It appears that American Floyd Mayweather Jr. is bent on matching or breaking the 49-0 unbeaten record of former heavyweight champion Rocky Mar¬ciano, only he plans to take a safer, low-risk route.
You’d think that after the “fiasco of the century” that was his win over Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather Jr. will look to give boxing fans that long overdue fistic treat by taking on an adversary who can really push him to the limit. The name of middleweight power-puncher Gennady Golovkin immediately cropped up, but true to his nature Mayweather turned the other cheek and scrambled for other names.
Believe or it or not, Mayweather Jr. recently had the audacity to challenge former multi-division champion Oscar De La Hoya to a September rematch of their May 5, 2007 blockbuster fight. Nothing wrong with picking De La Hoya, who won 10 world titles in six weight divisions, only he has been out of commission since being reduced to a human punching bag by Pacquiao on December 6, 2008. The last time De La Hoya was in the squared circle, he was telling trainer Freddie Roach that the latter was correct in saying that he could no longer “pull the trigger.”
At first, De La Hoya turned down Mayweather Jr.’s proposal and reiterated that he is retired. De La Hoya even came up with a very witty remark when he told the media that he would only return to the ring to fight the winner of Mayweather Jr.-Golovkin. That meant Mayweather Jr. had to get past Golovkin before he can secure a rematch with De La Hoya.
However, it didn’t take De La Hoya that long to realize that a rematch with Mayweather Jr. could bring in huge money and revitalize his coffers. In a wink of an eye, De La Hoya is telling everybody that there is now a “50-50” chance that he will lace on the gloves again.
The record books show that De La Hoya was the fighter who came closest to beating Mayweather Jr. In a fight for the World Boxing Council junior middleweight title (154 pounds), De La Hoya won in the scorecard of one judge and lost only by split decision. A rematch was supposed to be in the works, but Mayweather Jr. opted to retire when he could not get a substantial slice of the money pie.
The Mayweather Jr. fight was De La Hoya’s last notable performance. Looking like a zombie and bothered by an assortment of injuries, he dropped down in weight and was hammered into thin sheets by Pacquiao. For the last seven years, De La Hoya has been working more on exorcising his personal demons than staying in shape. He has undergone two stints in rehab for drug and alcohol problems. Now, at age 42, De La Hoya claims that he has been staying in shape by running eight miles a day
De La Hoya, 39-6, 30 knockouts, ardently believes that he still has what it takes to mount a comeback. He is quick to point out fighters like Bernard Hopkins and Juan Manuel Marquez who have remained competitive despite being well past their fighting prime. De La Hoya’s case is a tad different because it was clear from the Pacquiao fight that he had nothing more to offer. Even before the Pacquiao fight, De La Hoya had been flattened by Hopkins.
Not a few believe that De La Hoya took the Hopkins and Pacquiao fights strictly for the money, and he appears to be humming the same tune again. The lure of the Almighty Dollar will play a pivotal role in convincing De La Hoya to take on Mayweather Jr. again. De La Hoya figures to ride behind his golden name in the hope of convincing fans to dig deep into their pockets and buy the tickets.
If De La Hoya and Mayweather Jr. have any genuine love left for the sport, they will refrain from hyping this travesty. Heck, if De La Hoya finally turns down the rematch, what will Mayweather Jr. do next? Give Sugar Ray Robinson a call from the grave?