Sunday, April 1, 2007


By Charles Farrell

I can’t get overly enthused about the upcoming Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather fight. As a hardcore fight fan, it doesn’t interest me nearly as much as the two recent Raphael Marquez-Israel Vazquez and Juan Manuel Marquez-Marco Antonio Barrera match-ups.

Obviously I’m in the minority here, since Oscar and Floyd will be unevenly splitting in excess of thirty million dollars for what will likely only be an unpleasant night’s work for one of them.

De La Hoya will surely be made to look foolish by a prime Mayweather, but since Oscar is taking the lion’s share of the purse and since Floyd isn’t much of a puncher at any weight, whatever embarrassment he feels should soon pass.

Should pass. But maybe not. In the past few decades—basically since the final years of Muhammad Ali’s career—top tier fighters have started to regard what they’ve accomplished in the ring as their “legacy.”

There are contemporary fighters who may deserve to have their careers, once ended, seen historically. James Toney, Bernard Hopkins, and Marco Antonio Barrera come to mind as possible choices.

I know that some people will also include Evander Holyfield, although I’m not one of them. Still, there’s the heavyweight and cruiserweight championship thing, the overachievement, the overrated Tyson victories, and a couple of other things that can be thrown in, so I take the point.

But both Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather are now thinking in terms of legacy. Seventy-nine fights between them, yet they’re trying to place themselves into the pantheon of all-timers.

With Floyd, you have to wait and see, I guess. He’s never lost and he’s fought most of the guys he should have (at least until he moved up to welterweight), so it’s unfair to judge him just yet.

But De La Hoya’s history, minus one fight, is already written. And it falls far short of greatness.

He’s only had forty-two fights for one thing—some of them questionable. And, if anybody’s counting, he’s only 7-4 in his last eleven.

Like all professional boxers who raise the standard of what fighters can earn, come up with viable strategies for how to market themselves, and construct a post-career plan for continued activity within the profession, De La Hoya is an important figure. His real significance may emerge outside the ring as an innovative promoter

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