LAS VEGAS — The day before Floyd Mayweather Jr. earned his eighth crown in five weight classes with a unanimous decision over 154-pound rival Miguel Cotto, Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya held a round-table discussion with a cluster of reporters.
De La Hoya, 39, contrasted his losses to Mayweather and WBO welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao, expressed his thoughts on why negotiations with Pacquiao and his promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, have failed to make a bout with Mayweather, and also provided his opinion on what would transpire if a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight ever came to fruition.
Already the WBC’s welterweight titleholder, Mayweather improved to 43-0 with 26 knockouts in vanquishing Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs), who had scored three straight stoppage victories since being knocked out himself by Pacquiao in November of 2009.
Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) takes a 15-bout winning streak that includes eight stoppages into his June 9 clash with Tim Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs), whom he will face on HBO Pay Per View at the MGM Grand.
Oscar De La Hoya on the best approach to fighting Mayweather, and why his own effort failed:
“I got very frustrated because he’s got a very slippery defense and you get frustrated and you get away from your gameplan…It’s got to be a controlled aggression in the pocket. You have to be in the pocket and you have to use that jab…Mayweather has also been using a lot of offense, walking his opponents down…
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to beat Mayweather. You just have to have great conditioning, which I didn’t have. You have to have a good jab, which I had. You have to not walk him down, but be on your toes and you have feint him. You have to offset his punches…
“I’ll say it over and over again. Floyd Mayweather Sr. once told me that the way to beat his son is to time his punches. I’ll never forget that. You know he’s going to throw that right hand…You can’t let Mayweather shoot those right hands over your jab…
“I was doing it until I got tired. If I was two years younger and in great shape, it would have been an easy fight…It’s a matter of having that strategy. You have to have that strategy and not get frustrated. Nobody had my jab. Give me a little credit. But it’s not that easy. Mayweather is a great fighter.”
On what would happen if Mayweather were to lose:
“It’ll be a big blow to his ego. He’s got a big ego, and that’s what makes him. That’s what drives him. Because he knows that if he loses, where’s everybody at? I think that’s why Floyd is a machine when he trains. Because if he loses, that’s his biggest fear. Floyd doesn’t want to lose.
“I think that because of his image and because of the fans, a lot of people want to see him lose, and he doesn’t want to give that satisfaction to all of those people. So he’s going to do whatever it takes not to give them that satisfaction. That’s why he’s a machine.
“That’s what drives him…He can’t wait to prove everybody wrong. That’s why he loves it. That’s what makes Mayweather work so hard, maybe even harder than most fighters. Because the fear of having that one blemish on his record would be a devastating blow to his confidence.”
On whether or not Mayweather wants to fight Pacquiao:
“Oh, he does. He does. Absolutely. Look, Golden Boy wants the fight. Pacquiao wants the fight. Mayweather wants the fight. Who doesn’t want the fight? Arum. Right? Come on. Give us a call at ———-. That’s the Golden Boy office. Ego.”
On his belief that it is Arum who does not want to make Mayweather-Pacquiao:
“Arum is a great promoter, and for many years, he promoted the best fights ever. Of course he was going to get in the way of making this big fight happen. But it’s also ego. You have to take into account the fear that Arum has of Pacquiao losing. By the way, if he loses, so what? He loses, no big deal. He’s still Pacquiao.
“But I’m sure that Bob Arum is thinking, ‘Well, I had better face Pacquiao with Bradley. I better face him with my own guys, I had better face him with Marquez again. And then, maybe, in Pacquiao’s last fight, I’ll face Mayweather.’ I don’t know if that has to do with it. I just think that Mayweather will expose Pacqauiao.
“I’m not saying that it would be the end of his career. It would be one loss, to Mayweather. So what? But, you know, this is Bob Arum’s last fighter that is going to make him a lot of money and that is going to generate big numbers in pay per view. Why is he going to expose him and risk all of that comes with Pacquiao?”
On the comparisons of his fights with Pacquiao and Mayweather:
“No, I mean, look, when I fought Pacquiao, he’s a great fighter, and I respect him dearly. But he was like a fly everywhere. He was throwing punches and I was like, ‘Whoa.’ But he didn’t hurt me, whatsoever. It was that he was just throwing so many punches.
“Mayweather, on the other hand, he has a style where he doesn’t really like to fight. That’s why it would get so complicated for Pacquiao. Pacquiao would just come forward and leave himself vulnerable to counter-rights that Mayweather would be throwing.
“Mayweather would be timing him. So styles make fights, and the more Pacquiao pushes the fight, and the more he pressures Mayweather, the easier it will be for Mayweather.”
On his poor performance against Pacquiao:
“Pacquiao wasn’t my toughest fight, physically. Physically, I didn’t feel like he had beat me up. I felt worse. I mean, I can take a punch. But for Pacquiao, it was his first fight going up to 147, but I just didn’t feel his punches. I was probably 20 percent for that fight.
“I trained hard, but I committed a huge mistake in going to 141? Come on, what is that? Eating deer meat? You know? It was this f___ing new guy that I had. Yeah. I was eating deer meet and ostrich meat. The whole camp. Because the deer run fast, and that was his mentality.
“I was eating kangaroo meat because he said that, ‘Yeah, their legs are strong and if you keep on eating it, you’ll be strong like a kangaroo.’ Right? I was in his hands, so I just trained.”
On Pacquiao’s use of catchweights:
“That doesn’t make sense, but he’s got the power. Unfortunately, money talks.”
On whether or not Mayweather-Pacquiao should be a 50-50 split:
“Look, negotiations have been going on behind closed doors. We know the truth. But it is what it is. I can’t speak on the purse split. That’s up to Mayweather. We just promote him and he’s his own boss. Mayweather understands the business.
“I understand the business. He knows that we work great together. He loves working with us, and we love working with him. We love creating big events and Mayweather loves big events. So I’m sure that we’ll continue working with him for a very long time.”
Photo by Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Chris Cozzone, Fightwireimages.com
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org