Predictions: Oscar De La Hoya Vs. Steve Forbes

The Franchise says...

My stepfather refuses to order any more Oscar De La Hoya pay-per-views, and he may not watch him fight on HBO this weekend either. Why is this relevant? Bear with me for a second, I'm getting to that.

The grudge held by my stepdad against the Golden Boy dates back to the summer of 2004, when De La Hoya fought Felix Sturm. As you may remember, that was supposed to be a warm-up bout that would keep Oscar active for a fall showdown with Bernard Hopkins. As you may not remember, Sturm jabbed De La Hoya to death and nearly stole the fight, losing by narrow 115-113 scores on all three cards. My stepfather is convinced the judges were too scared to do the right thing for fear of sabotaging the big payday with B-Hop, and to this day he's stubbornly refused to watch De La Hoya fight again.

Maybe that has nothing to do with tonight's fight, but one has to admit that the circumstances are eerily similar. A huge fight (maybe his last) looms for De La Hoya this fall in the form of a rematch with Floyd Mayweather. Like Sturm, Forbes is seen as a huge underdog - Vegas has Oscar as an 18-1 favorite - and while he may not have one great weapon like Sturm's jab, he does bring some skills to the table.

Throw in a dose of Mayweather family drama for good measure, with Forbes switching trainers from Roger to Jeff after Floyd complained about a conflict of interest. As Kevin Iole recently pointed out, that was just an example of a strange series of events that's led us to this point.

Still, there's not much on Forbes' resume to suggest he can pull off the upset. He's smaller than De La Hoya, for starters, though his bouts on The Contender were fought at 150. He hasn't exactly been scintillating since his runner-up finish on that show either, getting beaten handily by Demetrius Hopkins and eking out a split decision over Francisco Bojado in his two fights last year. Most troublesome of all, he has only nine career knockouts, suggesting he'd need to beat Oscar the way even Sturm couldn't: on the scorecards.

That's probably not impossible, but it is highly unlikely. Despite this feeling that Oscar is ripe to be beaten, Forbes isn't the right man for the job. I expect De La Hoya to box him evenly at worst, plus do a lot more damage when he lands his signature left hook. That should be all he needs to keep his future plans intact. In other words, Oscar by fairly uneventful unanimous decision.

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