don’t believe the hype


De la Hoya vs Pacquiao: From Freak Show to Dream Match by garrickismypal

Oscar de la Hoya. Golden Boy. Born and raised in east Los Angeles. Winner of a gold medal in the 1992 Olympics. Professional record 40-4, with 30 knock outs.

Emmanuel Pacquiao. The Mexicutioner. Raised in and still a resident of General Santos City, Philipines. Professional record 47-3-2, with 35 knock outs.

See the preview after the jUMP

SPORTS-US-BOXING-PACQUIAO

De la Hoya’s fights have been boxing’s biggest draw since Mike Tyson fought Evander Holyfield. He is a hero to the Mexican American families all over the country. Recently a bronze statue has been placed outside the Staples Center in Downtown, Los Angeles alongside Magic Johnson.

Yet on the website for the Los Angeles Times, a public poll has Manny Pacquiao winning 71.6%, with Oscar de la Hoya at the short end with 28.4%.

How could this be? Well for those who don’t already know the whole story of how De la Hoya and Pacquiao were fatefully matched up, there has been a quite shocking turn of events this year to sway the choices of these two drastically different sized fighters.

On July 26, 2008, Miguel Cotto, the undefeated Puerto Rican welterweight WBA champion suffered his first professional career loss against Antonio Margarito of Tijuana by TKO in 11th round. It was an incredibly epic fight, with Cotto being the more elusive slick boxer and Margarito constantly pressuring with power shots. Margarito finally imposed his will on the retreating Cotto, scoring 2 knock downs in the 11th round that prompted the Puerto Rican’s corner to throw in the towel. Margarito was now the WBA welterweight champion of the world.

Many fans thought of the many match ups that Margarito could now take, including a belt defense against Golden Boy Oscar de la Hoya.

Oscar earlier this year had taken a decision victory against Steve “2-pound” Forbes, a participant of the ESPN reality show Contender Season 2. Oscar took a relaxed approach, constantly jabbing and opening a gash on Forbes face. Some critics attacked De la Hoya for lacking his once youthful speed and power. The match was a tune-up fight for a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr., to whom Oscar lost by split decision. Mayweather Jr. abruptly retired a second time after knocking out Ricky Hatton, eliminating the chance for a rematch with De la Hoya.

A potential path for Oscar could have been a challenge for Margarito’s belt (he would not fight Cotto because of his wife’s request to not fight anymore Puerto Ricans after Trinidad). If Oscar had challenged Antonio Margarito, it would have been a huge draw for fans, and the fight would have labeled as a truly legendary battle of the great Mexican fighters of today.

Instead, De la Hoya chose to challenge Manny Pacquiao, the WBC lightweight champion, the top pound for pound fighter in the world. Supposedly after hearing Pacquiao state that De la Hoya no longer had the ability to pull the trigger as evidenced by the bout with Forbes, De la Hoya decided to set up a match between himself and the Filipino fighter. Although Pacquiao was enjoying much publicity and respect, he was still a lightweight fighter at 135 pounds, compared to De la Hoya’s last fighting weight of 149, a 2-3 weight class difference. While somewhat true about some affairs, in boxing size has ALways mattered.

This match up at first was taken as incredibly strange. A 147 pound boxer fighting a 130 pounder at a catch weight of 147? The disparity in weight between De La Hoya and Pacquiao has led to complaints that boxing’s Golden Boy is buying a gold-plated mismatch. Oscar is in danger of being seen as a school-yard bully who, after having lost to fighters his own size, is now picking on tough little guys.

Although there is a slight stench of a corporate scheme to simply make a huge payday rather than a significant battle for the top spot, the fight will still make a very interesting match-up. We will get to see Oscar with a size and power advantage with his age being a potential obstacle against the current hailed pound for pound best lightweight in the world.

We will see how Oscar’s persistent jab and quick combinations will match up to Manny’s super aggressive swarming style. We will also see if Oscar will be hurt by the smaller statured fighter as well as Manny’s approach to the significant reach advantage. We will also see how Oscar will fare after going down in weight, as opposed to Manny putting on roughly 15 pounds to fulfill the catch weight.

Win or lose, both are making substantial paydays, and we the fans will be able to witness one of this era’s most intriguing style match ups.

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