01 July 2008 – Padraig Hoare
Light-middleweight thrill machine Jamie Moore says he would be the perfect opponent for Oscar De La Hoya’s penultimate fight.
Six-weight world champion and all-time great De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KO) is planning to bow out of the pay game after a December date against the winner of Antonio Margarito (36-5, 26 KO) and Miguel Cotto (32-0, 26 KO).
The “Golden Boy” had originally planned to have two more fights before hanging up his gloves. However a rematch with Floyd Mayweather (39-0, 25 KO) in September fell by the wayside due to the “Pretty Boy’s” immediate retirement a few weeks ago.
Ricky Hatton (44-1, 31 KO) was also mooted as an opponent in September – but this was also considered a non-runner as Hatton takes on IBF light-welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi (25-1, 5 KO) in November.
British and Irish fans’ favourite Jamie Moore (29-3, 20 KO) has urged De La Hoya to reconsider his one-fight plan and has offered to step into the breach, adding that he and De La Hoya could fill a football stadium in Britain or Ireland if the match was made.
Salford-born Moore, who is half-Irish, headlines Irish television station TV3 and Tommy Egan Promotions’ inaugural Big-Time Boxing show in the National Basketball Arena, Dublin on July 5. He said that it would be the ultimate honour to share the ring with De La Hoya.
The 29-year-old former British and Commonwealth light-middleweight champion (which he relinquished) and current No1 contender for the European crown said:
“I think every fan in the UK and Ireland wants to see Oscar fight on these shores before he retires. I would love to fight the great man and I know it would be a classic.
“Oscar, for all his superstar status, has never avoided anyone and deserves to be considered one of the greatest of all time. He has been in some great wars down through the years.
“Anyone who has seen me fight knows how exciting I can be. My fights against Michael Jones and Matthew Macklin are testament to that. Styles make fights – Oscar and I have the makings of a great one.”
Moore was victorious in two of the greatest contests of the modern era against Michael Jones (sixth-round stoppage) in 2005 and Matthew Macklin (ten-round knockout) in 2006. Both fights were heralded by fans and media alike as the fights of the year.
The Fighter’s Fighter said there was no way he would lie down for the “Golden Boy”.
“I have too much respect for myself and for Oscar to offer myself up for sacrifice. I can guarantee if I got in the ring that I could beat him. You won’t hear any trash talk from me, but when I am at my best I am confident that I can beat anyone in the world. All I have ever wanted was to fight the best. Nobody is better than Oscar De La Hoya.”
Moore has long been regarded as one of the sport’s unluckiest fighters. He has seen opportunities at European and world level disintegrate over the years because of fighters’ reluctance to share a ring with him. This will change in the autumn when he fights Chechen Zarbek Baysangurov for the European crown.
“When I beat Baysangurov, I am hoping the walls come down and I finally get the opportunity to fight for a world title. I’m not one for arrogant talk, but if fans want to see Arturo Gatti-type excitement multiplied by two, then I won’t let them down. I never have. I can box or I can fight, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Moore is considered to be one of the sport’s gentlemen. In a sport dominated by crass talk and hyperbole, Moore says he lets his fists talk for him.
“Nah, mate, I can’t stand that kind of thing. I loved the olden days when there was no trash talk, only two gladiators going toe-to-toe. Matthew Macklin and I had a classic though we are the best of friends. We’re even closer now.”
Moore gained the respect of the boxing fraternity following his brutal knockout of Macklin in October 2006.
Immediately after the knockout, when it became apparent that Macklin was unconscious, Moore appealed to his fans in the arena to mute their celebrations. He followed Macklin to the hospital instead of attending his own after-fight party, which he ordered to be cancelled.
“Thankfully Matt was okay. Once the fight is over, it’s back to being plain old Mooresy. Matt is my friend, it wasn’t right to celebrate.”
That kind of attitude has made Jamie Moore a genuine folk-hero around Manchester and beyond. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Salford University in 2007 for what Dean of Enterprise Paul Wilson called his contribution to sport and his unstinting work with young people in the community.
He concluded by saying his crowning achievement was yet to come.
“Make no mistake about it – I will be the champion of the world. A bout with Oscar De La Hoya would make that dream a lot closer. We could fill Old Trafford, Croke Park or Wembley Stadium with 100,000 people. Just think about it, Oscar, that’s all I ask.”