Oscar De La Hoya announced last week that he is interested in fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr.
...Just not this year.
The fact that this fight isn't taking place in 2006, and likely not until the middle of 2007, has gotten a lot of fight fans upset. This was the fight that was supposed to be the centerpiece of boxing's fall/winter lineup. Oscar is "ducking" Floyd they say, or they claim that Oscar will talk about it but the fight will never happen.
The ironic thing is that the card that we are getting as a replacement is likely better than what Mayweather/Hoya could have ever been. Right now the card shapes up as: Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Rocky Juarez II; Israel Vazquez vs. Jhonny Gonzalez; and Jorge Barrios vs. Joan Guzman. Barring any major injuries that change the card, this is going to be worth every penny of the PPV price.
A funny thing happened to me over the last year, I've found a deep and profound respect for "The Golden Boy." He gets a lot of trash thrown his way by boxing fans considering that he has fights on his resume against Mayorga, Hopkins, Mosley (2x), Vargas, Gatti, Trinidad, Carr, Quartey, Chavez (2x), Camacho, Whitaker, Leija...the list goes on.
Sure a few of them were past their prime, but that is a list of more money fights than you're likely to see from anyone else in this era. He hasn't fought anyone with more than 5 losses coming in since Darryl Tyson in 1996, and he knocked him out in two rounds like a champion is supposed to.
I can't help but think that Oscar is in one of the toughest positions in the sport. Anyone who equals automatic interest the second a fight is announced has a certain amount of responsibility to boxing to try to make big fights and keep the sport from fading from the collective public consciousness. And I think Oscar is a proud man who does consider this type of personal responsibility to the sport that made him his millions.
On the other hand every man is responsible for his own legacy. How long does Oscar go on? If he wins does he go out on top? Why shouldn't he fight again if it seems like he still has "it?" If he loses does he fight again to avenge the loss? What if he loses then? Doesn't he want to go out with a big win? It can spiral out of control very quickly.
Boxing fans have to understand that Oscar doesn't want to be that guy that had one too many fights. He doesn't want to be the guy whose entire legacy is tarnished because he didn't know when to stop and go out like he wants to be remembered.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that he doesn't want to become Roy Jones Jr.