OSCAR DE LA HOYA is convinced he has found the right style to defeat Floyd Mayweather Jr in their rematch this September.
The six-weight, 10-time world champion returned to the ring for the first time since losing a split decision to Mayweather almost exactly a year ago.
And he outclassed former 140-pound IBF champion Stevie Forbes in a 12-round unanimous decision at 150 pounds in front of 27,000 fans at the Home Depot Centre on the outskirts of the 35-year-old’s native Los Angeles. With a September 20 rematch against pound-for-pound king Mayweather all but rubber-stamped, De La Hoya said his convincing victory over his 2007 conqueror’s former sparring partner on Saturday night has filled him with confidence.
“Now I feel sharp,” De La Hoya declared after his continuous use of stinging jabs had led to a 120-108, 119-109, 119-109 victory over 31-year-old Forbes that moved his record to 39-5 with 30 knockouts. Forbes fell to 33-6 (nine KOs).
“The idea is to stand up and fight more straight up, and use the jab and bounce on my toes a little and be aggressive at the same time, so I’m happy that we took on Forbes and happy that we fought here in LA.
“Now I feel sharp. After 12 hard rounds, now I feel sharp after a year lay-off.”
De La Hoya admitted that no deal to fight Mayweather Jr had been finalised but, with Floyd Mayweather Sr back in his corner on Saturday having been sidelined for last year’s fight against his son, he added: “Obviously I’ve always prided myself on fighting the best and I’m going to go after him, because I know I can beat him.”
De La Hoya repeated his intention not to fight beyond 2008 with his victory over Forbes the first of three farewell contests before taking on Mayweather in September and then a final bout in December, possibly against welterweight champion Miguel Cotto.
“I’ve accomplished my goal in the first of three and I’m ready to have two big, exciting fights come September and December.”
De La Hoya paid tribute to the smaller, durable Forbes, trained by Floyd Sr’s younger brother Jeff Mayweather and nicknamed ‘two pound’ in recognition of his birth weight.
“Stevie Forbes, that’s the way he fights and that’s the way he is,” De La Hoya said. “I was hoping I would stop him or knock him out, but he’s never been stopped or knocked out.
“I knew he was going to be a tough customer.
“I’m a little disappointed because I worked very hard in the gym, but it goes to show you what a fighter Stevie Forbes really is. He’s not the two pound Forbes, but the 800 pound Forbes.”
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