Floyd Mayweather Jr. fought like he was saving something special for Oscar de la Hoya through all twelve rounds Saturday night. Mayweather, whose too swift for most men to hit, threw half as many punches in the first few rounds and seemed to be on the defensive almost all of the others. His conservative style in the ring was especially surprising since “Pretty Boy” Floyd talked more than twice as much shit leading up to the fight as de la Hoya.
It was no secret that everyone thought Mayweather would win, but that most fight fans (aside from perhaps 50 Cent who accompanied Mayweather to the ring) hoped for a de la Hoya victory celebration on the Cinco de Mayo fight night. The crowd even started chanting “Os-car, Os-car” at one point.
But no matter how hard de la Hoya hit Mayweather, he couldn’t knock that smirk off of Mayweather’s face.
At the end of 12 rounds, it came down to the score cards and only one judge saw eye-to-eye with me that de la Hoya out-boxed Mayweather. (Defense doesn’t win boxing matches, at least it shouldn’t.) It was the first scorecard read and Mayweather’s disbelief was obvious, even juvenile on his face. But as the other two scorecards were read in Mayweather’s favor, de la Hoya, a boxer of class, sat respectfully. He knew the fight was no longer in his hands and accepted his fate.
Hopefully, though, the rest of us will get another chance to watch de la Hoya get another chance at breaking Mayweather’s confidence. Their first bout was billed as the fight to save boxing, but deep down inside, Mayweather has to know that his championship victory remains but an opinion until he knocks de la Hoya down at least once.
So boxing, like de la Hoya’s pride, remains to be saved. --Luke Turf
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