A noted boxing observer Monday said he saw a major flaw in De La Hoya?s recent fights?his inability to close the show in his favor.
In his article on www.newsday.com on Sunday, boxing writer Robert Cassidy noted that De La Hoya was leading against such tough foes as Felix Trinidad, Bernard Hopkins, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Sugar Shane Mosley only to allow victory to escape his grasp.
De La Hoya fans may point out to incompetent judges as the culprit, said Cassidy, but ring pundits also noted that the ageing 10-time world champion seemed to be fading in the last few rounds.
At 35 now, De La Hoya may no longer be the deadly finisher who sowed terror in the ring in six weight divisions.
Freddie Roach, the highly regarded trainer of pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, had earlier said that De La Hoya could no longer pull the trigger.
Roach insists that De La Hoya is ripe for the picking when he tangles with Pacquiao on Dec. 6 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Owing to his four-inch height, five-inch reach and 14-pound weight advantage, however, De La Hoya has been installed the heavy favorite to beat Pacquiao when they clash at the catch weight of 147 pounds.
This is because in boxing, all things being equal, the bigger fighter generally beats the smaller fighter, according to Hall of Fame trainer Angelo Dundee.
Not all things will be equal in the Hoya-Pacquiao dream bout, however, according to pundits.
Although De La Hoya will be stronger, Pacquiao will be faster, they said.
With his edge, De La Hoya needs to stop Pacquiao early or the Filipino fireball could wear him down in the closing rounds, said five-time world champion Sugar Ray Leonard.
And De La Hoya will have to go through the wringer again.