De la Hoya predicts Pacquiao v Mayweather fight

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – Plans for a mega-fight  between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have so far  come to naught but boxing great Oscar De La Hoya believes the  blockbuster long desired by fans will eventually take place.

Oscar De La Hoya

Eight-times world champion Pacquiao and Mayweather, who has  never lost a professional bout, are the two biggest draws in  the sport and a showdown between the two would decide the  mythical title of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.

Mayweather had been expected to meet Filipino southpaw  Pacquiao early last year until negotiations collapsed over the  American’s demand for random drug testing. Both fighters ended  up taking on different opponents.

“I believe that fight will take place,” De La Hoya told  Reuters in a telephone interview. “I believe Floyd Mayweather  and Manny Pacquiao understand that it has to take place.

“They are the best fighters out there and I feel they both  really want this fight to happen. When the time comes, people  will enjoy a tremendous fight because styles make fights.”

De La Hoya, who held world titles in six different weight  classes, predicted that a clash between the aggressive Pacquiao  and defensive genius Mayweather would emulate the great battles  between Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns in the 1980s.

Asked to predict the victor should the bout take place, De  La Hoya replied: “I see Floyd Mayweather winning and I say that  not only as an ex-fighter and a promoter but as a student of  the game. “I really love dissecting styles, studying styles and  Mayweather has a style to beat anybody. He calculates his  punches and his timing. When he is ready to punch with power,  he always connects in the right place.

“There is a lot of thinking behind the strategy of winning  a fight and Mayweather has to be the best at that.”

De La Hoya, a gold medal winner at the 1992 Olympics,  announced his retirement from boxing in April 2009, four months  after being stunned by Pacquiao in an eighth-round TKO in a  non-title fight in Las Vegas.
He ended his career with a record of 39-6, including 30  knockouts, and has since spent most of his time working as a  boxing promoter while continuing to raise money through his  various charitable initiatives.

BOXING REGRETS

Asked if he had any regrets from his boxing career, De La  Hoya replied: “I wouldn’t change anything with my career or my  life. Everything always happens for a reason.

“But if there was one fight that I could really change it  would have to be the last three rounds when I boxed Felix  Trinidad in 1999. For me, that was the biggest fight in  non-heavyweight history at the time.

“And that fight was fairly easy for me but over the last  three rounds I lost the fight. So if I could change anything  from my career, it would have to be those last three rounds.”

De La Hoya, a keen amateur golfer, said he still missed the  thrill of competing in the ring.

“Competitive boxing has been my life,” he added. “I started  boxing when I was four so it’s difficult to cope with the whole  retirement thing and not putting on the gloves for the rest of  my life.

“But I will tell you one thing. When I get out on that golf  course and I make a birdie or I hit a beautiful shot, that  adrenaline rush that I get really does make up for any left  hook that I can throw inside that ring.”

While speaking to Reuters, De La Hoya announced his move to  link up as a business partner with the Mexican tequila brand,  Tres Generaciones.

“I come from a third generation of fighters because my  grandfather and my father also fought. My family are consumers  of tequila so … it was just a natural fit.”

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