De La Hoya TKO Mayorga: Blow by Blow

By Karl E. H. Seigfried
May 7, 2006

Last Wednesday, Ricardo Mayorga threatened to pull out of his WBC Super Welterweight Championship fight with Oscar De La Hoya unless he received the eight million dollars he claims was promised to him by co-promoter Don King. By Friday, he had recanted, committed himself to the fight, and predicted he would knock out the Golden Boy in less than six rounds. Maybe he should have stuck to his guns. Instead, he went through with the fight, lost his belt, and had his six-round prediction sent back against him like the Evil Eye rebounded by voodoo.

Before the bout, and after a 594-day layoff since his last fight (the infamous bodyshot KO loss to then-middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins), De La Hoya sat in his dressing room and insisted, “I have what it takes to stay in the fight.” As he paced around the ring, he looked concerned, uncertain, tired, and almost sad. Mayorga stalked around his area of the canvas, looking angry, fierce, determined, and confident. The two fighters refused to touch gloves at referee Jay Nady’s prompt. As they began to turn away from each other, Mayorga leaned in to his challenger and said (in Spanish), “I’m 172 pounds. It’s on. Let’s go.”

Mayorga came out banging from the opening bell but quickly tasted the first of many De La Hoya left hooks. The Nicaraguan threw a right cross to the top of DLH’s head, quickly followed by two more. One minute into the round, Mayorga was down on his rear, courtesy of a perfect De La Hoya left hook to the chin. The wildly pro-Golden Boy crowd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the packed house at Chaser’s in Niles (where I was watching the PPV on the big screen) went completely gonzo. Mayorga quickly bounced up and recovered, subsequently missing a huge left hook of his own. Oscar stunned him with another left hook to the face, then immediately followed up with a lightning flurry. The East Los Angeleno landed multiple uppercuts followed by another flurry, then jumped in with a left hook followed by a combination. Mayorga threw a looping right which Oscar blocked with his glove, then threw another, which was again blocked. This was clearly a 10-8 round for De La Hoya.

In the second round, an opening small left hook landed by Mayorga was quickly answered by a big left hook by De La Hoya. Oscar, following the directions of trainer Floyd Mayweather, Sr., began to bring his jab into play. He then whiffed a left hook and took a right-hand body shot from Mayorga but proceeded to block the next attack. Mayorga missed yet again with an overhand right, then was hit by a right cross to the head. A flurry from De La Hoya put the Managuan in the corner, where Mayorga stumbled and turned himself around after missing big with a left hook. The action moved back to the middle of the ring, where Mayorga landed a left hook to the body. I called this 10-9 for Oscar.

The third round began with Mayorga missing another overhand right, then landing a left hook to the body, followed by a right to the body. De La Hoya landed a right to the face, then blocked a Mayorga right. Oscar came in with the jabs, was too short with a right, then scored with a nice uppercut. Mayorga missed with another big overhand right, then landed a strong right to the body (notice a pattern yet?). De La Hoya’s jab became even more of a factor as he used it to snap Mayorga’s head back. Mayorga’s own answering jab was a pawing motion, but he followed it up with a huge right uppercut that threw De La Hoya’s head back on his neck. Oscar jabbed in a final flurry right before the bell ending the round. For me, this was a 10-10 round with one great uppercut on each side.

In the fourth, De La Hoya used his jab to bounce Mayorga’s head back again, then followed up with a big right cross and a left hand. El Matador landed a right to the body and a light left hand to the head, but his combos were blocked by the challenger. A short stanza followed with both fighters blocking each other’s shots, Mayorga using his elbows to block the body shots coming in. Referee Nady jumped in at this point, warning both fighters to not hit behind the head. Strong body shots by Mayorga were answered by De La Hoya combinations both downstairs and up to end the round, which I scored 10-9 for the Golden Boy.

The fifth round started with Mayorga throwing a series of combinations to the head, all blocked. After De La Hoya jabbed his way in, Nady called a brief time out to warn both fighters about banging heads. Mayorga then landed a straight right to the head but missed with a right uppercut. De La Hoya came on strongly and momentarily flurried Mayorga on the ropes. Mayorga came back with a right to the body, but his following right-left combination was blocked. Oscar landed a series of body shots, then received the same before landing a beautiful shot to the solar plexus, a series of jabs, a left hook, a big right, and another left hook (whew!). Mayorga came back to get De La Hoya in a corner, then landed a series of clubbing rights to the back of his head (El Matador’s trademark) before being pulled off and warned by Nady as the bell rang. Again, this was a 10-9 round for Oscar.

The sixth started with some beautiful De La Hoya defense as he first blocked and then parried a series of shots with his gloves. After the fight, he credited Mayweather, Sr. with bringing up his defense as he prepared for this match. Oscar continued to back Mayorga up, as he had done for most of the fight so far, then was temporarily backed up himself by the onrushing Nicaraguan. De La Hoya landed a series of body shots, then big combinations to the head as Mayorga staggered back, visibly shaken. Oscar continued his onslaught, beating Mayorga down to the canvas for the second knockdown of the fight. After the count, De La Hoya again had Mayorga up against the ropes, where he proceeded to tee off with savage brutality as Mayorga meekly tried to land something, anything. As Mayorga went down on one knee, Nady jumped in and yanked Oscar off so violently that the victor himself was thrown to the ground even as he received the TKO victory and the WBC belt at 1:25 of the sixth round.

After the fight, De La Hoya and Mayorga embraced and spoke cordially, the new champion saying, “I forgive you for everything you said.” In his ring interview, De La Hoya [now 38-4-0 (30)] said, referring to the pre-fight insults and his own determination to dominate his rival, “He motivated me so much…The plan was that he was going to talk bad about me.” Speaking of the first-round knockdown, he said, “The message was that I’m going to stand up to the bully” and analyzed Mayorga’s game: “He tried to fight recklessly, lunging in with punches, but I stood my ground.” When asked about his plan for future fights, he gave the old tried-and-true, “We’ll have to wait and see.” Spoken almost as if he were his own promoter and manager….

Ricardo Mayorga [now 28-6-1 (23)] refused to be interviewed after the fight, hiding his face behind his gloves and leaning on his trainer as he made his way out of the ring. It was a very sad ending for someone with such chutzpah. Instead of ending De La Hoya’s career, he may have just cemented his own role as an opponent for the superstar class. With this and his loss to the comebacking Felix Trinidad in 2004, he may be sought out by more former pound-for-pounders looking to get back into the game. At least now he can go back to buying cigarettes by the pack instead of sticking with the singles he got during training (three or four a day) or the one lonely cig he was allowed by trainer Stacy McKinley in the limo ride to the fight.

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