact at all times and prepare for any follow-up shots.
• Because Oscar is stands straight up when he fights, there is a lot of target to be had. Like a diving hawk, the conqueror would swoop in and out swiftly, chopping away until Oscar has no more resistance.
• Oscar has a good right hand but is pretty left side dominant, so “the conqueror” would nullify the left hook by either raising the right arm to block it or work on getting under the hook.
• Feint often. Oscar is a tightly wound fighter and feinting a punch before firing, or the simple act of just feinting, will get Oscar reacting to things that aren’t there… Feints are a pug’s hallucinogen. A tightly wound fighter begins to unwind from the physical and mental fatigue, doesn’t react as quick after a while and then is ripe for counters and leads that weren’t an option earlier.
• You thought I was going to say “go to the body” but that is too predictable and most likely his camp is figuring my ultimate fighter is going to do that—given the Hopkins fight—and bait a trap… but let me tell ya something, Oscar simply didn’t anticipate the blow, that’s why it dropped him. The conqueror would be a good body puncher but he won’t go out there looking for the shot… it has to happen naturally else he gets countered… contrary to what they say, a good head shot beats 2 to the body (and is more impressive) every time.
• Aggressively agile. The conqueror would have to put on calculated pressure but not move forward in a straight line or the same predictable speed.
• He would be very sturdy and resolute because should Oscar sense you are hurt, he eats away at that weakness like a cavity and you have no recourse but to ask for the anesthesia.
• Load up with big punches but pepper him with speed punches to keep him guessing and respectful. Never let Oscar feel comfortable… keep him guessing all night.
• We all know Floyd is extremely fast, but not to the point where his speed is a detriment.
• Surprising puncher… most think fast guys aren’t that powerful in the punching department. Couldn’t be further from the truth. Speed and weight of the hand provides knock-DOWN power, weight of the body behind the punch provides knock-OUT power. Floyd has the power to drop anyone he fights… if he commits his body to the punch, he can keep a man down.
• He is physically stronger than given credit for. He can wrestle on the inside with anyone in the division… This is one thing that would surprise most of his opponents and cause them to second guess their strategies once the fight has started.
• He employs an awkward defense. He doesn’t simply stand straight up with his hands wrapped around his head, he leans back in a peculiar fashion, kills the straight right with his left shoulder and nullifies the left hook with the right arm. The left forearm across the body pretty much ends the possibility of a body attack… add to the fact that he can lash back-out of this defense with speed and power, makes his defense even that much more effective… think of it as attempting to storm a castle with no armor and the dudes on the castle walls have vats of scalding oil.
THE QUINTESSENTIAL CONQUEROR
• The key to beating any fighter is giving him things he has never seen before; if he has fought a lot of counterpunchers, give him an aggressive counterpuncher, and the counters can’t be the same predictable ones. Thing is, when you are coming up from the lighter weight division, you tend to see a whole lot more diversity in styles than you do at the heavier weights, so there isn’t much Floyd hasn’t seen… with the exception of BONE-CRUNCHING POWER… For the early rounds of the fight, almost everything the conqueror throws will have KO written all over it. Don’t let Mayweather get settled.
• The conqueror would throw a lot of one or two things; straight rights that would dip him into the left uppercut… OR… a lot of left uppercuts that would bring him up into the OVERHAND right—not the STRAIGHT right. Throwing the overhand right is not an easy skill to acquire though… especially for a tall fighter or a fighter that tends to stand straight up.
• Punch “off center”—meaning, the conqueror can’t have his head at the end of his punches because Floyd is steadily trying to counterpunch. Better example? If I throw my jab, he may counter with the right over my left OR the left hook by first slipping to his left… Conqueror can’t afford to have his head where it was last seen, so if he throws that jab, he’ll tilt his head to the left at the same time… the difference is slight, but slight is all it takes between being hit on the button and making Floyd miss.
• Lead with body shots (I know—sounds like a death sentence, but they have to be quick and one at a time). The chances of hitting Floyd with a lead body shot are much more probable than a shot to the head, and the conqueror couldn’t afford to not be busy… the key to this strategy is to methodically move into range… let the punch go and take a different path out of range… don’t remain in the same place. For a man who rarely gets touched in the ring to be hit consistently, even if it isn’t on the button, can be frustrating and confusing—the conqueror WANTS to take Floyd out of his element.
• Set and be able to handle an incredible pace… (Pace means more than punches thrown, it can be more than physical—it is also making a man work without throwing punches—keep his mind thinking.) Floyd is extremely aware in the ring and he can sense any deficiencies and changes in his opponent’s performance throughout the fight.
• Get into EXCHANGES! Floyd is too quick and hyper-aware to be counterpunched, and to lead will leave the conqueror open to being counterpunched… Floyd’s bread and butter. That is why the conqueror’s punching at the same time as Floyd is imperative to him winning the fight. You do not need to be incredibly fast for this to work, you must simply have great timing and a high threshold for pain.
And there you have it… you know that both camps are hard at work looking for the slightest edge and advantage that can lead to victory… the riches? They both already have riches, so now the fight becomes about something else… personal pride, legacy, public perception, fan appreciation and pug’s endorsement… (There’s nothing more gratifying than people that have done what you do for a living saying you are an amazing fighter.)
Mayweather is favored to win the fight and I can see why, but there is one little oversight that could cost him this fight… Alas, I am not at liberty to disclose what that one thing is, but I will put it in a sealed envelope and open it after the fight. As for de la Hoya, he is going to have to fight like he has never fought before, aggressive and relentless. This fight determines his legacy.