Here's how the boxing world is salivating over the prospect: one of the very first questions--if not the first--boxing pundits asked De La Hoya moments after his spectacular 6th round TKO of Ricardo Mayorga to capture the WBC super welterweight title was whether he next planned to fight Mayweather.
"We will have to wait and see," said De La Hoya (38-4, 30 knockouts). "A lot of emotions are running through my head. I will let a few days go by and think about it. I will sit down with my family, my wife and by myself alone to figure out what I'm going to do. I will have to see if it's worth fighting again."
Yes, there is the possibility the Oscar "The Golden Boy" De La Hoya has fought his last fight. But with so much interest in this match, and with Oscar looking so good against Mayorga, I would doubt it.
How much interest fight fans have in this possible match was summed up by Andrew Eisele in his article, Dozen Dream Fights for 2006, when he said:
"The Golden Boy, in what could be the final fight of his Hall of Fame career, against the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world today ... it doesn't get any bigger than this!"
In deposing Mayorga with a TKO at 1:25 of the 6th round, De La Hoya showed little rust, but plenty of smarts--as well as a good degree of power, something he had not displayed in previous bouts. Oscar was precise and powerful in his first fight in 20 months, and is no longer burdened by his ninth-round knockout loss to then-undisputed middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins in September 2004.
Oscar scored three knockdowns in the Mayorga fight, and almost immediately established his authority in the 1st with a perfectly timed left hook. De La Hoya finished with a smothering barrage of shots.
"Oscar looked great," acknowledged unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr., the hopeful opponent for an eight-figure payday should De La Hoya decide to fight Sept.16, previously slated as Oscar's mega-fight farewell.
"It's about two living legends meeting," said Mayweather, 29. "That fight is history. It's about legacy, and Oscar has never been scared of legacy. To leave out on top beating Floyd Mayweather would be brilliant for him, and having Oscar's name on my roster would be unbelievable also. The Golden Boy vs. Pretty Boy is a tremendous matchup." But there is one complication: De La Hoya is trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr, the boxer's estranged father.
"(Floyd Jr.) is the best pound-for-pound fighter out there, but out of respect, I'd have to sit down and discuss it with Floyd Sr. because he's my trainer and he's [Mayweather's] father," De La Hoya said. "That fight is not a guarantee."
Mayweather Sr. trained his son until they split professionally seven years ago and Mayweather Jr.'s uncle, Roger Mayweather, became his trainer. Despite his son's desire to fight De La Hoya, Mayweather Sr. said that's one fight he won't be a part of and doubts it will happen.
"I don't give a damn what he wants. I'm the daddy and, in this particular situation, I'm calling the shots," he said. "Everybody wants to see this fight, but nobody's got to lay down with this burden.
"What kind of daddy would I be to train somebody to knock out my son?
"It's a no-win situation."
But there is one thing still missing from Oscar's otherwise stellar career, one in which De La Hoya, 33, has become a nine-time world champion in six weight classes. Oscar has never beaten a world-class fighter at the very peak of his game.
Boxing isn't like baseball, in which who is the best career hitter or the top slugger are questions which are decided by who has the top numbers in this or that category. But in the fight game, there simply isn't the hard data to settle the issue.
Like Evander Holyfield before him, Oscar is a boxer of unquestioned achievement and skill who has yet to meet that one great fighter in a match which will prove, beyond the doubts of naysayers, that he is one of boxing's all-time greats.
Holyfield of course will go down in boxing history as the man who figured out Mike Tyson; De La Hoya hopes to achieve something of the same thing in fighting Mayweather.
If this fight goes off, both De La Hoya and Mayweather recognize that it will not only make them wildly rich, but will rightly carve the winner's name into boxing legend.
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