If this fight between Hatton and De La Hoya were to happen, there would be no doubt that Oscar would be an extremely hot favorite. Factors of natural skill and power due to being the bigger man would certainly play to the Golden Boy's claim for victory, however, would stamina, heart and the left hook to the body be enough for "The Hitman" to cause a tremendous upset?
The first three rounds would undoubtedly be crucial, more likely for the Hitman than De La Hoya. Similar fighters as Hatton, perhaps not as good quality-wise, but similar nevertheless have learned the lessons of brawling with Oscar.
Arturo Gatti was floored in the first and stopped in the fifth. Ricardo Mayorga was also floored in the first and stopped slightly later in the sixth round. Even without a knockdown, Hatton could certainly lose the fight. As we saw in the past and even recently against Carlos Maussa, Ricky is very susceptible to cuts, and with a counter puncher like De La Hoya, this is a factor, which would not be ruled out.
If Hatton were to survive the first three rounds, with no cuts and no knockdowns, the middle rounds of the fight would most probably be the decider. Hatton would need to win rounds and work away to the body as previous fights have shown the Golden Boy to be lazy in the later rounds, so he would no doubt like to enjoy a big points lead going into the 10th, 11th and 12th rounds.
In this regard, much would depend on the weight agreed as to whether Ricky would have the strength to push Oscar back onto the ropes and do what he did Kostya Tszyu, which no doubt would be the only way he could win the fight.
Again, if the Hitman was able to go into the later rounds with no cuts and landed a left hook to the body, or even one similar to the one Maussa was knocked out with, then the unthinkable could certainly happen.
The common opinion is either an early win or mid-late round stoppage for the Golden Boy, with a feeling that if Hatton could survive until late, his will to win and stamina (as seen on his 15 round body bag sessions) may take over and an upset would be possible.
Bear in mind, the only time De La Hoya has ever been stopped is from a left hook body shot by a man, Bernard Hopkins, that hadn't knocked out an opponent for nearly three years prior. We also do not know just how much De La Hoya has aged since his last 12 rounder, so again that could be another interesting factor.
All in all, it would be a huge task if the Hitman were to take such a fight, far more formidable than if he were to face Floyd Mayweather, due to the natural size difference, however the left hook and doggish style, along with a huge heart means Hatton could never be discounted, in fact discounting him could be the biggest mistake De La Hoya could make!