Re: Oscar De la Hoya vs Thomas Hearns, 147, somebody gets KO'd, or decision?
Unfortunately for Oscar (and almost every other boxer puncher not named SRL that has ever fought at 147), Hearns is taller and longer, so boxing him wouldn't work. The only way SRL was able to beat Hearns was by taking the fight to him, being aggressive, and trying to get close enough to Hearns to wear him down brawling inside in the hopes of eventually catching him with something.
Could DLH do the same? My guess is probably not. SRL had better handspeed and stamina than DLH, and a better workrate as well. They're pretty close power wise; I'd say DLH had the better left hook and left uppercut, and SRL had an exponentially better right hand. DLH had excellent timing and counterpunching ability later in his career, especially at 154, but at 147, these skills hadn't developed as much.
Basically, since DLH can't outbox Hearns to a decision, and it wasn't his natural style or gameplan to try and wear someone down in close quarters brawling, the only way he'd be able to beat Hearns is to do what Barkley did, which was to press forward and eventually try and time Hearns with a huge bomb at mid-range and then go for the kill. Unfortunately for DLH, the one punch Hearns was most vulnerable to was the overhand right, because of how low he held his left hand. DLH later developed a solid straight right as a counter or lead, but it was never a KO punch for him, and he never had a strong overhand right either. He'd have a lot more difficult trying to catch Hearns with a left hook or uppercut.
DLH would have his best chance to win the fight with an aggressive, come-forward plan of trying to look for a chance to time Hearns for a big counter and then go for the KO. He'd have about 5-6 rounds to do this. If he can't do that, he eventually gets TKO'd (in a 15 round fight) or loses a decision (in a 12 round fight.)
DLH was a great fighter, but Hearns was better and a terrible style matchup for Oscar (and honestly just about anyone ever at 147.)