20-20 Hindsight: What We Learned From De La Hoya-Forbes About Oscar's Next (Last?) Two Fights

Oscar De La Hoya's fans in California seemed to enjoy Saturday's fight against Steve Forbes - until the final round, when you could hear some boos - but they may have been the only ones. Though some dissenting voices felt Forbes might give the Golden Boy a bit of a challenge, he proved to be anything but as Oscar cruised to a lopsided decision.

Forbes showed excellent defense and some good timing with jabs and an occasional body shot, but that was about it. He posed zero threat to knock out De La Hoya and it quickly became clear that he wasn't going to win on the scorecards either.

One of his post-fight quotes was pretty telling:

"I felt strong and it was great to be in there like that and have the opportunity to get in there and not go down," Forbes told the Associated Press.

Indeed, the HBO announcers mentioned several times that Forbes was pretty proud that he has never been knocked down in his career. It would be easy for us to criticize that attitude from the safety of our seats and couches, so I won't do that here. If that's what Forbes wants to be remembered for when he hangs up the gloves, who am I to judge?

Oscar and Floyd Mayweather Sr. seem to think (publicly anyway) that the plan the Golden Boy followed will allow him to have a realistic chance of upsetting Floyd Jr. in their all-but-signed rematch this fall. Others think otherwise - Hall of Famer Alexis Arguello for one - and I'd put myself in that category. Oscar will give a good account of himself, certainly, but there wasn't anything on display on Saturday that should cause Floyd Jr. to lose any sleep.

Even more worrisome is De La Hoya's alleged wish to end his retirement tour by taking on Miguel Cotto in December. Unless he's really feeling it, Oscar may want to rethink trading body shots with the WBA welterweight champ. Cotto is a lot more offensive-minded than Mayweather, and while De La Hoya will have the edge in boxing skills, it won't be as wide a gap as some may think. Make no mistake, Mayweather will beat De La Hoya, but Cotto will punish him.

But Oscar's earned the right to fight anyone he damn well pleases as he winds down his career. And since a common criticism of some big name fighters of this era (Mayweather, for instance) is that they don't fight the most challenging competition, at least we'll be able to look back and say De La Hoya went out fighting the best. That and several dozen more millions in the bank should help ease the sting if he ends up with two more notches in the loss column to show for it.

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