Two men who have reached the pinnacle of their boxing careers - four-time champion Floyd Mayweather, Junior and six-time champion Oscar De la Hoya of the United States - meet in Las Vegas as De la Hoya defends his World Boxing Council junior middleweight (69.85 kilogram) title. As VOA's David Byrd reports, the fight called "The World Awaits" is set to determine the best all-around fighter May 5.
Oscar De La Hoya first came to prominence with his Olympic gold medal in Barcelona in 1992. Since turning pro De la Hoya, 34, has 38 wins and four losses with 30 of his victories coming by knockout. He has earned the nickname "the golden boy" for his good looks, community service and positive attitude.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. lost a controversial semifinal bout in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and had to settle for a bronze medal. He spent the first years of his career in De La Hoya's shadow, fighting less talented boxers before winning the World Boxing Council super featherweight title from Genaro Hernandez in 1998. Mayweather's nickname is "Pretty Boy" because of his attractive face and physique.
De La Hoya has won a share of the world title in six weight classes. Mayweather has captured four different titles. Mayweather is undefeated (37-0) with 24 knockouts. De La Hoya, 34, is four years older than Mayweather.
As part of a pre-fight press tour, De La Hoya and Mayweather stopped here at Washington's Union Station. The younger, flashier Mayweather said that he plans to prove that he is the best fighter in the world.
"May 5, I'm not going to rush," he said. "I'm going to take my time, I'm going to go out there - and I am going to look you face to face when I say this - I'm going to take my time, I am going to go out there and I am going to give you a brutal beating; a brutal beating."
Oscar De La Hoya said at the same event that he is not intimidated by Mayweather. The veteran said talk is cheap and he plans to make sure his opponent's undefeated record comes to an end.
"He can trash talk all he wants but come May 5, we will see who is going to be feeling all the pain. He is undefeated. He is a good fighter, but obviously everyone's '0' has got to go. And May 5 your '0' is going to go," De La Hoya said.
The bout at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino sold out in just three hours and established a live gate record of $19 million. The fight is being offered in 176 countries on pay-per-view and is expected to be the most lucrative non-heavyweight bout ever. It will also pay the fighters well. De La Hoya expects to make $20 million while Mayweather is set to earn $12 million.