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Who's the Man?

Oscar De LaHoya with Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali toys with an unsuspecting Oscar De La Hoya
AP/Wide World Photos

Roy Jones Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya continued to battle it out for the mythical title as pound-for-pound champion. Unfortunately the two fighters are not in the same weight class and will never be able to settle the issue with the gloves.

Both fighters, Jones the WBA/WBC light heavyweight champion and De La Hoya the WBC welterweight champion won handily in 1998 but both could face their first real tests in 1999. Jones battered Virgil Hill in four rounds before looking subpar in what was still a lop-sided 12-round decision against Lou Del Valle.

De La Hoya ripped the torch from Julio Cesar Chavez's hand once and for all with his 9-round TKO over the former champion on Sept. 18. In June, he stopped Patrick Charpentier in three rounds. De La Hoya is scheduled to face undefeated Ike Quartey in what could show people exactly how good "The Golden Boy" is on Feb. 13, 1999. The fight was originally set for Nov. 21, 1998 but was postponed after De La Hoya was cut over the eye in a sparring match. It was the third straight time Quartey, who is so anxious to fight De La Hoya he gave up his WBA title to challenge him, a fight has been cancelled or postponed.

Jones has been restless in his current division and had been flirting with a move up to heavyweight for some time. He came close to signing a deal to fight Buster Douglas this year before deciding against it. If he cannot find worthy competition soon he could make the move up to fight the big boys.

Another fighter who may be ready to get some votes as the best pound-for-pound fighter is Prince Naseem Hamed. His flamboyant entrances and unorthodox style have already made people take notice. His 12-round decision over Wayne McCullough on Halloween was truly a spectacle and fight fans can expect to see much more of the eccentric featherweight from Britain.

Don't look know but Mike Tyson is back. The fighter turned biter has been reinstated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission following psychiatric evaluations that determined him fit for a comeback and is set to return to the ring in early 1999. The active heavyweights including WBA/IBF champion Evander Holyfield looked bored yet vulnerable at times in his mandatory defense against Vaughn Bean. WBC champion Lennox Lewis looked completely mediocre in his decision over Croatian tomato can Zeljko Mavrovic. Holyfield and Lewis finally signed a deal for a unification bout set for 1999.


Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

1997–98 SeasonCurrent Champions

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