Two nights ago Felix Sturm fell victim to the powers that be. Sturm, in the opinion of this reporter-as well as the vast majority of respected boxing people I've already spoken with- clearly retained his WBO middleweight title against "The Golden Boy" Oscar De La Hoya, who once again looked a helluva older than 39 1/2 year old undisputed middleweight king Bernard Hopkins. Put simply, Sturm gave Oscar the clearest cut loss of his career, but fell victim to the bottom line. And the bottom line is it was all about the paper, meaning the mountain of money already put into the Hopkins-De La Hoya promotion, and the judges' official scorecards, also known as, the wrapping paper of Oscar's early Christmas present. Humbug, Oscar's nothing more than a paper champion at middleweight anyway!
Although it was out of character for him, Oscar De La Hoya deserves a lot of credit for coming out so aggressively against Felix Sturm.
There's no doubt it, Oscar fought like a man whose mission was to TAKE Felix Sturm's belt, there's no doubt he wanted to make a statement in his middleweight debut and there's no doubt he was winning the fight.for the first five rounds that is.
As has been the norm for Oscar as of late, he faded badly in the second half of the fight, again showing a far greater resemblance to a six round fighter than a world champion.
If you give Oscar the benefit of the doubt in each close round of the fight, as HBO's Harold Lederman did the absolute worst you could have it is 115-113 in favor of Sturm.
Like Lederman, renowned boxing agent Johnny Bos scored it 115-113 Sturm, though Bos openly acknowledges that he gave Oscar every close round because he was "thinking like a Vegas judge" and later stated "everybody I've spoken to had Sturm winning the fight at least eight rounds to four."
Boxing promoter Lou DiBella wouldn't elaborate about it on the record, but he definitely feels Sturm got jobbed. (By the way, DiBella also said he'd welcome a Jermain Taylor Vs. Sturm fight.)
It is highly unlikely that the WBO will stand by its former champion, and rightfully demand an immediate rematch because that would prompt Oscar to vacate the title and move on to his fight with Hopkins for the undisputed middleweight crown. (Remember, the WBC ordered an immediate rematch when Antonio Tarver lost his belt to Roy Jones Jr., in what most agree was a less controversial decision than Sturm-De La Hoya.)
Instead, look for the WBO to sell Sturm up the river and completely turn their backs on him in order to net their 3% sanctioning fee of the September 18 mega-fight.
Ordering an immediate rematch would be the right thing to do, because it would ensure that Sturm's gets his chance to redeem a belt he should have never been robbed of in the first place.
But that would cost the WBO its shot at the Hopkins-De La Hoya bucks, so fuhgedaboutit .
And besides, who can remember the last time the WBO did the right thing?
Maybe Sturm should shoot eighteen holes of golf with Francisco Valcarcel to assure himself of a prompt action.
Hey, it worked for Oscar coming off of a loss.
Oscar probably saw some footage of Sturm against guys we've never heard of and thought he was going to make an easy eight figures against a pushover that he'd be able to walk right through.
How wrong he was.
Floyd Mayweather Sr. recited poems about how Oscar was going to kick Sturm's ass.
Perhaps his next one will be about how Oscar may fire his.
Sturm showed that he is a very smart, fundamentally sound fighter, capable of calmly executing his game plan in the midst of situation that was supposed to engulf him.
With his excellent jab and tight defense Sturm reminded me of a European version of Winky Wright.
Ironically, Sturm defeated Oscar in eerily similar fashion to the way Wright defeated Mosley three months ago.
In my opinion Felix Sturm says it best,
"If HBO had me winning this fight, everybody should have me winning this fight!"
James Brown deserves serious kudos for keeping it real and flat out
stating that Sturm won the fight.
By the way, Boxingtalk.com recently learned that Oscar De La Hoya has a back problem that has been allegedly acting up in a bad way as of late and his hands were also giving him problems as well.
I'd imagine De La Hoya wants to enter a fight with Bernard Hopkins at nothing less than 100%
It should be interesting to see if he's A-OK in time to go on September 18 because if he isn't the Collision Course To History Might Experience an unexpected but expected detour.
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