Pacquiao challenges history in an apparent superfluous match-up

By Cesar Pancorvo: If the attention of boxing fans, during the first half of the year, was centered on Margarito vs. Cotto, the following months will be focused on Margarito’s next fight, and also in the very possible De la Hoya vs. Pacquiao event.

For Pacquiao, who started his career in the flyweight division, this bout would be like his Duran-Hagler; in the case of De la Hoya, it is a lose-lose situation: if he wins, which is what most expect, he will retire with the critics saying “he beat a much smaller man”, and if he loses it will be the saddest moment of his career. De la Hoya has walked around many weight divisions, including 130 a couple of times, but we have to remember that he fought at 160 and has been a light middleweight since 2001 –when Pacquiao was a super bantamweight.

The size gap is abysmal. If Mayweather was brave to take De la Hoya at 154, under arbitrary conditions, then Pacquiao will be a superhero. This is similar to Hagler-Duran (it’s a shame that Hatton-Pacquiao didn’t happen, it made me think about that fight), or to some older fights like Robinson-Maxim (Robinson started his career at lightweight and challenged Maxim for the light heavyweight belt) and others.

But De la Hoya has taken his risks too…We have to consider that he, who won belts at 130 and 135, challenged Bernard Hopkins in 2004, and Hopkins had been one of the most remarkable middleweight champions ever and then had some achievements at 175 too.

Possibly the biggest differences in weight have happened in the heavyweight division. One of the latest examples is definitely James Toney, who won the middleweight title in 1991 and then, fifteen years later, was fighting at 233 pounds and giving Samuel Peter (who was 257) one of his toughest fights. From 160 to 233, that is a record!

Roy Jones definitely qualifies here. John Ruiz, with his lack of skill and popularity, is still an immense win for a man who started fighting at 154.

But you can’t talk about weight fluctuations, in boxing, without mentioning Sam Langford, who, like De la Hoya, started fighting at lightweight and, like Toney, ended up fighting heavyweights (who were smaller in that era, but were heavyweights). Past his prime, in 1917, he fought Big Bill Tate, who was just as tall as Wladimir Klitschko, and knocked him out after five rounds. And how can we forget about Georges Carpentier, who fought at flyweight in his early days, when he was a teenager, years before winning the world light heavyweight title. He competed in every weight class!

But who won Hagler-Duran? Who won De la Hoya-Hopkins, and Robinson-Maxim? Or Carpentier-Tunney, Carpentier-Dempsey? Greed, avarice, has been one of the reasons to think about making this fight. Pacquiao has the chance to create history and put a bad finale on De la Hoya’s career.

Article posted on 06.08.2008

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