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L.A.’s Oscar De La Hoya: Hometown Mayweather Will Get Close Rounds

Oscar De La Hoya, who faced Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Manny Pacquiao, losing to both of them, had some interesting comments about the upcoming Mayweather-Pacquiao $400 million record-setting fight on Saturday at the MGM Grand, including his declaration that the deck is stacked against Pacquiao, as Las Vegas is Mayweather’s hometown.

De La Hoya stated, “Bottom line: The smart money is on Mayweather. Look, it’s Las Vegas, Mayweather’s hometown. His picture’s on the side of the MGM. The close rounds are going to go to Mayweather. It’s big business. It’s no secret.”

Mayweather boasts a 47-0 record with 26 knockouts; Pacquiao’s record stands at 57-5-2 with 38 knockouts. Approximately 50,000 people are expected at the MGM Grand for the weekend, including Friday’s weigh-in and Saturday’s fight.

De La Hoya fought Mayweather in 2007 in what was then the biggest-selling pay-per-view card in boxing history. He ran out of gas in the second half of the match and lost by a split decision. Later that year, he lost to Pacquiao, throwing in the towel when Pacquiao’s unceasing flurry of punches proved to be too much for him to handle.

Speaking to Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, De La Hoya stated:

The will to win is what separated Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao from any of the fighters I’ve ever faced. Manny Pacquiao’s will to win is based off strength, conditioning and heart — being able to prove that he’s better than you, physically. With Mayweather, his will to win is more based on outboxing you, outsmarting you. I can’t say outhustle you. Mayweather just outthinks you.

After acknowledging that Mayweather realized that De La Hoya was a “wounded lion” without his jab after the eighth round, De La Hoya noted that Mayweather “makes you tire yourself out, and that’s a credit to his defense. You can hit him on the arms and fists, and then once you get tired, he capitalizes, and does just enough to win the round.” He added, “Mayweather has that sneaky power. It can’t knock you out, doesn’t hurt, but if it surprises you, it can sting you.”

De La Hoya summed up by asserting, “The question now is whether that ‘just enough’ that Mayweather likes to do is going to be enough to beat Pacquiao, who throws a lot of punches.”

The “Golden Boy” moved on to describe Pacquiao as “a fly you can’t shoo away. He seemed to be throwing thousands of punches at me, and I just couldn’t get him off me. It wasn’t that he hurt me — credit to my chin, the fact that I can take a punch — but it was like, ‘When are you going to stop throwing punches?’”

He added, “If he’s in great shape the way I know Freddie Roach is going to get him in, it could be a real interesting fight. If Pacquiao doesn’t get tired, Mayweather is going to be shooing away that fly for 12 rounds, and Pacquiao might surprise him.”

Allowing that he is “inclining more, as the fight gets closer, to Pacquiao,” De La Hoya pointed out, “But Pacquiao has to really dig down deep inside and do a number on Mayweather. Can he take Mayweather out of his comfort zone?”

He noted that if Pacquiao gets ahead in the bout early, “it can be a very interesting fight.”

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