Picking a winner from these two is a tough task for any observer, regardless of access to the fighters, or depth of wisdom. From my detached existence I’ve flipped from one outcome to the other. A sign the fight is that rarest of commodities; a genuine one. The BBC’s on-site correspondent, Mike Costello, has me flipping once more.
The cavalcade of promotion the fight has used has helped place it firmly in the frontal lobe of a huge raft of people who’ve not been interested in boxing since Sugar Ray Leonard was fighting rather than talking. At least, those are the signals from America where this fight has developed seminal status. To the point, some believe boxing’s future rests on the promotion’s multi-million pound shoulders.
My most recent conclusion or instinct has been to go for Oscar de la Hoya to employ a cute counter-punch strategy in a manner not dissimilar to the one Marco Antonio Barrera used to baffle and destroy Prince Naseem a few years back. But Floyd Mayweather and Hamed are different beasts and reading Mike Costello’s report from Mayweather’s gym sessions, available on the BBC, Mayweather has stamina, form and speed that the Prince neglected while preening and posturing over how sumptuous his suite was or the type of leather used in his gloves. Mayweather is a keen athlete as well as a talented one.
Now, typically indecisive, I’m moving back to believing Mayweather’s superior speed will be Oscar’s undoing. But I also have to remember light-punching DeMarcos Corley shaking Mayweather at 140 pounds and here we are at 154, a weight far more suited to Oscar’s greater experience in the Middleweight ranks and his advantages of size and strength. The turmoil!
However, read Mike Costello’s interesting little piece – Mike is of course the ballast to Buncey’s bluster on the monthly Radio Five show – and make your own mind up.
Five Live’s Mike Costello is in Las Vegas for Saturday’s super-fight between Oscar de la Hoya and Floyd Mayweather.
He found “Pretty Boy” Floyd and his camp in high spirits four days out from the richest bout in boxing history.
FLOYD TURNS ON THE CHARM
Floyd Mayweather can be difficult to like. Here, so far, he’s been hard to dislike.
The Tuesday of a big fight week is usually designated “open workout” day, but Oscar de la Hoya chose to leave his doors closed.
Not so the self-styled Pretty Boy. Mayweather’s behaviour was rarely less than infectious during an hour-long exhibition of the rarest of skills at his own gym a few blocks off the Strip.
His sessions on the pads with uncle and trainer Roger Mayweather were breathtaking. Hundreds of punches delivered in machine-gun style from every conceivable angle – and for minutes at a time.
For the cameras, he threw combinations with his eyes closed. Uncle Roger didn’t look either.
Floyd finished with a reconstruction of De la Hoya’s defeat against Bernard Hopkins here in Vegas almost three years ago.
Floyd played De la Hoya, banging his right fist on the canvas after being decked by a body shot.
De la Hoya has been accused by some of looking for the trap-door that night – and Mayweather felt the urge to remind us.
When it was time for interviews, Floyd was asked, during a live TV link-up, how much cash he was carrying.
One of his entourage delved into a rucksack and handed Floyd three thick bundles of $100 bills.
“There’s about $24,000 there,” said Floyd as he waved the wads in front of the camera. “How d’you know?” “I can weigh it in my hand.” Ask a silly question…
THE PAIN OF FAME
Where there was humour, there was candour too. Mayweather spoke again of retirement and reiterated that this would be his last fight.
We were allowed a peek beneath his dense outer layer when he spoke of wanting rid of celebrity.
“I sign as many autographs as I can and I do as many interviews as I can,” he told me, “but sometimes I get pushed to the limit and I don’t want nuttin’ of that fame. Sometimes, I just want to be normal.”
PLAYING FOR LEGACIES
You know it’s big – bigger than most – when the arrival of the two boxers at the fight hotel is moulded into a ceremonial shindig.
Mayweather sauntered in first, De la Hoya later, the pair greeted by hundreds of fans gathered at the entrance to the MGM Grand.
They made their way, in turn, to a ring erected in the main lobby, where they soon disappeared behind a forest of cameras and microphones.
In sight and sound, they sent out rays of assurance. This is a form of poker now – and they’re playing for legacies.