Oscar De La Hoya was nicknamed the Golden Boy and in my opinion something which really stands out about him the most is his resume. De La Hoya fought a host of big names and for that reason he deserves a lot of credit for fighting up through the divisions and taking on many of the best opponents available on his way to becoming a six weight world champion and for a time, the face of boxing.
In this video I have a look at an often underrated skill of The Golden Boy and that was his ability to change tempo with his attack. This falls under the category of being unpredictable, fighting at the same pace allows your opponent to pick up your rhythm and your timing, once an opponent has your timing down you’re in big trouble because then they can begin to plan traps for you and counter punch you as they know the speed at which you are coming. By switching up your speed and going from one speed to another it allows you to catch your opponent out and take them by surprise.
An added effect of using tempo changes is it can switch your opponent off so instead you are actually setting them up for your own attack. What De La Hoya was doing here was he slowed down his punches, allowing his opponent to easily pick them off and he even purposely threw his punches short – this has an effect of turning the opponent off because they get comfortable with what’s coming at them so when you then suddenly increase the tempo and speed of your punches you catch them out because by using the slower and shorter punches you have slowed them down and the quick turn of pace has the chance of getting to them before they realise what is happening.
This is an excellent strategy not just because of the reasons given above but it also allows you to dictate the pace and even conserve your own energy by using tempo changes, fighting slower for a period and then fighting faster for a quick spurt. The aim of a tempo change to try and make your opponent feel comfortable when in reality you are just setting them up for the offensive by jumping on them with a fast flurry of combinations having switched them off.