Mayweather Wins Spilt Decision, Defeats De La Hoya

By Francis Walker
Updated: May 6, 2007

NEW YORK — Following Floyd Mayweather’s defeat of Oscar De La Hoya , certain lyrics to the song “Shine” by the legendary recording artist Luther Vandross came to mind.

Mayweather walked what Luther once called “the catwalk” down to ringside wearing a sombrero and the colors of the Mexican flag. He was definitely ready for what Vandross called “the main event,” as it was Mayweather’s time to “shine, shine.”

The 30-year-old African-American from Grand Rapids, decorated in the red, white, and green colors of the Mexican flag, did just that. He showed De La Hoya moves that were blazing and used his speed to block, slip, counter, and land punches in the biggest fight of his career.

The “Pretty Boy” (38-0, 24 KOs ) remained unbeaten after winning the WBC super welterweight championship in what could have been a record-setting event in boxing history. Mayweather won a 12-round split decision against De La Hoya (38-5, 30 KOs) at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.

“De La Hoya vs. Mayweather: The World Awaits,” generated a Nevada record live gate of $19 million, was televised on HBO pay per view at a suggested retail of $54.95. The fight is also expected to set a new pay per view record for a boxing event with more than two million buys.

De La Hoya vs. Mayweather was a fight between two of the biggest names in the sport. An evenly matched, competitive boxing match between two very good fighters that was highly anticipated and went down to the wire.

Mayweather beat De La Hoya on two of the three judges at ringside scorecards 116-112 and 115-113. De La Hoya was ahead 115-113 on the third. However, if ringside judge Jerry Roth scored the final round for De La Hoya, “The Golden Boy” would have retained his 154-pound title, via split-draw.

BASN scored the fight 115-113 for Mayweather.

It wouldn’t have made a difference either way. Regardless as to how many rounds of sparring, running, skipping rope De La Hoya did and whether or not Freddie Roach was in his corner, the result would still be the same – Mayweather victorious.

Why? Simply because, Mayweather, the younger, quicker, faster, and more precise puncher, is competing in the prime of his career at age 30. De La Hoya, although he is 34 and can still compete with the very best in the world, is more beatable now than he was in his career.

De La Hoya hasn’t fought twice in one year since 2004. He has fought the very best in some of his highest profile fights in boxing history, but it’s almost impossible to topple the very best fighters in the world fighting just once a year.

“The World Awaits” was hyped as the fight that would save boxing. One fight cannot save boxing, especially if Mayweather, who said previously that this would be his final fight, and De La Hoya, fights only once a year. However, the bout proved that boxing is still dramatic and can be enjoyable again.

Boxing has been around for more than 10 decades. The sport will always be in existence. However, boxing’s popularity has been damaged in recent years. Controversial decisions, circus acts, and mismatches being promoted as high profile “super fights” on pay per view have taken its toll on the sport.

What can save boxing is a succession of good fights featuring good fighters in competitive fights that are broadcast on television. The question is whether De La Hoya and Mayweather were both good enough to encourage people to keep coming out to the fights in the next few months. Time will be a determining factor.

Overall, Mayweather vs. De La Hoya was a good fight between two of the best fighters in boxing in the last decade. De La Hoya is a future Hall of Fame fighter. His legacy has already been sealed several years ago after winning world championships at 130, 135, 140, 147, 154, and even at 160 pounds.

Mayweather, however, although he has had many spectacular fights throughout his career since turning professional in 1996, was searching for that one big fight that would catapult him into being a mainstream star.

For “Pretty Boy” what a better opportunity to establish himself as a main attraction against boxing’s biggest draw in De La Hoya (almost $200 million in career earnings) on perhaps the grandest stage in all of boxing the MGM Grand.

To clash with De La Hoya on Cinco De Mayo, Mexican Independence Day, Mayweather, who entered the ring wearing Mexican colors, knew that a fight with “The Golden Boy” on such a grand occasion would garner support throughout the Latino community which would reenergize the public’s interest in boxing.

All Mayweather had to do was continue to train and cease the opportunity to beat De La Hoya. “Oscar was tough,” Mayweather said. “I said it would be easy work and I made it easy work.”

Mayweather quickly established a rhythm with his left jab in the opening round. The taller 5-foot-10 De La Hoya looked to get inside of his 5-foot-7 challenger, closing the distance using flurries.

De La Hoya stepped up his attack in round two. Oscar, using his size and weight advantage, applied pressure behind his left jab. Mayweather did a great job of slipping punches and clinching.

De La Hoya hit Mayweather with a left hook in the third round and pressured Mayweather back into a corner. He unloaded with a series of punches, but many of them landed on Mayweather’s gloves and shoulders.

Mayweather, a very intelligent boxer, understood that De La Hoya was trying to bombard him with flurries on the inside. Throwing flurries was a tactic that led De La Hoya to many victories in Las Vegas against Pernell Whitaker, Ike Quartey, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Hector Camacho to name a few. throughout his career.

Mayweather, the faster fighter, simply needed to time De La Hoya’s punches using range, movement, and reflexes. Mayweather did exactly that. He picked his spots, slipped punches, and began to counter De La Hoya with crisp straight-rights to the head.

In the fifth round of a very close fight, it appeared as though Mayweather looked to pull away with the victory. Mayweather’s crisp straight-right counters suddenly became lead left-jabs and straight-rights that connected more accurately than De La Hoya’s flurries.

When a fighter is able to land their jab consistently and effectively they establish a rhythm. Once a fighter is in a rhythm with their jab, other punches in their arsenal become easier to utilize. Midway through the fight, Mayweather was clearly in rhythm the way Luther was able to “Shine.”

The difference was when Vandross was alive he used his vocals.

Mayweather was landing his straight-right and left jabs on De La Hoya. It would only be a matter of time before De la Hoya would be hit at with potshots unless he found away to adjust.

There were times during the fight when Mayweather’s head snapped back after De La Hoya landed a stiff jab. De La Hoya, who often tried turning up the heat with his famous left hook, abandoned his left jab for much of the fight.

De La Hoya is just an ordinary fighter without his left jab. De La Hoya’s famous left hook that iced Fernando Vargas several years ago and Ricardo Mayorga last year couldn’t possibly have the same effect against Mayweather. Floyd, Jr. is simply too much of a defensive fighter to get hit with the same punch repeatedly.

“It wasn’t the big night of my jab,” De La Hoya said afterward. “I could tell when I threw it, it would snap his head back and it was working, but I just couldn’t throw it. So it wasn’t the best night for my jab.”

In the sixth, Mayweather added the pressure. His left jab and straight-right was countered by De La Hoya with flurries that bounced off Mayweather’s gloves. De La Hoya did land a few rights, but Mayweather, the younger and faster fighter, countered effectively.

In the seventh, with Mayweather against the ropes, De La Hoya tried to land flurries. De La Hoya looked to overwhelm Mayweather and sway the judges with aggression.

Mayweather slipped and dodged punches. He kept his guard up to prevent from getting tagged with a big shot. Mayweather landed a couple of body shots to slow De La Hoya’s attack.

Mayweather’s punches were very sharp, more accurate, and faster than De La Hoya’s. Oscar fought a very game, very determined, and competitive fight. He tried to use his advantages in height, size, and aggression to overwhelm Mayweather with in the biggest event of his life.

In the ladder rounds, it was clear that De La Hoya’s plan was to win this fight using flurries. He tried to beat Mayweather against the ropes.

Mayweather continued to slip punches and wasn’t looking to do more than what he had to do to win.

Mayweather landed the more crisp and sharper shots, as both fighters exchanged a ferociously in the middle of the ring at the end of the twelfth round.

Mayweather has said that this was the final fight of his career, which is strongly doubted by many. He’ll be back and so will Oscar. Whether they’ll be a rematch, the world will await to find out.

Mayweather-De La Hoya Undercard

Unbeaten Rey Bautista (23-0, 17 KOs) won a unanimous decision against previously undefeated Sergio Manuel Medina (28-1, 22 KOs ) in a scheduled 12-round WBO super bantamweight eliminator. Bautista is the mandatory challenger to WBO 122-round champion Daniel Ponce DeLeon. Bautista was ahead by margins of 116-108, and 115-109 (twice).

Rocky Juarez (26-3, 19 KOs) defeated Jose Hernandez (22-3, 14 KOs ) by a twelve unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 117-110, 116-111, and 115-112.

Alex Banal (13-0-1, 10 KOs) beat Juan Rosas (25-3, 22 KOs ) to win an eight-round unanimous decision in a super flyweight contest. Banal was ahead 78-73 (twice) and 76-75.

Unbeaten super featherweight Billy Dib (16-0, 9 KOs) won an eight-round unanimous decision over Jose Alberto Gonzalez (14-4, 6 KOs ).

Unbeaten lightweight John Murray (21-0, 11 KOs ) TKO’d Lorenzo Bethea (6-5, 1 KO) with 28 seconds remaining in the seventh round.

Welterweight journeyman Christian Solano (20-11-4, 15 KOs) handed John O’Donnell (15-1, 5 KOs ) the first loss of his career. It was a shocking second-round TKO.

Lightweights Ernest Johnson (16-2-1, 7 KOs) and Hector Beltran (10-1-1, 9 KOs ) battled to a draw after eight rounds.

Unbeaten cruiserweight Carlos Duarte (6-0, 5 KOs ) TKO’d Calvin Rooks, who was making his professional debut at 1:54 seconds of the second round.