Ten-time world champion Oscar de la Hoya kept his plans for a rematch with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jnr on track on Saturday with a 12-round unanimous decision over Steve Forbes.
De la Hoya, 35, has said he wants to close out his glittering career this year with two fights — in September against Mayweather and in December, perhaps against Miguel Cotto.
Forbes, a former world champion himself, could have derailed those plans, but De la Hoya gave him little chance, earning the decision by 119-109 according to two judges, while the third saw it 120-108.
Now De La Hoya is expected to face Mayweather on Sept. 20 in rematch of their first bout, which was won by Mayweather.
“The idea is stand up and fight straight up, use the jab and stay on my toes,” said De la Hoya, who did all of those things. “Now I feel sharp. After 12 hard rounds, now I feel sharp after a year-long layoff.”
“It accomplished my goal, and I’m ready to have two exciting fights come September and December,” he said.
De la Hoya, who has won 10 world titles in six weight divisions, improved to 39-5.
Forbes, 31, showed technical prowess, but didn’t have an answer for De la Hoya’s speed and power in the non-title bout fought at 150 pounds (68kg).
De la Hoya had vowed he wouldn’t look beyond Forbes, perhaps recalling his 2004 fight against Germany’s Felix Sturm prior to a middleweight clash with Bernard Hopkins.
De la Hoya nearly lost to Sturm, but escaped with a unanimous decision.
Although he was sharp in this one, De la Hoya admitted he was a little disappointed with the outcome.
“I was looking to knock him out, but I couldn’t,” De la Hoya said.
In his first fight since losing a split decision to Mayweather in May last year, De La Hoya took control in the early rounds.
Late in the second, De La Hoya delivered a five-punch combination that backed up Forbes, causing a trickle of blood from his nose.
But De la Hoya couldn’t become the first fighter to knock Forbes out.
“Stevie Forbes — that’s the way he fights,” De La Hoya said. “He’s never been knocked out and he’s a tough customer. I’m disappointed because, obviously, I worked hard in the gym. But that just shows you what kind of fighter Stevie Forbes is.”
The fight was held outdoors in a ring installed in the soccer stadium at the Home Depot Center in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson — home of David Beckham’s Los Angeles Galaxy as well as Major League Soccer rivals Chivas USA.