De La Hoya Will Inevitably Beat Pacquiao

By Geoffrey Ciani: When Floyd Mayweather Junior ‘retired’ from professional boxing, Manny Pacquiao became the logical heir to the mythical pound-for-pound throne. Pacquiao later solidified this claim when he subsequently defeated WBC champion David Diaz in his 135 pound debut. Now, the reigning pound-for-pound King will try and follow the footsteps of his predecessor by moving up in weight to take on the Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya. When Mayweather made the jump up in weight class against De La Hoya, he emerged victorious. Unfortunately for Pacquiao, he will not be sharing the same success..

Make no mistake, Oscar De La Hoya is going to beat Manny Pacquiao and he is going to do so in dominant fashion. The intriguing scenario brought forth by this contest is unprecedented in recent times. On one hand, we have the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world taking on a foe he has no chance of beating, and yet, even in defeat, he will still deservedly be called the best fighter in the world. On the other hand, we have a former elite fighter, clearly on the downside of his career, who is once again taking on the best fighter in the world—only this time it will be against a considerably smaller foe. There are simply too many obstacles for Pacquiao to overcome, chief amongst them, the gargantuan size advantage enjoyed by De La Hoya.

I recall the moment when I first heard of the fight signed between former elites Roy Jones Junior and Felix Trinidad. I was utterly baffled when this news broke, and all I could think upon hearing it was ”WHY??” Having never previously fought north of the middleweight division, Trinidad was clearly too small for Jones, and even his stint in that weight class was one of mixed success. By jumping up two weight classes to fight Jones, Trinidad was simply giving up too much to have a chance. The fight turned out being a farce as Jones proceeded to beat down his physically smaller opponent with relative ease.

The size disparity between De La Hoya and Pacquiao is even more pronounced! Although Pacquiao will be jumping two weight classes to face De La Hoya, the same as Trinidad when he fought Jones, there are a few big differences. For starters, Trinidad had several fights in the middleweight division prior to his double-jump in class, whereas Pacquiao had just a single bout in the lightweight division. More importantly, Trinidad had a large enough frame that he had considered making a jump to 168 more than seven years earlier, when he suffered his first defeat at the hands of Bernard Hopkins. Pacquiao, on the other hand, only recently made the decision to make the five pound jump into the lightweight division. He looked good there, but now he’s suddenly going to jump up another twelve pounds and two classes after having just one fight at 135?

In addition to needing to overcome a vast disadvantage in size, Pacquiao has another major problem working against him. Unlike Mayweather, Pacquiao is not a defensive wizard who wins fights through good movement and counterpunching. On the contrary, he is a pressure fighter who comes forward and attempts to beat his opponent into submission by unleashing a relentless assault of power and volume. The main reason Floyd was so successful against De La Hoya was because he was able to fight a tactical battle which was designed to beat Oscar on points. Manny’s battle-strategy is never predicated on out-pointing his opponents! Sure, it happens, but never by design. Manny’s style has always been built around a foundation of ferocious aggression, and against De La Hoya, this will be his undoing.

Despite his decline in recent years, De La Hoya is still a very good boxer. He has a great jab, still possesses really good hand speed, and he has tremendous power in his left hook. He is also a very smart fighter whose discipline inside the ring has helped him remain competitive against every foe he has ever faced (including Bernard Hopkins, who was the only fighter to ever stop De La Hoya inside the distance). Additionally, he has proven to be extremely durable and has an outstanding ability to take a punch. If he has one weakness, it is his stamina, as he has shown a tendency to tire down the stretch in big fights. However, I do not think stamina will be an issue in this fight, as I believe De La Hoya will win this one inside the distance.

In the end, the difference maker in this one will be size. De La Hoya is four inches taller, has a six inch reach advantage, and has been fighting in the 154 or 160 pound weight class for the better part of the last decade. This is in stark contrast to Pacquiao, who has had just one fight north of the 130 pound class in his entire career, which began when he weighed a mere 106 pounds. De La Hoya has knocked out some big strong fighters, like Ricardo Mayorga and Fernando Vargas, while taking their best shots in the process. Pacquiao has been rocked by the likes of Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez, and the biggest man he ever stopped was David Diaz.

The writing is on the wall for this one—De La Hoya will emerge victorious. I expect Pacquaio to give it his absolute all, as he is a warrior inside the ring who never comes to lose. Hell, he may even have a few shining moments along the way, but as good as he is and as brave is he is, he is simply biting off a bit more than he can chew. De La Hoya will simply prove too big and too powerful for the reigning pound-for-pound King. I would be surprised if Pacquiao sees the final bell and suspect De La Hoya stops him sometime around the fifth or sixth round.

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Article posted on 02.12.2008

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