I watched the De La Hoya - Hopkins fight last Saturday on pay per view. I'm always nervous before one of Oscar's big fights but this time I wasn't that bad. All week I'd heard the 'experts' say Oscar was crazy for stepping into the ring with a fighter like Hopkins so I expected to be nutty but I was pretty calm. I remember when he fought Vargas I was shaking before the first round so bad I could barely stay in my seat.
So the bell rang, the fighters met in the ring and started circling each other. Oscar pushed forward going against all the 'experts'. He took the fight to Hopkins. He stood toe to toe with the 'Executioner' and looked good doing it. He won the first few rounds. But you could see his punches were not powerful enough to knockout Hopkins. He would have to go the distance and get the decision, something that hasn't always been in Oscar's favor in recent years, stolen fights came to my mind, Mosley, Trinidad, Mosley II, all fights Oscar won but the judges saw them differently.
Round 9 rang, again they met in the middle, moved to the ropes. By this time Hopkins bigger body was pushing Oscar around. Oscar gets pushed into the ropes, Hopkins lands a left hook to the liver and Oscar collapses. Just like that he's done. He rolls around grimacing, tries to get up to no avail, for the first time in his career he's been knocked out. The fight is over, Hopkins is still the undisputed middleweight champion of the world.
Nobody thinks Oscar was crazy now. They see courage in a man who attempted the impossible but failed. It's not the norm in boxing these days to see fighters take on the best again and again. Usually they pad their record with nobodies. De La Hoya has always fought the best. Chavez, Whitaker, Mosley, Trinidad, Vargas, Quartey, Carr, Leija. Always the best. Oscar is a welterweight, that's his true weight. Hopkins is a true middleweight. For Oscar to step up in weight and lose speed, lose power and still hold his own is a great feat. He wasn't abused like the 'experts' said he would be. That punch would have felled the greatest.
A sad ending but still a great fight.