Something's Going on Here: Another Black Eye for Boxing

Oscar De La Hoya vs Shane Mosley in their 2000 bout. Mosley won a split decision.

Oscar De La Hoya and Sugar Shane Mosely are certainly good foils for each other. Their fights bring excitement and entertainment. De La Hoya is a very smart fighter with a prominent jab and left hook, while Mosley is one of the quickest punchers in the sport.

On Saturday, September 14th, these two gladiators met for their second time as professionals. Mosely had not won a fight in over 2 years (2 losses to Vernon Forrest, and one no-decision earlier this year), while De La Hoya was coming off one of the most impressive performances of his carreer, a 10 round knock-out against the Ferocious Fernando Vargas. Despite this momentum, however, Mosley had a trump card: the fact that he had decisively beaten De La Hoya in their last outing.

In their previous match, in which Mosley won a split decision, De La Hoya had taken the fight to the smaller Mosley, believing that he would simply over power him. This strategy played right into Mosley's hands, since he is a venerable counter-puncher, and Mosley clearly was quicker to punch in most of their exchanges. This time, Oscar De La Hoya employed a different strategy. Using his jab and a rejeuvenated right hand, he was able to out class Mosley for the first 7 rounds, out punching and out landing the quicker opponent. Mosley was confused and frustrated for most of the fight. In between rounds, HBO cameras observed Sugar Shane making excuses to his father why certain strategies would not work - similar to the way a tired and hungry child sounds when he doesn't want to do his chores.

Early into the fight, De La Hoya was cut above his right eye by an accidental head-butt. However, De La Hoya still controlled the pace of the fight with his jabs and right hands. Going into the 12th round, Harold Lederman of HBO sports had De La Hoya ahead by 3. Mosley's father and trainer also believed that Mosley was behind, suggesting that "he still had a chance" and that "[he] could be the first to knock this guy out." -- the sort of advice that a manager will never give in the final round unless he was convinced that a knockout was the only way to win.

When they announced the score as a unanimous decision with all of the judges scoring the bout 115-113, most people assumed that De La Hoya would be the victor. However, the shocking and unforgivable result was that Shane Mosley was named the new Super Welter-weight champion. George Foreman, former Heavy-weight champion of the world and current HBO Sports commentator said "This is terrible, absolutely terrible" and "Something's going on here...". I couldn't agree with him more. It appears as though the fight was fixed, presumeably to make money on the betting table, with the odds 2.5 to 1 in favor of De La Hoya.

During his interview after the fight, De La Hoya indicated that he would fight the decision, however no precedent has ever been set for overturning a decision, and it is unlikely that his appeal to amount to anything. In my opinion, something must be done about the state of boxing. However, I really don't know what can be done. Unless a judge comes forward and admits to bribery it would be very difficult to prove such a claim. Perhaps I will look into the circumstances around the Chicago "Black Sox" - the Major League Baseball team whose star players took bribes to lose the world series - to see how that scandal was uncovered and prosecuted.

In the end, I love the sport of boxing, but each time I see a shameless scandal like this, I lose a little bit of faith in the whole system. Perhaps I will start to follow Wrestling. At least they admit that their matches are fixed.