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Oscar’s golden pay day

Oscar De La Hoya is a genius.

There’s no better way I know to describe a washed-up prizefighter who has the acumen, the pure-platinum business savvy, if you will, to set up a $35 million pay day for a bout which may end long before the scheduled 12 rounds.

For those boxing-challenged among us, De La Hoya will put his WBO middleweight title on the line against one of the baddest men on the planet in WBA, IBF and WBA champion Bernard Hopkins Saturday in Las Vegas,



Those in the know figure that professional boxing’s resident golden boy – who stunk it up in his last fight, yet miraculously prevailed by a unanimous decision (wink-wink) over relative unknown Felix Sturm – will leave the ring with a confused look on his face, minus considerably less brain cells than he brought to the party.

Doing the math on my handy-dandy pocket calculator, De La Hoya would earn the equivalent of $700 million an hour if he lasts the first round with Hopkins.




If by some chance His Royal Dreaminess happens to avoid going lights out until the second or third round – the average hourly rate drops progressively – he’s still going to make enough money to surgically repair any of the damage Hopkins is sure to inflict.

Not bad work if you can get it.

Other than the money, De La Hoya, 31, a gold medal winner for the U.S. in the 1992 Olympics, has no business in the ring with a fighter with the undisputed skill and pure menace of Hopkins.

Cut the Sturm travesty out of the equation, and De La Hoya, while only 31 years old, waved bye-bye to his prime years ago.

The beginning of the end came in February of 1999 when he took on tough-as-nails welterweight Ike Quartey.

Except for a few late flurries at the end of some early rounds, and an electrifying slugfest in the 12th, De La Hoya was beaten soundly.

The judges, who must have been too busy counting their payoff cash to watch the fight, saw it differently, awarding a split decision to De La Hoya.

In between knocking over tomato can after tomato can, to his credit, De La Hoya laced ’em up against some of the best in the world.

He fought Felix Trinidad.

He lost.

He fought Sugar Shane Mosley, twice.

He lost.

And he lost.

Now he’s set to take his life in his hands when he steps into ring Saturday with a man who has successfully defended his own titles 18-consecutive times.

A man, while is eight years his senior, is fitter, stronger, meaner and hits harder.

A man whose ring moniker is The Executioner.

On second thought, maybe De La Hoya isn’t that smart after all.

ooo

Keith Jiron is a sports reporter for The Union. He may be reached via email at keithj@theunion.com or by phone at 477-4240.


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