Oscar De La Hoya is prone to hyperbole, which isn’t surprising given the retired boxer is now squarely focused on being a promoter, but even by his standards, this is an outrageous take from the Golden Boy.
During a media scrum to promote the final fight of Bernard Hopkins’ legendary career, Oscar was asked why Hopkins is fighting again, when he has been inactive since his loss to Sergey Kovalev in November 2014. To most sensible observers, Hopkins vs. Kovalev wasn’t remotely competitive. De La Hoya saw it as a performance that was better than Andre Ward’s actual (albeit hotly debated) win over Kovalev last month. Seriously.
“If he can, and his body allows him to, why not?” De La Hoya said. “It’s not like if anybody’s hurting him. I mean, he fought Kovalev! And I think he did much better than Andre Ward did against Kovalev. And he’s 51 years old. I think it just proves to everyone that age doesn’t matter, as long as you do the right thing — meaning eat right, always take care of yourself, and always stay active.”
You can watch the video of the scrum at the top of the page, courtesy of FightHubTV.
For the sake of playing along, let’s compare how Hopkins and Ward did against a common opponent:
Hopkins: Lost to Sergey Kovalev by unanimous decision (120-106, 120-107, 120-107)
Ward: Beat Sergey Kovalev by unanimous decision (114-113 x3)
Hopkins: 1 (1st round)
Ward: 1 (2nd round)
Hopkins: 65/195 total punches, 25/84 jabs, 40/111 power punches
Kovalev: 166/585 total punches, 45/244 jabs, 121/341 power punches
Ward: 116/337 total punches, 55/168 jabs, 61/169 power punches
Kovalev: 126/474 total punches, 48/242 jabs, 78/232 power punches
Hopkins failed to outland Kovalev in all 12 rounds, and was outlanded 38-10 in the 12th round, which one judge deemed worthy of a 10-8 despite no knockdown. Kovalev averaged 14 punches landed per round, while Hopkins averaged 16 punches ATTEMPTED per round.
The Ward vs. Kovalev numbers, even when broken down by round, pared with actually watching the fight unfold, tells you just how close the bout was and why Ward very much had a case for getting his eventual win.
Even on the grading curve of Hopkins being 49 years old at the time of the fight, there is literally no possible way you could make the argument that Hopkins turned in a performance more creditable than Ward’s. In a simpler summation of De La Hoya’s original statement: LOL.
As for Hopkins (55-7-2-2 NC, 32 KOs), he will be taking on light heavyweight contender Joe Smith Jr. (22-1, 18 KOs) on Saturday, December 17th on HBO Boxing.
Just this week alone, De La Hoya has made the Hopkins > Ward vs. Kovalev remark, but lest we forget that suggestion of Conor McGregor fighting Canelo Alvarez. What craziness will Oscar bring up next? If you don’t find out about it here, you can always check out Bad Left Hook for daily boxing coverage.