In what has become almost tradition in boxing the first week in May has become one of the biggest fight weekends of the year; in the past few years boxing biggest stars have fought on Cinco de Mayo weekend.
Typically the first weekend in May was thought to be Oscar De La Hoya weekend however there have also been other big names and memorable fights and knockouts over the past few years. Here is my list of the top 10 over the past 10 years.
10. May 3rd, 2008- Oscar De La Hoya vs. Steve Forbes
Photo by Mark J. Terrill
After De La Hoya’s loss the previous May to Floyd Mayweather, Oscar took a year off and came back against the previously minted “Contender” champion, Steve Forbes. The choice of opponent was surprising as Forbes was coming into the fight with only one win in his previous 3 outings. There were bigger and better names but with the year layoff, it seemed as Oscar was coming back against a safe opponent- A fighter with good speed but little power; Steve Forbes fit that profile. Along with the questionable opponent De La Hoya also put the card at the Home Depot Center in Carson California. De La Hoya was selling out Vegas every time he fought there but with such a fighter as Forbes, a fighter who was not that popular the fight seemed destined anywhere but Vegas. On this particular fight night, the fight felt more like a sparring session as fans were lulled to a 12 round unanimous decision for De La Hoya. Oscar won by a wide margin on all three fight card as Forbes failed to show a sense of urgency throughout the fight. Forbes showed signs of being the faster fighter however Oscar used an effective jab to neutralize the quicker Forbes which allowed Oscar to dictate the fight, in the end the fight had little excitement and failed to produce any breath taking moments. On this particular Cinco De Mayo fight weekend there was little if anything to be remembered for.
9. May 7th, 2011- Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley
This fight from the beginning seemed wrong. First, Mosley was coming off a loss the previous May to Floyd Mayweather and a dismal showing against Sergio Mora in his last outing; so it seemed to be a bit perplexing as to why Mosley was considered by Top Rank. Top Rank then moved the fight from HBO PPV to Showtime PPV. While, the move seemed to give the fight more coverage with Shobox 360 episodes being re-aired on CNN the episodes were at odd times of the day. Top Rank had hoped that more fans would be able to see both fighters prepare for their bout which would bring in more PPV buys. However, with all the hype every news outlet could give both fighters; the fight itself was a one sided clinch fest as
Mosley chose to survive and take little to any punishment as he got on his bike and did everything in his power to make it to the final bell. To Mosley’s credit he did end up going all twelve rounds, much to the dismay of Pacquiao and the sold out crowd at MGM Grand. It would be shown on final episode after the fight that Mosley wanted his trainer Nazim Richardson to throw in the towel for him. Mosley had no answer against the Filipino stars speed and power. On the episode it also was revealed that he had a fairly large blister on the bottom of his foot that was assumed to be part of the reason he looked terrible on the night of the fight. Regardless of blisters, cramps, or just an off night, Mosley looked and fought perhaps the worst fight of his career. The one real entertaining moment was on final Shobox episode where it showed Mosley’s girlfriend Bella Gonzalez yell at Mosley that Pacquiao was making Mosley his B@%ch.
8. May 3rd, 2003- Oscar De La Hoya vs. Luis “Yori Boy” Campas
In 2003, Campas was over the hill, yet a fairly decent name at the time with a decent record. While there were far better opponents that Oscar could have faced, Campas seemed to be handpicked because he lacked the real ability to actually hurt or beat De La Hoya. While the fight did have its moments and some entertaining exchanges, it was largely a dominated fight by De La Hoya. Campas corner threw in the towel in the 7th as Campas was taking far too many hard shots too often. It ended as many expected and did little to raise the already popular De La Hoya.
7. May 5th, 2012 – Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto
I am aware that this fight has not taken place yet but I feel pretty confident that it will be better than the previous three.
6. Oscar vs. Mayorga – May 5th 2006
Ricardo Mayorga came on to the fight scene with a shocking Knockout of Vernon Forrest in 2003. The Nicaraguan was brash, loud and most of all a hard puncher. Mayorga would cross every line of respect there was in boxing. In the weeks leading up to the fight, Mayorga would insult De La Hoya, his wife and even his kids. However as Mayorga would talk big outside the ring he failed to live up to the hype inside the ring. De La Hoya would punish Mayorga for five rounds and end the bout in the 6th with a barrage of punches that went uncontested. While the fight may not have had great back and forth action, De La Hoya was coming off a 20 month layoff and many wondered how he would do against Mayorga. De La Hoya looked extremely sharp in his return and was probably his last solid win as his only other win would be against Steve Forbes two years later.
5. Floyd vs. Mosley – May 1st 2010
If any fighter has had more “shot” comments than Shane Mosley in the last 5 years I have yet to hear about who they are. Many people believed that Mosley was done with big main event fights after his loss to Miguel Cotto, yet after somewhat of a comeback against Antonio Margarito, Mosley once again found himself in a big time fight with the pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather. In the first 3 rounds Mosley looked good and almost scored one of the biggest knockdowns in history when in the 3rd round Mosley rocked Mayweather that buckled his knees and almost sent him to the canvas. Yet the P4P king wisely held on and weathered the storm. In the next nine rounds Mosley was reduced to being on the receiving end of Mayweather’s showcase of boxing skills. Mayweather showed after the punch in the 3rd he was the better fighter and at times late in the fight that he may have been able to take Mosley out at any given time. In the end, the fight showed that Mayweather could take a shot but also that he could recover and not only dominate a fight with speed but also power.
4. Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather – May 5th 2007
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Depending on whom you ask, up until the De La Hoya bout, Mayweather had fought questionable opponents while avoiding tough fights specifically Cotto. Mayweather faced Carlos Baldomir, Zab Judah and Sharmba Mitchell in the previous three fight leading up to his fight with De La Hoya, not exactly “A” level competition. De La Hoya posed the biggest risk (and payday) for Mayweather when they faced one another in 2007. The first half of the fight was a close fight with De La Hoya staying in the fight with his jab. Mayweather to his credit stayed focused and over the last half of the fight outboxed De La Hoya by landing crisp and laser like combos to the face of De La Hoya. Mosley took over the contest to earn a close split decision. Many point to the win over De La Hoya as Mayweather’s cross into a bona fide ppv star.
3. Manny Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton – May 2nd 2009
Ricky Hatton was supposed to be Manny Pacquiao first real threat as Manny easily dismantled Oscar De La Hoya with relative ease five months earlier. Hatton was considered a legitimate 140lb with an aggressive style that many felt could smother and neutralize the smaller Pacquiao. If Manny’s win over Oscar De La Hoya thrust Pacquiao into stardom, his annihilation of Hatton put him into superstardom. In 5 months Pacquiao managed to dismantle Americas and the United Kingdom’s two most popular fighters. It was the beginning of what has become common place of Pacaquiao dismantling his larger opponents.
2. Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez 1 – May 8th 2004
This fight was one of only three that was not a PPV card in the past decade. At the time, Manny Pacquiao was just becoming a name in the states. Pacquiao was coming off his first big win against Marco Antonio Barrera and Marquez had already established himself as a skilled technician however he had no big names on his resume. The bout almost ended as quickly as it started as Pacquiao dropped the Mexican fighter three times in the first round. However, Marquez survived the round and over the next eleven rounds displayed his ring generalship and counter punching against the Filipino fighter. The fight had what a fight fans wants to see in a fight. Great back and forth action, knockdown, each fighter having their moments and most of all, fans wanting to see a rematch immediately after the fight. At the end of the bout, Marquez was able to come back and make it a very close fight as the judges scored the fight a majority decision for Manny Pacquiao. The old saying is “styles make fights” and Pacquiao – Marquez make memorable fight over and over. This just happened to be the first of three.
1. Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis Castillo – May 7th 2005
There are certain fights that fans can recall exactly where they were when the fight occurred and this fight is one of those special fights that already is considered a classic. It earned Fight of the Year in 2005 and has become a fight that I personally still enjoy to watch. The fight is what you expect , two boxers standing in the middle of the ring waging a war against one another, neither man backing down until Castillo caught Corrales in the 10th and dropped him; from the first knockdown in the 10th to the eventual stoppage a minute and forty seconds later, the 10th round along with the previous nine was a thing of beauty. Each man digging deep and unwilling to give the other any momentum, willing to sacrifice so much in the ring proves that it takes a special person to get between the ropes and willingly get hit. To this day, the fight gives me chills. The fight has also become a bittersweet moment as Diego Corrales passed away exactly 2 years later.
I thought that it would be interesting going back through the past 10 years and checking out who fought on this upcoming weekend and it was nice to see so many wonderful and memorable fights the last 10 years, some I was able to see live and others I watched as many others did. It got me excited for the fights this weekend as well as being a sign of summer on the horizon. Cinco de Mayo fight weekend is one weekend that I look forward to and I hope to see it continue as a tradition in boxing.
R.I.P. Diego “Chico” Corrales- I still remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. Cheyenne and Rainbow in Las Vegas, It was one of those moments as a boxing fan I will never forget. Thanks for the memories.