And so it came to pass. Finally, the most hyped fight in living memory – and probably beyond that too – came and went and with it a new superstar was born; Floyd Mayweather. Of course, to boxing fans Mayweather has long been a superstar but this fight was intended to deliver him on a big, plump Oscar De La Hoya fragranced cushion to the mainstream American sports fan. Did it happen? As a British fan of boxing, I’m as far removed from the US casual fan as its possible to be but am I the only one who still feels a little unfulfilled?
Perhaps the fight was over-hyped? Perhaps my expectations are too high? Perhaps I recall the great Sugar Ray Leonard super-fights with Duran, Hearns and Hagler as more intense affairs than they truly were? But while the fight was absorbing and sprinkled with moments of high quality it still left me feeling there was something missing. Something not quite complete. Not the lack of closure that demands a rematch, because I don’t see how the style or nature of the fight would alter through repetition but it simply didn’t emote.
It also taught me the danger of backing one of the fighters with money as well as emotion, I found myself transfixed by the work Oscar was doing and maybe that is where the explaination for my frustration is based. Maybe I only watched half of the fight. The Oscar half. Resisting the temptation to be intoxicated by Mayweather’s single shots or footspeed. And that may explain why I only had Mayweather a very narrow victor.
And in Oscar performance alongside the beauty of his defence and tactics I also found a big void too. The void that really needs Ricky Hatton’s youth and work-rate pouring in. He may take more shots than Oscar, and he may lack the pop DLH does in that left hook but Hatton would bring plenty to the table to trouble Mayweather if he boxed the way Oscar did but add more zest and frequency to his attack.
I hope, for boxing’s sake, that Mayweather continues. It would be a shame if the torch, now passed, was dropped.