De La Hoya Pacquiao Whiner

By Paul Strauss: Boxing fans are whining about Oscar's decision to fight Manny Pacquiao instead of Paul Williams or Antonio Margarito. But, the most money for the least amount of risk talks, and this match-up will most certainly draw a huge PPV audience. Undoubtedly, it will be an exciting fight as well, and will give the PPV fans a good show.

However, the experts have immediately emphasized the physical mismatch this December meeting will bring. Manny will be giving up five inches in height, and about six inches in reach. (Remember Marciano's reach was only 67", and he almost always gave up height and weight). Big Edge Oscar..

On the other hand, Manny will not be giving up anything when it comes to toughness, punching power, or speed. He also rivals the Golden Boy when it comes to popularity. He is practically royalty in the Philippines, and he is also very popular in the U.S., especially with Mexican fans. Something else that shouldn't be overlooked......Manny is supremely confident, and he will have in his corner someone who knows Oscar pretty well, and that's Freddie Roach. Slight Edge Manny

Oscar's a proven commodity. He's had so many big fights, and has demonstrated his superior abilities against some of the toughest around, only being stopped once by a left hook to the liver, delivered by the Executioner. Obviously, that is something about which he should not be ashamed, especially when one judge had him winning the fight up to that point. But, Oscar is not perfect. He has faded in fights.....i.e. against Tito, against Shane and against Pretty Boy. It seems as though his biggest weakness might be his mindset. When asked why he quit throwing his jab against Floyd, he couldn't supply a reason! Manny too has had many big, tough fights, having triumphed over some of boxing's best ...... ex. Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, and Juan Marquez. Out of these wars, he grew into what many believe is the best P4P fighter. There's never been any question about Manny not giving one-hundred percent. Edge Manny

Considering the current level of these two fighter' abilities, most observers would have to say that Manny has much improved over the years, and continues to do so. Not surprisingly, he is more of a complete fighter now. He isn't just a fast, relentless big left-handed puncher. Now, his foot work is better, and he has an excellent jab and right hook. Another great asset is his accuracy. When rushed, he can throw short, powerful punches that have all of his body behind them, landing with tremendous effect right on the button. Just ask Marquez or Diaz. He also has the uncanny ability to rapidly close the distance between him and his opponent, throwing hard punches all the while. It almost appears as if he is throwing on the run. If he can pull that off against the bigger Oscar, then the size difference gets quickly nullified. Edge Manny

Oscar's got a very good jab as well, but as previously mentioned, he doesn't always use it, so that will obviously be a key to this fight. Since he is a natural left hander, it follows he has a very good left hook, a punch Manny could easily run into when attempting one of those rushes I mentioned. Speed will be the difference when it comes to this strategy. Edge Manny

One other question remains. Fighters tend to run into reality problems when moving up in weight. In other words, the old saying about a good big man will always beat a good little man (physics) comes into play. Often times, the smaller man finds out his punches aren't as effective, and regrettably for him the reverse is also true. The little man's skeletal and muscular structure cannot withstand the larger man's punches as well as he did in the past when he weathered the hard punches of men his own size. Exceptions abound though. Edge Oscar

What if the expected occurs, and the Golden Boy is victorious? What has he really accomplished, other than to beat a much smaller man and earn a big payday? Will it add to his legacy as a great fighter? Maybe, but it will depend on how he wins. On the other hand, if Manny loses, does it really diminish his status as a great P4P fighter? The answer is probably not. If he wins, boxing will be talking about him for a long, long time! Winner Manny

Who are you picking? If Manny wins, it will be one of the biggest wins in boxing history, involving someone who started out as a flyweight, successfully moving up all the way to welterweight. Probably the best ever to successfully traverse many weight classes was Georges Carpentier. He went from flyweight t all the way to battling the Manassa Mauler. There is also the great Homicide Hank, winning the featherweight title, then the welterweight title and then the lightweight title, which was akin to Ruby Red Fitzsimmons, who first took the middle weight title, then the heavyweight title, and then back to the newly formed light-heavyweight title. However, Hammering Hank held all three simultaneously. There are numerous other examples, and many modern day multiple title/belt holders (including Manny and Oscar), but with all of the belts out there, the importance seems to have been watered down somewhat.

The question remains, come December, will the fans be applauding a winner, or whining about a mismatch? Iím a big fan of both fighters, but my money is going on the Pac Man.

Article posted on 01.09.2008

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