Floyd Mayweather’s Big Moment

By Tom Donelson
Updated: April 30, 2007

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Floyd Mayweather is a fighter in search of his legacy. In Mayweather’s mind, he is the best fighter of this generation and certainly deserving of an all time great status. And there is no doubt that the skills he exhibit in the ring is deserving of such recognition.

For Mayweather, his fight with De La Hoya is that legacy fight that will establish once and for all, he is deserving of greatness. Over the past decade, other fighters have grabbed the headlines and the big PPV bucks while Mayweather had trouble filling out arenas in his home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan .

Over the past several years, any PPV event he was involved revolved around the other guy. When he fought Gatti, it was Gatti that sold the show and regardless of Mayweather’s superiority; the fans paid to see Gatti.

His fight against De La Hoya is yet another example of this reality as it is De La Hoya who is the main promoter and it is Mayweather who is playing the sidekick in the featured event.

Mayweather may prove in the ring that he is the superstar between the two but for right now, it is De La Hoya’s star power that sells the show.

Mayweather is a uniquely talented fighter. He can box and his defensive wizardry prevented him from getting nailed with solid shots in most fights. His hand speed allows him to counter any fighter and he has enough pop in his punch to stop any fighter.

He can fight from the outside and potshots you to death or fight inside and nail you with dangerous combination that comes at you in a blur. There is very little that he can’t do.

De La Hoya will be bigger and as fast as any fighter that Mayweather ever fought but Mayweather still has all the speed advantage. Plus, he is a fighter at his peak whereas De La Hoya has only fought six rounds since his defeat at the hands of Bernard Hopkins.

De La Hoya is a big event fighter but once in the ring, he puts all outside distraction and interest aside and concentrates at the task at hand. Against Mayweather, he will be at his best but the real question is that at the age of 33, what is left? Yes, he looked impressive against Mayorga last year but Mayweather is different.

This is truly a superstar fighter. And no fighter can push back time and reverse the aging process. De La Hoya is still a very good fighter and even an elite fighter but he is a fighter beginning the downside of his career.

In a way, this fight is similar to the Juan Marquez vs. Marco Antonio Barrera bout. Marquez needed to beat Barrera to convince his fellow Mexican that he belonged to be mentioned with Barrera and Morales. After his victory, there was no doubt that Marquez was, indeed, a great fighter in his own right.

Mayweather is playing Marquez’s role in this fight. There is no denying Mayweather talent but there is always the question, how great is Mayweather?

In the case of De La Hoya, his place in boxing history is set and there is no real question how good he is. His battles with the greats including Trinidad , Chavez, Whitaker, Mosley, Hopkins and Quartey have given boxing fans an accurate of how good he is.

De La Hoya has been beaten some of the best and lost to some of the best but in almost every fight was competitive and close. Many of these bouts could have easily gone either way. There wasn’t a fighter that Oscar De La Hoya was not competitive with, the only exception being Bernard Hopkins.

For Mayweather, this is the fight that finally answers the question, how good is he really? For Mayweather, there is more at stake and that reason alone may be enough to give him an edge.