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Just a few things based on one viewing of HBO’s telecast:

Oscar is still a world-class, championship-class fighter.  Steve Forbes is borderline world-class but does have an excellent chin and survival instincts and never appeared to be in any danger. This is one of the troubling aspects of Oscar’s career–while he has scored the occasional knockout, for the most part he lacks the power that would provide him with a wildcard in these kinds of fights. Everyone still likes to talk about his left hook and him being better at 147-150, and that may be true, but even against naturally smaller men his power barely seems to be a factor, much less any significant advantage.

So to beat Mayweather, Oscar will have to outduel him on points, and there’s little evidence that he’ll be able to do that better now than he did a year ago. Oscar was slightly more relaxed tonight I suppose but I would lean toward Larry Merchant’s suggestion that his comfort was significantly influenced by the caliber of opposition he faced. Oscar looked tired and/or tight versus guys like Mayweather, Felix Trinidad, Shane Mosley, etc. To the contrary, he was gunning for Julio Caesar Chavez late in their rematch and he desperately wanted to knockout Hector Camacho. He was probably somewhere in the middle tonight, but there was nothing to suggest he’s found the secret to taking out Mayweather in September.

He also got hit way too much. Maybe he didn’t respect the feather-fisted Forbes but Oscar took his share of clean shots and postfight photographs will prove that Forbes repeatedly got to him, even if he never was in any distress. Mayweather probably can’t hurt him either but he’ll hit him even more. At his age, Oscar doesn’t have the stamina or the speed to deal out the same quantity of punches so he’s going to have to find a way to better deflect some of those. It appeared to me that in the early rounds Forbes was content to stay just out of both fighters’ range–even though Oscar had a significant reach advantage, Forbes was quick enough to close the distance when he wanted.  (Of course, in the mid-to-late rounds Forbes gave up on winning and just wanted to show that he was competent.)

Kudos to Golden Boy for giving us a free fight on HBO. Kudos to Jeff Mayweather for being the sole likable Mayweather. Kudos to the judges and referee for not embarrassing anybody.

Kudos to Larry Merchant for a good night. Say what you will about Larry, but one thing he’s always done well in my opinion was walk the fine line between saying his piece and being a HBO company man. Read between the lines and he said basically exactly what I feel: Oscar’s great for the sport and a truly terrific, dedicated fighter, all the more impressive considering his tremendous success, but other than the money, there’s nothing to suggest the world needs another Oscar/Floyd showdown.

Mayweather by decision seems as safe a bet as ever.

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