HBO's living legend, analyst Larry Merchant, told viewers that Oscar De La Hoya has decided to drop back down to the welterweight division, boxing's richest talent mine, after spending the last six years campaigning as a middleweight and junior middleweight.

The last time De La Hoya, age 34, fought at 147 pounds was back in 2001, when he defeated Arturo Gatti, in Las Vegas (TKO5).

Merchant broke the newsbreak after he watched Paul Williams outwork Antonio Margarito in California as part of HBO's enjoyable tripleheader, as the new kid on the analysis block, Max Kellerman, worked the color seat next to Bob Papa in Atlantic City.

The Golden Boy, entering his old age in boxing years, weighed 154 pounds in losing a decision to Floyd Mayweather on May 5th. He is 2-3 in his last five fights, or 1-4 if you think Felix Sturm beat him in their summer 2004 scrap, as I do.

Merchant says that Oscar is walking the streets in the low 150s, and he thinks he should close his career at the same weight class he ruled from 1997-2001.

Readers, is Oscar making sense?

Can he make that weight, and even if he does, can he hang with the young bucks who rule the weight class?

I shudder to see Williams keeping him at bay, and pecking away at him.

But word is maybe Oscar will get it on with Hatton, who I don't believe can hurt him.

Certainly, this pairing makes $ense…

Weigh in with your take…