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Oscar's Best Bet

Let me say up front that I don't think Oscar has much of a chance. Nevertheless, like a lot of fans, I've been cooking up various schemes in my head that might allow him to. I don't like Floyd. I don't hate him, and I don't underestimate him, but I find little to admire about him, aside from his boxing skills. But skills are what win fights.

Last night, I finally convinced myself of a way Oscar COULD win. A scenario. Here's what I'm thinking. Regardless of whether he admits or shows it, Mayweather is the one under pressure in this fight. Oscar is expected to lose. If he does so, little will change in regard to his reputation or legacy. He will go on promoting and continue to be regarded as a good (if not truly great) boxer and a famously effective "emissary for the sport."

If, on the other hand, Mayweather were to lose, the boxing world would turn upside down. But not only does Floyd have to beat Oscar to win, to really win, Floyd must give fans a good show. Think about what the reaction of the world will be if he puts on another performance like he did against Baldomir. He will win, and he will still be ridiculed.

The public response to his snoozefest with Baldomir stung Floyd Mayweather. It could not have been more obvious at the press conference following the fight. When a guy like Floyd is brought to tears, you know something is eating at him, deep down inside. I think that same something will be haunting him tomorrow night.

Oscar's best shot is to capitalize on Floyd's desire to not only win, but to impress. To impress, Floyd will need to hurt Oscar. He will need to punish him, humble him. It will not be enough to repeatedly tag him with a couple shots and back away. Floyd, for perhaps the first time in his career, may very well go headhunting with Oscar De La Hoya. And therein lies the rub.

Oscar should let Floyd think he is hurting him when he really isn't. Oscar should absorb some punishment to encourage Floyd to go all out. He has already been playing mind games with Floyd. Usually, when a boxer tries to psych another boxer out, he does it through intimidation. Oscar, a smart man, sees that that route isn't going to work. Instead, Oscar has been trying to psych Floyd out on a deeper psychological level, presenting him as an immature boy, overcompensating for his insecurities. I don't know Floyd Mayweather, but from what I've seen, it doesn't sound like a bad diagnosis.

Play mind games in the ring, too, Oscar. Don't taunt or try to intimidate him with your physical presence. That's not going to work. Encourage Floyd to take chances going for that big, impressive punch. The one that will silence the critics. Maybe, just maybe, if you can get Floyd to take some chances going for the kill, you can get him to expose himself. You may be able to lull him out of his game, if you can convince him to try to impress, not box.

And you know what to do then.

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