If you can fill the unforgiving minute
with sixty seconds' worth of distance run
yours is the Earth and everything that's in it
and - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son
Somewhere tucked away in a remote brand of California, there lies a place the locals refer to as “Big Bear”. Its beautiful forest splendor and high altitude offers a picturesque look at breezy serenity for passerbies. But for an elite athlete in search of a different type of grandeur, it represents something entirely different.
This is punishing terrain.
It was Lincoln who once said: “Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree, and I shall spend the first 4 sharpening the ax.”
Mexican superstar and WBA/WBC Super Welterweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, not only has an ax to grind for the trees of his thin air confines, but for those who derisively challenge and question his ability to chop down a legend. On September 14th, he is adamant that he will break the world’s #1 ranked fighter, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and usher in a new era of boxing.
But what if he faced another challenge instead on this night? One in the form of a May 2006 version of Oscar De La Hoya… The doubts and preparation would certainly remain the same were he to face his illuminating promoter.
Just as we delved into a supposed Mayweather vs. Trinidad in Pt. [I] (click here for that result) match, let’s explore the possibilities and intangibles of this one.
This is an interesting match-up.
Canelo vs. De La Hoya
The first thing that jumped at me in considering this fight is De La Hoya’s trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr., and his approach to things.
In the spring of 2006, Oscar was more mogul than fighter. He was a 33-year-old part-time pugilist and ringside partner with Richard Schaefer, more interested in making “Golden Boy” the giant that it is today. Around this time he teamed up with Floyd Sr. to answer the challenge of WBC Jr. Middleweight champ Ricardo Mayorga, who insulted De La Hoya in a way that bordered on criminal.
Oscar was angry, focused and very sharp. He calmly blocked or blunted the crazy Nicaraguan’s assault, floored him with one of the hottest left hooks I’ve ever seen in life, and finished him like something out of “Mortal Kombat”.
Mayweather’s work with De La Hoya was very obvious, and this is the version I’m putting Canelo in there with. I also believe this version of “The Golden Boy” would’ve beaten his son. His left jab was special (as was his left hand in general) to go with excellent ring generalship. Oscar had really good hand speed, combination punching, extreme intelligence and technique. Mayweather Sr. understood Mayorga the same way he understands his son and Canelo Alvarez today.
Can you imagine all of the hoopla that would accompany this fight? It would be the biggest fight in history- even bigger than “Mayweather/Canelo: The One”. Thousands of screaming women and teenage girls would flood the weigh-in for these two matinee idols, as panties would fly everywhere (Oh dear God, “Depends” would too).
The fight itself would produce tremendous action.
De La Hoya would win the opening stanza due to experience and the savvy of Mayweather Sr., as Canelo tried to figure out Oscar. He would taste the sting of the De La Hoya jab and crisp combinations, while brilliantly coming over the top with strong right hands through 4 rounds.
Oscar has always had lapses in concentration which allows him to be hit at will sometimes, and this problem would soon surface. He caught Alvarez with a huge patented left hook that had him stunned in the 5th, but came out somewhat complacent a round later. While launching another cleanup left hook, he is timed by Canelo with one of his own. It strikes Oscar with sudden impact and freezes him- before a lethal straight right hand drops De La Hoya.
Bloodied and battered, De La Hoya rallies to outpoint Alvarez in rounds 7. 8, and 9, but he’s taking a toll for doing so. The extremely precocious and quietly wise Alvarez is strategically stalking Oscar, and launching a devastating body attack in between. Though he’s slightly behind- you feel the momentum is going his way.
Your feelings would prove to be correct.
The body attack having taken total effect, De La Hoya would then be reduced to cannon-fodder for one of the game’s best finishers and have Oscar reeling under a torrent of shots. With the guts of a burglar, De La Hoya would hang tough and mount a brief rally in the 11th before being dropped again.
Satisfied he’s seen enough, Mayweather Sr. would rescue the brave tycoon with a little under a minute remaining in the round, as Saul “Canelo” Alvarez goes on the score an electrifying 11th round TKO over the great Oscar De La Hoya.