De La Hoya says Mayweather, Pacquiao will each 'have chance to connect'

LAS VEGAS -- Oscar De La Hoya speaks from experience when he predicts a Floyd Mayweather Jr. triumph on Saturday.

De La Hoya , who lost to both men while helping make them the pay-per-view stars they are today, says his head tells him Mayweather will win but that his heart is with Pacquiao.

"I believe this fight is going to be more exciting today than five years ago because both guys are not as agile on their feet," De La Hoya said Tuesday. "Mayweather has lost a step or two with his legs and so has Pacquiao. Pacquiao will have a chance to connect a few punches on Mayweather and vice versa."

De La Hoya said the Filipino has a distinct advantage in trainer Freddie Roach and will have a strategy to counter Mayweather's defensive moves.

Roach was in De La Hoya's corner in 2007 when De La Hoya won most of the early rounds before fading and dropping a decision to Mayweather.

What he doesn't want to see, De La Hoya said, is Mayweather fighting just to win the fight. That strategy has helped Mayweather win all 47 of his fights, but fans are often unenthused about his performances because he thinks safety first.

In the most anticipated fight in recent times, that is not enough to stand the test of history, De La Hoya said.

"It's sometimes unfortunate that his mentality is I'm undefeated and I'm going to think I'm the greatest because nobody has beaten me," De La Hoya said. "It just doesn't work that way.

"You have to dare to be great and when you are to be great you're going to face the toughest challenges. People are going to see that and people are going to respect that."

Roach said he believes De La Hoya could have won the 2007 fight had he kept jabbing. More importantly, Roach said it was a fight he learned a lot about how to take on Mayweather.

"I really did learn from the Oscar fight. It was a good lesson to me," Roach said. "Floyd is tricky but not very complicated. But if you get behind him and start following him around the ring he will set a trap. I have trained Manny not to let that happen. When he sets a trap, Manny will walk away."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.