By Keith Idec
Oscar De La Hoya hopes Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao finally fight just as much as anyone.
His company, Golden Boy Promotions, works with Mayweather and stands to make millions if Mayweather and Pacquiao ever agree to meet in what likely would be the most lucrative event in boxing history. Mayweather makes it known whenever he gets the opportunity that he doesn’t like De La Hoya personally, but “The Golden Boy” still thinks the undefeated five-division champion would beat the Filipino superstar.
De La Hoya’s opinion matters more than most, of course, because he is one of five fighters who has faced Mayweather and Pacquiao.
“We’ve worked with Mayweather now for the last six of his fights,” De La Hoya told NBC Sports Network during an interview taped over the weekend at a celebrity golf tournament in Stateline, Nev., near Lake Tahoe. “Great fighter, great athlete, great reflexes.
“I think stylistically, Mayweather has the upper hand because of the fact that he’s faster and that he’s more precise. Pacquiao, he’s a machine. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a tremendous fighter. It would be a tremendous fight. But I would give the edge to Mayweather.”
Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) defeated De La Hoya by split decision in their 12-round fight for the WBC super welterweight title five years ago in Las Vegas. Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) dominated De La Hoya for eight rounds, despite De La Hoya’s significant size advantage, and made the 1992 gold medalist quit on his stool.
The 39-year-old De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KOs) hasn’t fought since Pacquiao pummeled him 3½ years ago in Las Vegas. Though the East Los Angeles native has kept himself in tremendous physical shape, he doesn’t expect to box again.
He does wonder, however, what would’ve happened if he had met Mayweather and Pacquiao when he was in the prime of a 16-year pro career that should send him into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in a couple years. De La Hoya was 34 when he fought Mayweather, who was 30, and was 35 when he opposed Pacquiao, who was 11 days shy of his 30th birthday.
“I would have to give the edge to myself,” De La Hoya said. “If I was in my prime, it probably would’ve been a different story. Who knows? I mean, I don’t know. I’m just saying.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.