Pick Your Winner

De la Hoya or Mayweather? The reasons why each of them could win

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Roberto Sosa Por Roberto Sosa
ESPNdeportes.com
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EL MUNDO ESPERA

De La Hoya-Mayweather

OSCAR DE LA HOYA vs. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
Sábado 5 de mayo, MGM Grand

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BRISTOL -- In any fight, there is a big number of factors that, when analyzed together, can determine quite clearly which fighter has the best chances. However, it's not that simple to determine who will win Saturday's fight in Las Vegas.

With the superwelterweight WBC belt on the line, let's analyze issues that could be a key factor for either Oscar de La Hoya or Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Why should Oscar de la Hoya win?
1. More experience: Even before becoming a professional boxer, Oscar de la Hoya proved he was up to difficult challenges, saving the United States from a complete disaster in 1992 by winning the only Olympic medal for the country in Boxing. His career also includes several maximum pressure fights and in all of them his performance was stellar, even when losing. His huge confidence for the bout against Mayweather Jr. is built on the accumulation of this kind of experiences.

2. Intelligence: Inside the ring, boxers have to solve several problems, and even when advised by experts, they have to use their own head, in the right moment, to make the right moves, adjust tactics or prevent their opponents from feeling comfortable. De La Hoya must show that his strength is not only physical but psychological.

3. Natural weight: De la Hoya is slightly higher than his opponent, which suggests that he may hold a slight advantage from the begining, but it is his weight what makes a real difference. Since 2001, when he won the 154 pounds belt, De La Hoya has fought in seven ocassions against boxers with the same weight or even heavier ones like Felix Sturm, whom he beat as a mediumweight (160 pounds). Having experienced that kind of punishment is worth millions for Saturday's fight.

4. Punch: Related to weight, punching power should be a deciding factor for the boxer/promoter. He is in great shape and he should make his opponent suffer with body shots. De La Hoya learnt how important that is and will apply body punishment thoroughly.

5. Support: This could be a key factor once punches start flying. Up to this moment, different polls suggest that the Californian should have the advantage. Settling his training camp in Puerto Rico assured De La Hoya a fan base from the island, and most Latin Americans, including Mexicans, of course, will cheer for him. It will be a loud night in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Why should Floyd Mayweather win?
1. Style: It is no secret that boxing is a matter of style; how to punch an opponent while at the same time trying to avoid his fists. Mayweather is the kind of natural fighter that could get De La Hoya in trouble. And this could be the ideal stage for him to show all his talent. He doesn't need to take complete control of the fight: He can just appear in the right moment.

2. Resources: At 30, Floyd Mayweather's condition is amazing. Nobody has hurt him, he has remained unbeaten throughout and it is to be noted that since he began fighting in 1996, he has been a flawless professional. The boxing world knows about his strength and preparation. These are his main weapons.

3. Fighting frequency: The Grand Rapids, Michigan native decided several years ago that he would fight just enough times to stay on the public eye. He only fights once, twice or three times per year. This has allowed him to save strength and health, and is one of the main reasons why he always looks 100 percent fit for every bout. This should be a clear advantage for Mayweather.

4.- Old time manager: Although there has been a huge controversy around the roles of his father (Floyd Sr) and his uncle (Roger), the latter has remained with him throughout all the process, working on all technical and tactical aspects of the upcoming fight. Roger Mayweather really knows this business and his boxer, and there's no doubt he knows how to win this fight. De la Hoya had to leave Floyd's father out of the picture and hired Freddie Roach as an emergency replacement.

5.- Intuition: Mayweather knows how to foresee what's coming and how to solve it. He has showed it against several opponents and it is something that gives him a clear advantage for this fight. If he can decipher early what De La Hoya plans to do, then he will hold the key to victory.

The X factor
Last but not least, there's something that cannot be measured but should not ruled out: Their heart. The one who gives his best, who does not surrender even under adverse conditions, will have an edge in pushing to his advantage all of the factors mentioned above.


Roberto Sosa inició su carrera en los medios en 1981 con una extensa lista de coberturas especiales en Super Bowls y peleas de Boxeo. Además de ser comentarista de boxeo para ESPN, Roberto es conductor de ESPN Radio en Capital y colaborador de boxeo en ESPNdeportes.com. Consulta su archivo de columnas.