In December, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer stood at a podium, moments after Floyd Mayweather Jr. had defeated Ricky Hatton at the MGM Grand Garden, and said he got his "marching orders" from Oscar De La Hoya about arranging De La Hoya's next fight.
De La Hoya has become a part-time fighter over the past several years, fighting only on the first Saturday in May. It's become a game in the industry to guess who will win the Oscar Derby and get the lucrative payday that comes by fighting the Golden Boy.
De La Hoya has in the past several months spoken of fighting more than once in 2008, but that's far from a certainty.
It looks now, though, that he'll face Mayweather again in a rematch of their 2007 fight that became the largest-grossing fight in boxing history.
One source in Las Vegas said the bout is a cinch to land at the MGM Grand Garden, while several others said that venues in Southern California, including the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and the soccer field at the Home Depot Center in Carson remain in the running.
Schaefer conceded Mayweather is in the running but denied a deal has been reached. He said, "I'm working 24/7 on this, literally, because of the people we're talking to."
He refused to say who else he was still considering.
The whispers all say it's Mayweather. And history would tell us that it would be Mayweather, too. De La Hoya has always taken the route that will pay him the most.
The only way he could fight anyone and make more than he would against Mayweather were if he were to fight Ricky Hatton at Wembley Stadium in London. That, though, isn't realistic because of the size of the fighters.
Despite his many detractors, De La Hoya has been great for the sport and the speculation only serves to get fans talking about boxing.
Now, let's get on to a busy mailbag in which I answer questions about Saturday's Roy Jones-Felix Trinidad fight at Madison Square Garden, respond to comments about my favorite fighters and numerous other topics.
It's funny how you mention that Roy Jones Jr. would have beaten Dariusz Michalczewski easily. That would have never happened. Jones may have beaten him but not easily. Michalczewski had an amazing jab, power in both hands, an awesome chin, good stamina and brought relentless pressure. There was a reason why Jones never fought Michalczewski, and it had more to do with risk, than money.
In the early part of his career, Jones took on all comers. In the second half, after his friend Gerald McClellan suffered brain damage in a fight, he became a reluctant warrior and was very careful about choosing his opponents. He certainly wasn't looking for the toughest guys on the block.
AN EX-FIGHTER WEIGHS IN
Kev, you couldn't be more right. This match between Jones and Trinidad is a fight that if it was going to take place, it should have happened at least nine or 10 years ago. If Jones wanted a real challenge, he could have remained champion instead of vacating it and defended his title against the then top-ranked super middleweight contender, Charles "The Hatchet" Brewer. Anyway, my take on this fight is that it's going to be a joke. There is no way that Tito can defeat Jones. He's too slow, too small and not strong enough, so in this case, it turns out that this is another fight that happens to cheat the true boxing fan and delivers another falsehood of competitiveness. My vote is Jones by fifth-round KO!
Charles "The Hatchet" Brewer
Former IBF Super middleweight champion
I pretty much agree with you, Charles. I think Roy may be too cautious and won't stop him early. I'll say Jones by seventh-round TKO.
ROY AND FLOYD
Kevin, don't you see similarities in Jones Jr. and Mayweather Jr.? They both disappointed the fans in taking on opponents who are either outclassed or over the hill. You praise Mayweather Jr. in every article and see him as the pound-for-pound best! Let's see Mayweather fight Cotto. It will be a repeat of Jones Jr. vs. Tarver, where we will see the pound-for-pound king put on his butt.
I've called numerous times for Mayweather to fight Cotto. I reiterate that call here. That said, I think Mayweather would win the fight (though I'd be pumped to see it).
CHEATING THE FANS
Kevin, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Roy Jones cheated the public and himself. Jones has accomplished enough in his career to be enshrined into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. An asterisk would be appropriate to note how great he could have been if he had taken advantage of at least half of the opportunities that he had to win big fights against well regarded opponents.
Chris Van Loan
Round Rock, Texas
Roy Jones is a top 100 fighter of all-time and a first-ballot Hall of Fame pick. But had he fought the caliber of opposition in the second half of his career that he did in the first, we'd be talking about a top 20 fighter instead of someone ranking down in the upper 80s or low 90s.
HOW ABOUT THESE GUYS?
Frankie Liles, Tim Littles, Steve Little, William Joppy, Keith Holmes, Joe Calzaghe, Chris Eubank, Michael Nunn, Nigel Benn, Dariusz Michalczewski, Henry Maske, Steve Collins, Julian Jackson, Iran Barkley, and on, and on, and on. These fighters have two things in common: none had a chance to fight Roy Jones and none are/were NYC police officers.
HBO deserves a small share of the blame here for not forcing Jones to take on some of those men instead of the stiffs he did fight.
Hey, my man Jones is not fighting a police officer, fire fighter, state trooper or anything like that. He is going to fight one of the greatest boxers in history. This is the same guy who beat De La Hoya and the same guy who destroyed the careers of Fernando Vargas and David Reid. So don't think it's going to be easy for Roy Jones because "El Boricua" is going to fight with passion and power.
Trinidad will fight with passion, but that's not enough considering he hasn't fought in more than two years and he's facing a much larger man.
I believe the welterweight division is having its finest days ever. In a hypothetical eight-man tournament like The Contender, how would have it turn out? My brackets would be (8) Antonio Magarito vs. (1) Mayweather; (6) Hatton v (3) Shane Mosley. (2) Miguel Cotto vs. (7)De La Hoya. (4) Paul Williams v. (5) Kermit Cintron. Winner: Williams. Des Lovell
First, I disagree with your seedings. How is Cintron seeded higher than either De La Hoya or Margarito? Margarito dominated him and then knocked him out in 2005. I say the winner would be Mayweather, though I will concede Williams is a tough match for him.
Larry Holmes was one of the greatest boxers of his time, but Muhammad Ali is the greatest ever! Ali was robbed of his prime boxing years, had two different styles and both were great. Could Holmes whip Sonny Liston, who is certainly underrated, and Big George Foreman? What adversity did Holmes face in his career? Remember this fact: Larry Holmes was Ali's sparring partner and if both were to fight each other in their primes, Ali would take advantage of Holmes' weakness of being hit by the overhand right and knock out Mr. Holmes for sure.
I loved Ali, so I'm not dissing him one bit. Holmes, though, was also a special fighter. He has quality wins over Ken Norton, Mike Weaver, Earnie Shavers, Trevor Berbick, Renaldo Snipes, Tim Witherspoon and Gerry Cooney. He had a superb jab, good power and great mobility for a big man. I'm thrilled he's going into the Hall of Fame this year.
No one ever talks about Wilfred Benitez. Here's a guy who was world champ at the age of 17. He invented the term defensive fighter. He never trained and still gave Sugar Ray Leonard all he could handle with blood in both eyes. He was the first fighter to soundly beat Roberto Duran since Esteban De Jesus. He also went 15 rounds with Thomas Hearns and I don't think Hearns hit him 10 times the whole fight.
Benitez was great, but I'll say two things: Don't praise him for not training and it's my list of my favorite fighters.
PROUD OF ALEXIS
I just wanted to respond to your all time favorite's list. I was named after Alexis Arguello as my dad was a massive boxing buff. He use to say that Alexis had the best qualities of a champion and also loved him for being a great sportsman. After I have seen playback footage getting older, I have gained a lot respect for this fighter. He was such a stand-up guy. The fighters of today should take note on how to win and lose with honor and pride. These fighters today know nothing of sportsmanship anymore.
His fights with Aaron Pryor will never be forgotten, either.
ALI! ALI! ALI!
You can't beat an original. Holmes was Ali's sparring partner. That is one of the main reasons he was able to better his craft and take it to a level that he did. Ali is "The Greatest." It is your opinion, but having Ali so low on that list is almost disrespectful. Thanks for your time!!!
C'mon, Bryant! I had Ali third on my list. Cut me some slack. Seriously, I lived and died with Ali during his fights. He's the one who made me a boxing fan in the first place.
- Can't get enough of Kevin Iole's mailbag? Then check out last week's edition.