The Pac-Man Cometh
Having read Bart’s plea for sports writing, I figured I’d talk about the Pacquiao/De La Hoya fight Bart mentioned. I want to talk about it mostly because I wish I’d posted on the website that I felt Pacquiao was going to kill De La Hoya. From the moment the fight was signed I told just about everyone I knew that Pacquiao was a lead pipe cinch to win this thing. Of course I got my bet in way late and for way too little money, and also didn’t write a column about this before the fight (The fact that Bart didn’t post a page Friday made me feel better about my sloth.) Anyhow, my reasoning for this line of thought went like this.
1. The Mayweather/De La Hoya fight was basically two businessmen agreeing to just get in the ring and not hurt each other for 12 rounds, the fact that it was so close (A split decision for Mayweather) made me almost think they were aiming for a draw to get a rematch and even more money. Pacquiao can not afford to fight like that, as a national hero and a man who wants to one day be President of the Philippines one day. Pacquiao has only one option, to fight like a man possessed, to destroy his opponents. I viewed De La Hoya as a businessman who fights seasonally, and Pacquiao as a fighter who fights for a living.
2. All the talk going into the fight was that De La Hoya was going to be to big and strong for Pacquiao. The talk was about how Pacquiao was moving up 2 weight classes and that this would finally be his undoing as he’d be facing a man who normally fought much heavier then Pacquiao did, and would be unable to deal with the power De La Hoya had. The flip side of this was that De La Hoya was going to have to cut a great deal of weight, he would have to make 147, a weight he hadn’t fought at since 2001. Looking at the motivation of the two men, Pacquiao has to pack on extra muscle and bulk to fight for his country, while De La Hoya, who’s already filthy rich and is running one of the biggest boxing promotions in the sport today, was going to have to put himself through a grueling physical strain to drop weight, would he really have the stomach to deal with all that effort?
There was an episode of the Simpsons where Homer tricks God and then has to run from God, who is presented as a beam of light following after Homer to smite him for his transgressions, gives chase to Homer. Finally Homer manages to jump across a set of train tracks and the train then ‘blocks’ the beam of light’s path. God then looks at the situation and says “I’m to old and to rich for this.” and gives up. I truly felt going into this fight that De La Hoya was to old and to rich for this. His inability to do anything in the ring proved that.
3. De La Hoya hasn’t been an elite fighter for years, over his last 6 fights he was 3-3 before the fight against Pacquiao. I know about all the horror stories of smaller men moving up and getting cracked by bigger men, but Pacquiao is truly the best fighter in the world today, De La Hoya in his current state just wasn’t going to be up to the challenge of overcoming that. It showed in the ring as De La Hoya looked like he was in cement as Pacquiao zipped around him, scoring at will, landing shots from all angles. This was a talent and ability mismatch of the highest order and Pacquiao put on a boxing clinic for the world to see.
So where does this leave boxing? Well De La Hoya
should retire, he’s been just whipped in this fight and was totally uncompetitive,
I imagine he’d still be a draw, but it would be in that ‘end of Mike Tyson’s
career’ carnival show draw, and I doubt De La Hoya wants to do that to
himself. While Pacquiao now has a possible mega fight lined up with Ricky
Hatton, or perhaps Mayweather may come out of retirement to settle the
‘pound for pound’ best fighter discussion.
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