The welterweight division has long been thought of as boxing’s strongest and it’s about to get even stronger. HBO’s Larry Merchant reported Saturday night that Oscar De La Hoya is currently walking around at 152 pounds and feels he can make the 147-pound weight limit for his next fight. De La Hoya hasn’t fought at welterweight since 2001. In a bombshell revelation, it has been leaked (likely by Golden Boy promotions) that Oscar is interested in fighting super lightweight champion Ricky Hatton. Hatton had previously been angling for a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., but if De La Hoya comes calling, there’s no way he can pass the fight up, simply for financial reasons.
Currently the welterweight division boasts the likes of Miguel Cotto, Mayweather, Shane Mosley, Paul Williams and Kermit Cintron. Hatton can fight at 147 and if De La Hoya is serious about returning at that weight, it would certainly be the deepest division in boxing.
Paul “the Punisher” Williams knocked off Antonio Margarito Saturday night, with a unanimous decision to take Margarito’s WBO welterweight title. I watched the fight and Williams was very impressive. Many experts considered Margarito one of the most dangerous fighters in the sport, but Williams kept the hard-charging Mexican at bay with his impressive jab and accurate hooks. The 6’1 southpaw threw 1,256 punches (that’s over 100 per round), 606 of which were jabs. I was impressed with Williams, I had him winning the first six rounds, as well as the ninth and 12th, giving him a 116-112 win on my unofficial card. Margarito had huge rounds in the seventh, eighth and 11th, but couldn’t close with a big 12th. He thought he was “robbed” but anyone who watched the fight knew he was clearly beaten. Williams improved his record to 33-0 with 24 KO’s, while Margarito fell to 34-5 with 24 KO’s.
The loss ruined what would have been a big time matchup for Margarito, as Bob Arum (his promoter) had already reached an agreement with Cotto’s people for a big fight, had he won. Now it looks like Cotto will turn his attention to Shane Mosely, that fight should take place some time this fall. If Cotto wins and a De La Hoya – Hatton fight falls through, then Cotto should push hard for a matchup with Oscar, since it could out-do De La Hoya – Mayweather in anticipation.
So where does that leave Williams and Margarito? Probably headed for a rematch. Williams wants Cotto or Mayweather and Margarito will be desperate for any meaningful fight. Williams won’t get either fight he wants, but might be able to swing a fight with Kermit Cintron to unify two of the welterweight belts. Cintron won impressively over Walter Matthysse by a second round KO on Saturday night. But Williams and Margarito put on a great action fight, they were absolutely hammering each other and it was really fun to watch. It wouldn’t be hard to sell a rematch to the public.
As for Mayweather, don’t expect him to get involved in the welterweight circus any time soon. Talks of a fight with Hatton have disappeared, and it would be too much of a risk to fight Cotto or Williams. Floyd will just sit at home for now and tell everyone around him how great he is.