Saturday, April 01, 2023  |



Dettloff: Will Mayweather use De La Hoya’s blueprint?

Fighters Network

It’s a favorite practice of boxing writers to analyze common opponents before big fights like the one we have coming this weekend.

There are two reasons you haven’t seen much of it coming into the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Shane Mosley fight on Saturday.

First, Mayweather has spent the last few years fighting high-profile matches against an old featherweight, a junior welterweight, a junior middleweight and a welterweight, probably by accident.

Mosley has stayed at 147 with the exception of his late-round stoppage win over Ricardo Mayorga at junior middle.

As a result, the two have but one common opponent: Oscar De La Hoya.

And there’s not much to talk about there, conventional thinking goes, because the De La Hoya who lost a competitive decision to Mayweather in 2007 was semi-retired, while the De La Hoya who twice lost competitive decisions to Mosley was very close to his prime.

That logic is probably sound.

But there may be something gained by recalling the second Mosley-De La Hoya fight, which took place at 154 pounds in Las Vegas in September 2003. The result — a 12-round unanimous decision win for Mosley — doesn’t begin to tell the whole story.

I covered the fight for Boxing 2004, now defunct but at the time one of THE RING’s several sister magazines, and much of the piece involves what many saw as a highly controversial decision.

You’ll recall that De La Hoya, convinced that he’d lost their first meeting because he stood and punched too much with Mosley, predicted he’d outbox him this time, use the ring and keep the fight outside.

Looking at the postfight numbers, he did, landing 221 punches to Mosley’s 127, according to CompuBox.

Much of this had to do with Mosley’s puzzling reluctance to punch, which had his father/trainer Jack begging him in the corner to get to work. Jack, for one, seemed certain his son was losing.

Nevertheless, judges Anek Hongtongkam, Duane Ford and Stanley Christodoulou all scored it 115-113 for Mosley.

HBO’s Harold Lederman had De La Hoya winning 115-113 at the end, as did the rest of the HBO broadcast crew. And that was counting De La Hoya’s legendary late-round fade, which put four rounds on Mosley’s side of the ledger.

As I reported then, about two thirds of the ringside press had Mosley winning, some by as many as eight or nine rounds. Clearly, they liked Mosley’s harder punches and body work.

But a poll conducted at in the days that followed found that 65 percent of respondents felt De La Hoya deserved the victory. Of those, 40 percent described his margin of victory as “wide;” 25 percent characterized it as “narrow.”

Conversely, just four percent of respondents thought Mosley had won by a large margin; 22 percent thought he deserved to win a close decision.

I interviewed several respected sources for my story, among them Tommy Brooks and Don Elbaum. Both told me De La Hoya deserved to win. Elbaum had him up nine rounds to three at the end.

Afterward, De La Hoya alienated some by telling the press he was going to have the decision investigated, and Mosley’s image suffered too when it was later learned that he admitted taking banned substances while preparing for the fight.

The germane points might be these: De La Hoya fought that night in a style not dissimilar to the one we presume Mayweather will use on Saturday night. And the name of the trainer who helped De La Hoya devise the strategy may be familiar to you: Floyd Mayweather Sr.

Some random observations from last week:

It took about 40 minutes to add up the scores at the end of Mikkel Kessler’s win over Carl Froch. I started to worry that maybe the judges had given it to Froch and were afraid of the crowd reaction, but then I remembered — they were in Denmark! What’s there to be afraid of? There are neighborhoods in Philadelphia that would kick Denmark’s ass. ÔǪ

If you’re wondering why you never heard of Jimmy Montoya working with a world-class fighter until recently, consider that he had Kessler, a counter puncher by nature and by training, going after Froch all night.

Kessler’s best moments — such as when he buckled Froch with a right late in the bout — came when he backed off and countered. Still, that doesn’t explain why Kessler, once among the most accurate and precise punchers in the game, has been so sloppy in his last couple fights.

It’s hard to reconcile the Kessler we saw in the 12th round Saturday night — chin up in the air, slinging wild overhand rights, slapping with the hook — with the guy we saw dissect so many good 168-pounders a few years ago. He looked better losing to Joe Calzaghe than he did beating Froch. ÔǪ

A former light heavyweight and cruiserweight beat the stuffing out of a 250-pound heavyweight? Has the whole world gone topsy-turvy? 

Speaking of Adamek-Arreola, why did referee Jack Reiss ask Arreola if he’d hurt his hand? What does he care? ÔǪ

Poor Joel Julio looked better than he has in years and still couldn’t get it done against Alfredo Angulo. How depressing for him. Julio shouldn’t fret, though; he would have beaten a lot of guys that night. Just not Angulo, who has maybe the best chin-power ratio in the business. ÔǪ

I’m going to assume that when Gary Shaw kissed Angulo on the lips it was because the fighter had eaten a donut in the dressing room and had some powdered sugar left on his mouth. ÔǪ

Why is everybody mad at Floyd Mayweather Jr. for saying he’s the greatest fighter ever? Every fighter should think that way, even if he never says it. ÔǪ

Heard through the grapevine that some are saying boxing “should have done more” for Edwin Valero. Holy criminy. Have we all gone nuts? Besides making him a millionaire or close to it for bashing guys in the mouth — which is a hell of a lot of fun if you’re good at it, by the way — boxing made him a national hero in Venezuela. The rest was up to him. He screwed it up by being a self-indulgent whackjob. That’s on him. Why is it boxing’s job to make sure he doesn’t flip out and start stabbing people?

Bill Dettloff, THE RING magazine’s Senior Writer, is the co-author, along with Joe Frazier, of “Box Like the Pros.” He is currently working on a biography of Ezzard Charles. Bill can be contacted at [email protected]