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De La Hoya/Coley Fight Reports
CBZ Staff

February 27, 2000

DelaHoya and Gatti: No need for judges
by Chris Bushnell (

If there is one sure solution to the corruption and incompetence that plagues many of boxing's judges, it's the knockout. No bogus split decisions, no favoritism for the house fighter, no backroom sanctioning body politics...just a winner and a loser.

Coming into his fight with unheralded but highly ranked Derrell Coley, Oscar DelaHoya was preaching the Gospel of Knockout. Promising four fights and four knockouts in Y2K, The Golden Boy's sermon sounded compelling. Born again after bicycling away his welterweight title and undefeated record in a pay-per-view letdown, DelaHoya certainly made good on his resolution once in the ring. From the opening bell to the predictable conclusion, DelaHoya swung for the fences with every punch. He got his knockout, but looked unspectacular, as many fighters who load up too soon often do.

Entering the ring to catcalls and boos, DelaHoya may have felt as though he showed up at the wrong party. Although the ringside seats were stocked with celebrities, the high pitched screams of his female fans and the boisterous calls of his loyal contingent were missing. In the opening round, after several DelaHoya hooks found their target, the Madison Square Garden stands erupted with unified chants of "Co-ley...Co-ley".

Cheers weren't enough for Coley, who brought his knife to a gun fight. While Coley flicked out a light jab onto DelaHoya's gloves, Oscar responded by planting his feet and pulling his heaviest hooks across Coley's ribs and face. No jabs. No swift comcaught Coley a few times in the first round, and when Coley upped his lateral movement in the second, DelaHoya focused his attack downstairs. Ripping Coley with loud thudding hooks to the ribs, DelaHoya forced Coley to drop his guard, either to protect his midsection or because he was unable to keep his arms up. Coley kept moving in the third round as DelaHoya simply took batting practice.

Although the fight was completely one sided, DelaHoya wasn't performing near the top of his game. Looking softer than he has in his more important bouts, DelaHoya clearly had not trained very hard. Not that he needed to, as Coley offered minimal resistance. Still, Oscar's bombs-away strategy resulted in numerous breaks, as DelaHoya would throw four and five wicked home run attempts, land a few, and then require a breather. Like many fighters who focus on the knockout, DelaHoya forgot many of the things that make them happen.

By the fourth round, Coley was hurting. Deciding to make a stand at last, Coley surprised DelaHoya with a straight right hand down the pike. DelaHoya was not as hurt as he was shocked that Coley had finally touched him. Coley threw a couple of shots to the body and came upstairs with a right hand that swiveled Oscar's head. Coley then let his hands go. For just short of a minute, Coley threw his entire arsenal at DelaHoya...and only really hit him once. As the crowd stood and cheered Coley's sudden aggression, DelaHoya ducked, slipped and blocked practically every Coley attempt.

When Coley finally stopped to take a breather of his own, DelaHoya made him pay. Throwing a single jab as a power punch, DelaHoya snapped Coley's head straight back like a Pez dispenser. Moments later, DelaHoya stepped right and landed a flush left hook that sent Coley back on his heels into the ropes. As Coley retreated, he dragged one leg behind him as though it had gone dead. DelaHoya now threw in bunches, and slammed Coley to the body repeatedly. Oscar followed with more hooks upstairs and Coley staggered across the ring, fell into the ropes again, and took even more blows to the midsection. Again Coley reeled across the ring, and time expired after several more DelaHoya bombs pounded his head.

The fifth round returned to a slow pace, with DelaHoya resting and Coley running. Coley's offense evaporated, and he tried in vain to keep away from DelaHoya for three full minutes. Through the sixth, Coley ran, coming close to turning his back on DelaHoya to get away quick enough. DelaHoya caught up with him occasionally and fired away. It wasn't scintillating, but Oscar was getting the job done.

Coley's right eye began to swell in the sixth round, but by the seventh it was a mess. DelaHoya landed a number of hard hooks to Coley's face, and after one particularly heavy punch, Coley backed off out of range and blew his nose. Clearing his blocked breathing was the worst thing he could have done, and his eye quickly swelled shut. As fluid-filled bubbles grew above and under his line of vision, DelaHoya targeted Coley with ease. The end was near. Coley's enthusiasm seemed sapped, and so when a particularly hard DelaHoya left hook to the liver landed, Coley dropped to his knees. Head down, Coley stayed on his knees as referee Wayne Kelly counted to ten. DelaHoya KO7.

After the fight, DelaHoya (32-1/26) was his usual enigma. Looking frustrated instead of his usual smiles, DelaHoya contradicted his demeanor by claiming he was very pleased with his performance. Indeed he had scored the kayo he had promised, but had he really looked that great? Plodding and fighting in spurts, DelaHoya's aggression seemed custom made for someone like Shane Mosley, a busy fighter who prefers a hectic pace. Or perhaps DelaHoya turned in an average performance because that was all he was required to do vs. an opponent of Coley's caliber. Time will tell.

In the featured bout of the evening, Arturo Gatti knocked Joey Gamache literally senseless in a bout that raised some serious questions about the weigh-in process.

As long as there have been weight limits, there have been fighters struggling to make weight. Needing to lose weight quickly, fighters are often reduced to sweating off pounds in a steam room or running an extra mile before stepping on the scale to make weight. Arturo Gatti has made such weight fluctuations an artform. Dehydrating himself by severely limiting his liquid intake and spending time in the sauna, Gatti is able to weigh 141 on Friday and the enter the ring at 160 on Saturday. It's a double edged sword, as Gatti has trampled certain opponents by being the much larger man and lost a few fights by the exacerbated swelling and late round fatigue that plagues fighters who have dried out to make weight.

But this evening, the sword seemed to have only one sharp side, and Gamache paid the price. Outweighed by 15 pounds, Gamache simply could not take the punches Gatti threw. After two minutes of Gatti's rarely seen jab, Gamache caught a straight right hand to the face as he was leaning left that turned him around and sent him down, so that his knees and face supported a perfect A-frame. As Benji Estevez began his count, Gamache stayed in this awkward position, half-out of the ring, for several seconds.

Rising on wobbly legs, Gamache beat the count. With a minute remaining, Gatti came at Gamache for the finish. Gamache threw three quick left hooks, two of which landed flush, hoping to hold Gatti off. As Gatti shook off the return fire, he launched a beautiful double left hook of his own. The first smacked against Gamache's ribs and the second clipped the front of his face, sending him down to the canvas again. Lying on his back, Gamache had the wide eyed look of someone who didn't even know what hit them. But still he rose.

Gatti again rushed in for attack, and again Gamache unleashed desperation left hooks that landed flush on Gatti's head. Now it was bombs away. Both men threw repeated left hooks at each other and both landed, but when Gatti's punches landed they carried the force of his extra weight, and Gamache was again stunned to the ropes as Gatti landed square on target. Gatti wildly charged, hoping to take advantage of the three knockdown rule, which was in effect. His frenzy resulted in a swing-miss-slip that bought Gamache some time. As the final bell rang, and Estevez waved his arms out to end the round , a late Gatti hook slammed into the front of Gamache's face and wobbled him again. Gamache slumped forward slightly, and Estevez's outstretched arms may have prevented him from going down again. Gamache, however, was too stunned to protest, and so he simply returned to the wrong corner for the one minute break.

The fight would not last much longer. After exchanging a few jabs in the second stanza, Gatti tagged Gamache with a left hook that reeled him back several steps. As Gamache caught his footing, Gatti reached back and threw a side armed right that snapped Gamache's head. Gamache was hurt and raised his gloves to his face. Then things got really bad.

Gatti threw and landed a textbook combination. All three punches landed about as well as they could. First Gatti threw a right uppercut that Gamache saw coming. He flinched his head, catching the punch flush on the left side of his jaw. Gamache was gone as soon as the punch landed. He was knocked out on his feet, but the combination was already in progress. Gatti's left hook followed immediately after the uppercut and caught Gamache right in the nose. Gamache's head wobbled in place like one of those baseball novelty statues and he began falling backwards to the canvas. All part of the same movement, Gatti's right hand came next, slamming into the limp Gamache's left ear as he was headed to the floor. As Gamache fell back, slamming his head on the canvas, he was gone. No count necessary.

Gamache was immediately surrounded by his cornermen, boxing officials, and a doctor...all of whom simply let him lie in place on the canvas. For several minutes, Gamache tried in vain to regain his senses, and three times attempted to sit up only to collapse back to the canvas. As Gatti's celebrating turned to quiet concern, Gamache struggled to come to, looking bleary and completely unaware of his surroundings. As the cameras focused on his plight to sit up, there appeared to be no physician recommending anything. No one was examining his eyes with a flashlight, no one moved for oxygen or a stretcher. They simply huddled over Gamache watching along with the viewers to see if he would pull through. Eventually he sat up, then was lifted to a stool, and luckily was on his feet and alert a few minutes later...but there were some tense moments prior to Gamache's recovery.

Aside from the weight disparity and the brutal finish, Gatti (31-4/26) looked pretty good. Although he weighed in at 160, his physique did not resemble that of a man who took off poundage because he had failed to train. In fact, Gatti was as buffed and cut as he's ever been. Furthermore, he set up his power with a stiff jab and some renewed head movement, except in the two sections when he got caught looking for the finish. It remains to be seen if Gatti can continue fighting that style over a sustained fight, but if he can then what does it mean for the division? Surely Kostya Tszyu is as big a puncher as there is at 140, but can even his power compare to Gatti's middleweight size? Certainly a matchup between these two power-punching, defense-lacking pugilists would be exciting while it lasted.

But Gatti's place in the 140 hierarchy comes second to questions about his place in the division at all. Fighters in the modern era are given 24 hours to rehydrate after weigh-in, a practice endorsed by doctors who seek to protect dehydrated fighters from taking blows to the head while dried out. But in light of this victory, and Gatti's previous bout in which he hospitalized another outsized opponent, perhaps some protection needs to be given to the fighter who doesn't dry out as well. Gatti-Gamache was not a horrible mismatch of skill levels, but was an abhorrent mismatch in weight. Gamache left the ring on his feet, but how long before someone doesn't?

By Thomas Gerbasi

With a mixture of aggression and apathy, Oscar De La Hoya finally got around to getting rid of Derrell Coley in the seventh round of their scheduled 12 round welterweight bout at New York City's Madison Square Garden last night. De La Hoya (32-1, 26Kos), who vowed to be in a constant state of aggression after his debacle against Felix Trinidad last September, moved forward consistently throughout the bout, but against an opponent such as Coley (34-2-2, 24 KOs), who looked to be on his way out from late in the fourth round on, "The Golden Boy" was not aggressive ENOUGH for my tastes.

The first round set the pattern for the fight, Oscar chasing, Coley backpedaling behind a jab, not wanting to get too close to engage. By the second and third rounds though, De La Hoya took matters to the body, visibly slowing down Coley, who despite all his pre-fight boasting, did not seem to be looking for the knockout.

As the fourth round began, the question wasn't if De La Hoya would win, but when. Then Coley deviated from the script. A crisp left right to the head shook Oscar and all punch output from "The Golden Boy" ceased. But just as there was a hint that the tide was turning, a left hook by De La Hoya knocked Coley back on his heels. Oscar owned the second half of the exciting fourth stanza and Coley returned to his corner on rubbery legs.

Now any other fighter with a trace of killer instinct would not have let Coley off the hook as Round Five commenced. But De La Hoya, looking strangely bored with the proceedings, continued to plod forward as Coley looked to run and survive. And survive he did until late in the seventh, when a left right to the body by De La Hoya gave Coley an excuse to fall down and stay down. With battered ribs, a rapidly closing right eye and a bloody nose, Coley decided to take referee Wayne Kelly's 10 count at the 3:00 mark. There is no doubt that Coley earned his $650,000 the hard way.

Methodical and punishing, two words not usually associated with an Oscar De La Hoya victory. But in scoring his 32nd win, De La Hoya may be eschewing his run and gun strategy for more of a smashmouth attack. Will he have the fortitude to stick it out in this manner when he gets in a real war with a real opponent? Only June will tell, when either "Sugar" Shane Mosley or Felix Trinidad is on his dance card.

In undercard action, the human highlight film, Arturo Gatti, scored a brutal second round kayo over Joey Gamache in a junior welterweight bout. Unfortunately for Gamache, Gatti came into the ring at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds, pretty much eliminating any chance of this bout being fought on a level playing field.

Gatti (31-4, 26 Kos) looked good while it lasted, using a stiff jab to set up a right cross which produced the first of two first round knockdowns. Gamache was on queer street after his first trip to the canvas, and after being dropped a second time, only the bell saved him from a first round defeat.

But a one minute rest just prolonged the inevitable. Gamache (55-4, 38 Kos) tried to slug, but when being faced with a 14 pound disparity in weight, it was like throwing pebbles against a tank for the former champion. A sizzling right uppercut put Gamache out on his feet, and a follow up left hook and right cross drilled him to the canvas hard. Referee Benji Esteves immediately called a halt to the fight at the 41 second mark, and a few scary minutes were endured as Gamache struggled to regain his bearings and rise to his feet.

De La Hoya comes back with impact, Gatti impressive
By BoxingRules

"The Golden Boy" has made his return, Derrell Coley was the victim tonight despite his bold words earlier in the week. The fact was that Oscar pounded Coley every second except a jabbing lesson in the first round and a small barrage in the fourth round.

De La Hoya started and ended each round with a non-stop assault, though he never seemed to want to follow anything up when he had "Deuce" hurt. It was a crisp bodyshot that broke down Coley.

That bodyshot went in the seventh round and that was the end of Coley, whose only previous loss had been a setback to Oba Carr in 1995 as his record dropped to 34-2-2. Prior to the match, we were reminded by Larry Merchant that we were seeing the re-emergence of a fallen idol. Though his opposition was little tonight, he got back up.

For it was five monthes ago that The Golden Boy was tarnished permanently in the biggest fight of his career. De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad would do battle, or whatever we saw that night, in what was dubbed pre-match as "Fight of the Millenium". Oscar was able to control the momentum for the most part but slowed down and retreated in the closing four rounds, leading to a surprise victory for the Puerto Rican.

No matter what you scored it (I had it 115-113 for Trinidad), De La Hoya had lost. But already, though only seven rounds into his comeback, is already on the verge of an unlikely rematch with Trinidad or Shane Mosley.

The reason the Trinidad rematch is unlikely is due to the fact that next week he will jump up a weight class to challenge David Reid for Reid's WBA 154-pound title, and now that De La Hoya has some anonymous belt after his win tonight, it would require him to move up in weight before a sequel with "Tito".

Mosley is the more sensible opponent, a former Lightweight champion with dazzling speed and power who has moved into Welterweight and looked impressive since. Another fact is that it would be a crosstown rivalry as both men are from California... Oscar from East Los Angeles and Mosley from Pomona.

Getting back to what happened tonight, De La Hoya improves to 32-1 with 28 KO's. Earlier this week, Coley made several unsetting remarks at Oscar including a bold sixth-round knockout prediction and comments of Oscar as overrated, all hype, etc., etc. This because Oscar said that he had never heard of Coley and didn't even study any of his video tapes in preparation.

It looks like it wasn't needed. Coley's actions did not back up his words.

Undercard action showed us that maybe, just maybe, Arturo Gatti has a crack at another title in his storied career. You can't deny the Thunder (no pun intended) he stirred in the ring tonight against Joey Gamache.

Gatti started off uncharacteristically, leading with his jab and fighting conventionally. This as he promised in a pre-fight interview. But when Gamache got rough, Gatti got rough. And when Gatti gets rough, something is going to happen.

This time, what happened was the 33-year-old Gamache hitting the canvas with a sudden, vicious right hand. Joey was stunned and shaken, and a bodyshot deposited the veteran former champion once again. Gamache managed to make it out of the round, but perhaps he now wishes he didn't.

Gatti went right back to work in the second frame, blasting Gamache with a picture-perfect uppercut and then a left-right combination that had a staggered Joey drop to the canvas and hit his head at the conclusion of his fall.

It was obvious that Gatti had won, and with the win, had improved to 31-4 with 26 knockouts, winning his second straight since a 3-loss slump in 1998. But Gamache was down for several minutes while all precautionary measures were taken to make sure he was alright. In a sure state of relief, Gamache turned out alright.

However, this fight was shockingly in relation to Gatti's first-round stoppage of Reyes Munoz back in August '99, where Gatti, like tonight, was extremely overweight from the previous day's weigh-in. To add to the fact that it was an early kayo in both occasions, both Munoz and Gamache were given the precautionary measures after the match. The difference was that Munoz went to the Hospital and had a concussion as we would find out later that very night.

Gamache fell to 55-4, Gatti now on his loss list which consists of: Julio Cesar Chavez, Orzubek Nazarov, and Hector Lopez. This was surely an impressive victory on Gatti's parts.

It was quite a night at the legendary Madison Square Garden in NYC, a pair of one-sided knockouts come a week after a great fight (Morales vs Barrera), I guess we'll have to wait until next week to see what comes next in boxing.

Until then....

De La Hoya, Gatti Win Big:
The Road To Redemption Begins
by Francis Walker

On Saturday, February 26, at Madison Square Garden, more than 13,814 fans witnessed the return of former world champions Oscar De La Hoya (32-1, 26KOs) and Arturo Gatti (31-4, 26KOs). Each scored zestful knockouts over tough, gamed, but limited opposition as their quest to win world titles continues.

The event, promoted by Bob Arum of Top Rank, Inc., in association with Madison Square Garden, was televised live on HBO's "World Championship Boxing."

Making the first appearance since his highly disputed 12-round majority decision loss to WBC/IBF welterweight champ, Felix Trinidad, De La Hoya kept his promise to be more aggressive when he stopped WBC No. 1 contender, Derrell Coley (34-2-2, 24KOs) with a single body shot in the eighth round.

Throughout the entire contest, De La Hoya pressured Coley into the ropes behind left jabs and hard hooks to Coley's body. Coley, who mainly back-peddled in circles around the ring behind left-jabs, simply threw punches just to keep De La Hoya away from him.

In the third, Coley was lucky enough to land a meaningful punch that enabled him to land several additional shots that nearly wobbled De La Hoya. However, toward the end of the stanza, De La Hoya proved to be the better fighter, as he is continuously staggered and chased Coley several times against the ropes.

As Coley's right eye swelled shut, as a result of left-jabs that found their mark relentlessly, the punishment Coley absorbed took its toll.

Three minutes into the seventh, a solid the left hook to Coley's body forced him to fall over take a knee on the canvas. Coley was then counted out.

Following the contest, De La Hoya announced his plans to fight both Trinidad and undefeated IBF world super lightweight king, Sugar Shane Mosley in June - two of four fights for De La Hoya in 2000

If Trinidad defeats David Reid, the WBA super welterweight champ on March 3, in Las Vegas, De La Hoya would fight Trinidad in a "catch-weight" fight on June 10. Nonetheless, if Trinidad loses, De La Hoya would then challenge Mosley on June 17.

There is a reported $4.5 million offer for the Mosley camp to meet De La Hoya at the brand new Staples Center in Las Angeles. De La Hoya hopes Trinidad beat Reid. If not, then Trinidad, Mosley, and Reid will each become De La Hoya's futrure opponents.

Either way, De La Hoya will be ready.

In the co-feature: Gatti, perhaps boxing's most exciting human-highlight film, returned to the place where he won his first world title several years ago. Gatti, who defeated Tracy Harris Patterson (W 12) at the Garden in December 1995, continued his quest toward another championship as he "iced" Joey Gamache (55-4, 38KOs)in spectacular fashion.

Two days prior to the bout, Gatti who weighed in at 141 pounds to Gamache's 140, walked into the ring at a staggering 161 to Gamache's 145. That proved to be a huge difference, as it was the case six months ago in Gatti's last bout.

Gatti, in August 1999, ended the career of Rey Munoz (TKO 1) with a single right-hook in the first round. Gatti was just as impressive, definitely more trilling and dramatic during his replica showcase against Gamache.

In the opening round, Gatti, fighting behind his left-jab, floored Gamache three times on an accumulation of pulverizing left and right hooks to his chin. However, in the second round, Gatti realized he was much too fast, too strong, and simply too tough for Gamache. Gatti ended his exciting performance by landing a memorable left-right hook combination that sent Gamache tumbling onto the mat like a tall, sturdy oakwood tree.

Referee Benji Esteves called a hault to the bout just 41 seconds into round two.

Gatti, who has plans to fight again in April before challenging for the world junior lightweight title in November, has to be concerned with is rapid weight-gain prior to fights. It quite dangerous, but a huge advantage simultaneously.


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