Was this the toughest fight of Floyd Mayweather's career? Was Oscar de la Hoya the toughest opponent Floyd has ever faced?
Yes. Oscar fought a brilliant fight, really. Had he executed and landed his jab more frequently, Oscar could have won this fight. As it is, Floyd takes a split decision victory, with scores of 116-112, 115-113, 113-115. Personally, I had a 114-114 draw. Brent had a 116-112 Mayweather victory. We have yet to hear from Matt or Kevin as far as their thoughts go.
Compubox had Mayweather clearly outlanding Oscar, but Compubox only sees so much, which is straight statistical punching. Oscar probably landed the harder shots throughout the fight, and when I left my host's house -- a former boxer himself -- he liked my 114-114 draw. He is a Mexican, and was pro-Oscar but not blind to what Mayweather accomplishes.
To me, Oscar fought the better fight. Getting a draw on my card and a split decision loss on the official cards is almost a heroic act on de la Hoya's part. He was far overmatched in terms of natural skill, yet fought through that to neutralize Mayweather with solid defense and some effective flurries, plus an occasionally good jab. Again, if Oscar had used that jab throughout the fight, we might be talking about a real upset.
The truth of the fight is this -- Mayweather is not a 154-pound fighter. Welterweight is his limit. Could he beat Mosley as a welterweight? If tonight is any indication, then no. Mosley would be too strong, plus Sugar Shane is far faster than Oscar. At welter, Floyd beat solid fighters, the last of which was Baldomir, who is not an elite fighter in any regard.
Truth be told, I saw it as Mayweather being lucky to take away another title in another division tonight. Oscar fought the better fight, but Floyd was so much more naturally talented that he won out on two of three official cards. With my draw, what I was seeing was a legit even fight that Floyd probably wins at 147. At 154, he can't hurt de la Hoya, and he never did.
Floyd is again saying that this is it. Why is that? Is it the fear of fighting Mosley at 147, the only fight that anyone really thinks he can lose? Is it the fact that he knows Oscar is the only worthwhile fight at 154 for him? Does he realize that at over 147, he can't hurt anyone? The last question is not meant to shame Mayweather -- everyone has a limit on how high they can go in weight classes and still carry their punching power over. For Floyd, it's 147. There's nothing to be ashamed of there.
Oscar de la Hoya needed to win this fight to establish himself as a great fighter. He didn't. Instead, he lost it by the narrowest of margins. And again, on my card, this was a draw. Is Oscar an historically great fighter? I don't really know. He pushed Mayweather like no one else has -- actually, maybe a more accurate description would be that he limited Mayweather more than anyone before was capable of doing.
This was a good fight. It was not the fight of the year. Both Marquez brothers put on what I thought were superior fights in March, and there have been far, far lesser regarded fights that had more action than this one. But you could not ask for a closer fight. It's not reasonable.
Mayweather/de la Hoya II? Maybe. And with both knowing the other fighter, it projects as a far different fight. The good news is that they didn't disappoint. No one got knocked out in three rounds and nobody dominated this fight. It was even boxing, if not the kind of in-ring drama that is going to convince casual fans to order the next PPV event.
Floyd and Oscar couldn't have done much better than they did tonight to help "save" the sweet science. There's something commendable there.
And there's a reason for a rematch. To me, Floyd did not clearly establish himself as Oscar's superior. Mayweather proved tonight that he's a fantastic welterweight, maybe out of his depth at 154. And Oscar proved that if nothing else, he is a true fighter and a real champion.
Boxing can't ask for more. The fans can't ask for more. If this fight wasn't good enough, then forget it.