Beyond his golden days
With 38 professional wins, 10 world championships in six weight classes and an Olympic gold medal on his resume, one would think
The truth is, that legacy is anything but.
There is no debate as to whether De La Hoya will go down as one of the greatest fighters of his time. A bevy of YouTube quality knockouts and electrifying victories over
He is, however, still the biggest draw in boxing, which is why he has embarked on this three-fight farewell tour. His 1999 welterweight unification fight against
He is in every way the perfect patsy for De La Hoya, who is using Forbes as a tune-up opponent for his September rematch with Mayweather. It's a fact De La Hoya readily acknowledges.
"I'm training for Floyd Mayweather now," said De La Hoya. "My focus is obviously Steve Forbes, but the main goal is to beat Floyd Jr."
But De La Hoya can't beat Mayweather. He proved that last May, when the Pretty Boy outclassed De La Hoya for 12 rounds. Considered the superior boxer, Mayweather also showed he was the better puncher -- most of the power shots, particularly in the later rounds as De La Hoya began to tire, came from Mayweather's occasionally brittle hands. At 35, De La Hoya is a year older and a year slower. A rematch isn't going to prove anything, except perhaps how easy it is for two men to earn $70 million.
De La Hoya probably can't beat
Three fights, two probable losses. And that doesn't even take into consideration the nightmare scenario. What if De La Hoya loses to Forbes?
Impossible? Mayweather doesn't think so. Why else would Floyd Jr. threaten to fire his uncle/trainer
Hence, the nightmare scenario.
Best case: De La Hoya finishes Forbes quick and convincingly, pours all his energy into a high-pressure strategy against Mayweather and exposes Cotto's suspect chin in his career finale by dropping him with one of his patented left hooks.
If that happens, De La Hoya's legacy is safe. If it doesn't, well, you be the judge.