Miami, Fl- After recently winning a lopsided matchup over journeyman, (turned cinderalla-story), Carlos Baldomir, many have still found reason to question the heart and ability of Pretty Boy Floyd Mayweather (37-0 24KO’s). All the questions surrounding him, as well as the ones that remain spoken in the dark may soon be answered as he preps up for what is easily the biggest challenge of his career to date. To his opposite is a man who’s iconic status makes him nearly larger than the sport itself, and easily the biggest box office draw since a young “Iron” Mike Tyson. Oscar De La Hoya (38-4 30KO’s) is more than tested and proven, whereas PBF has done many great things in his young career, but not nearly on the same stage, and clearly not on the same talent level. Although PBF is typically questioned from a “true greatness” standpoint moreso than De La Hoya, some have quietly questioned whether or not De La Hoya has been in one too many wars over the years and is becoming a “fading” star at this point in his career. His most recent response to those skeptical critics in his last outing against a very dangerous, (yet defensively challenged), Ricardo Mayorga showed that there is still more than enough fuel in his tank. This is a marquee matchup for many reasons…Perhaps the biggest, is the fact that it wages war between a legend and a young and hungry stallion who simply wants to be remembered as a one. When you think of Oscar De La Hoya, you think of a guy who’s done it all; Olympian, champion in multiple divisions, seasoned veteran, so forth. When you think PBF, you think young, talented, great skills overall, and razor sharp defensive skills that are arguably unparalleled in boxing today with few if any exceptions. Strengths/Weaknesses In De La Hoya, strengths would be that he’s a great boxer, has a good jab, great combinations, great chin, and is a seasoned veteran. His resume contains the likes of Tito Trinidad, Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley, Ike Quartey, and a host of others. Facing that type of opposition speaks volumes about his heart and abilities and the fact that he beat a great majority of them bodes very highly for him as well…However…. His weaknesses, (when analyzing past defeats in particular), would probably come down to the fact that although he is not a slow boxer, he has to use a sort of “boxer intuition” to connect on his opponent as opposed to pure speed in unison with great timing. Against a slower foe, his intuitive timing lets him know when to jab, when to rally, and when to throw combinations and usually that is effective enough…But how that “intuitive timing” as opposed to “pure speed” can become a liability is quite simple. Intuitive timing is great, but when your target is cat-fast and has the ability to stick and move before your “given” speed will allow you to connect using that intuitive timing, what appeared to be the right time to punch, (or avoid one), may indeed be the exact opposite. Revisit the two matchups with Shane Mosley and notice the endings were quite disappointing for ODH because of this glitch. Shane Mosley beat him to the punch at a rate of about 3 times every 5 engagements, and although he couldn’t get a knockout against the spirited De La Hoya, his speed in the eyes of the judges was more than enough to render a points decision in both affairs. Also, you take a look at the Ike Quartey fight. Ike’s overall speed was actually closer to Oscar’s, but the speed of Ike’s “Bazooka” jab made it more effective than Oscar could deal with, and although he went on to win this fight, it probably marked the first time that people left an arena after a De La Hoya fight questioning whether or not he got a call he didn’t deserve. When you analyze Pretty Boy Floyd’s strengths, they all nearly parallel Oscar’s, but perhaps the difference in the matchup from a strength standpoint may be the fact that PBF has the pure speed to coincide with the intuitive timing which allows him to often hit a target without being hit in return. And on top of his quickness, he uses old school tactics to soften the blows that he does occassionally catch. PBF’s Weaknesses, (if you can truly find any), is probably the fact that he has not faced the quality of opposition that ODH has, and has not been completely tested against a warrior who won’t allow him to stick and move at will without engaging in battle. Sad thing for ODH is that this proposed weakness for PBF could very well become a strength of his in the end analysis. As the fight goes to the later rounds one has to question whether or not ODH, (in his older age), will begin to wear down and tire out after having to chase a target he can rarely hit. Many dislike the style of PBF when it comes to the “stick and move” tactics but it should be dually noted that in the game of boxing a points victory is equally as satisfying as a knockout, and both produce a “W”. ‘Keys To Victory‘ ODH: To walk away victorious he will have to do something that no one else has been able to figure out…Find a PBF weakness and exploit it to no end. A major point of emphasis is that he will have in his corner the man who taught PBF the in’s and out’s of craft from the craddle. Mentally, if for no other reason it will undoubtedly affect Floyd to see the man who brought him into this world standing in the corner of a man looking to take him out of it. No one truly knows how this will affect PBF and on the most emotional and grand night of his young life, it could culminate into anxiety which would be a blessing for Oscar De La Hoya. Along with this odd sequence, Oscar will have to use his weight to bully PBF and force him to fight. If he comes in the ring in a counter punching mode, it will be a very uncomfortable night for him. He needs to press the action and cut off the ring at every opportunity. PBF: He will simply need to go with what got him here. He needs to use his speed, quickness, defense, and uncanny ability to frustrate an opponent by making him miss a ton more than he allows him to hit. He needs to establish himself early by showing De La Hoya that he can take his best punch, and occassionally engage in battle without dashing off to also establish that hidden “fear factor”within the seasoned veteran. Also, Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins showed all of us exactly how soft De La Hoya’s middle section has apparently gotten and PBF has been know to go to the body with great effectiveness. If PBF can mix up his shots like we’ve seen him do throughout the years it may lead to a very desperate Oscar when you pair that with his inability to hit his target as frequently as he desires. ‘When It’s All Said And Done’ In the end, it will be a classic case where you pair the “Best of Skills” versus “The Tested Will”…”The Young Energetic Calf” versus “The Old Stubborn Bull”…Use any adage you like…But when it’s all said and done opinions won’t matter, only the two men standing in the ring…And to the avid boxing fan as well as the two of them, May 5th can’t get here soon enough.