De La Hoya - Pacquiao: An Analysis of “The Dream Match”

By Sean Ocampo - About a year ago, a fight between boxing superstar Oscar De La Hoya and Pound for Pound King Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao was for me an absurd fantasy. Never did I imagine at one point that this fight would ever take place in this lifetime. However, with the power of media, money and the personal angle that resulted to a legal battle between rival promotional companies this fight materialized. This is like a computer generated fight turning to reality. This is "The Dream Match", a fight with this magnitude wherein both superstar fighters of this generation collide..

The question going in to this fight is how will this fight unfold? Will Pacquiao's speed and aggressiveness be the factor of this fight or will De La Hoya's physical advantages be too much for Pacquiao?

Oscar De La Hoya is probably one of most talented fighters of his generation. A fighter that generates money, brings people to the arena, and a 10-time world champion. He is a fighter that never ducked anyone from the start of his career. A fighter with movie star looks, but has a left hook that could knock everyone out. His resume' includes victories over Julio Cesar Chavez, Genaro Hernandez, Ike Quartey, Fernando Vargas, Ricardo Mayorga and the list goes on. He is the guy that gave Felix "Tito" Trinidad, "Sugar" Shane Mosley, and recently "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather, Jr; tough fights that ended in controversies. He is boxing's one and only "Golden Boy".

Manny Pacquiao, on the other hand, is a fighter who started his career as strawweight (106 lbs). He is a person who came from humble beginnings, but now revered as an icon in the island nation of the Philippines. Like De La Hoya, he never ducked anyone and he has a crushing left hand that put fighters on the seat of their pants. He is a 4-time world champion in four different weight classes. The fighter that dominated Marco Antonio Barrera, knocked out Erik Morales, decisioned and dropped Juan Manuel Marquez a total of 4 times, and regarded as the Mexico’s biggest torn. He is known as the “Typhoon across the Pacific” because destroys every opponent that are put in front of him.

Breaking this fight down is not as easy as picking cherries. In my opinion, this is not a mismatch like many of us is predicting. It will be competitive fight, trust me. This fight will punctuate the year 2008.

Pacquiao's speed will be his number one asset for him to win this fight. He needs to make De La Hoya work every minute of every round. Speed means a lot of punches to be thrown and landed. Tagging De La Hoya's body will pay dividends in the later round. "Pacman" needs to show De La Hoya that he is dead serious about this fight and he means knockout. A much improve footwork and balance will compensate his definite speed advantage over De La Hoya. Footwork and balance has been major flaws in Pacquiao's game all throughout his career. However, he already showed great improvement during his last fight against David Diaz. Pacquiao needs a really good defense to avoid Oscar's money punch, the left hook. Defense incorporates excellent footwork, head movement, and balance. With that intact to Pacquiao's game, it will be very difficult for De La Hoya to achieve victory.

Pacman's only concern going into this fight is the patented De La Hoya jab. The jab dictates the fight and it sets up the powerful left hook of Oscar. He needs to neutralize the jab by constantly moving and by throwing punches in bunches. Pacquiao needs to dictate the pace of the fight by having a fast paced fight. By having that pace, he'll be able to tire out De La Hoya and be able to take away that jab. The accumulation of the punches that Pacquiao will be throwing and landing will definitely break De La Hoya down.

The Filipino dynamo has Freddie Roach in his corner. Roach, as we all know trained De La Hoya in his biggest fight against former Pound for Pound King Floyd Mayweather. The familiarity of Roach with De La Hoya’s style will be vital to a Pacquiao victory. Roach claims that he knows the weaknesses and strengths of Oscar. He vows to take advantage of those weaknesses and turn it to gold in Manny’s favor.

De La Hoya's physical advantages over Pacquiao are his keys to victory. He needs to frustrate Pacquiao by using his long jab. His jab will be the story of the fight for him. With that jab, he'll be able to keep Pacquiao away from his body and score points. His jab, as I said in the previous paragraph, will dictate the fight for Oscar. It will also set-up his most powerful weapon, the left hook.

De La Hoya needs to impose his size to Pacquiao and show him that he is the bigger man in the ring. He has to make Pacquiao feel that this is another level and you belong to a lower stratosphere. By letting Pacquiao feel his power, it will discourage the younger lion to engage and let his hands go during the battle. It will take away Pacquiao’s main weapon, his speed. Once De La Hoya takes away the speed, it will definitely take away Pacquiao’s game plan. Pacquiao’s bread and butter is his speed advantage and with that being taken care of then it spells trouble for Pacman.

Being able to take the punches of the biggest punchers in the game like Trinidad, Mosley, Vargas, Quartey, and Mayorga; there will be no problem for Oscar to take Manny’s left hand. Another advantage Oscar presents is the presence of Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain in his corner. Nacho is very familiar with Pacquiao’s style and tendencies having trained Juan Manuel Marquez in two fights with Pacquiao. He is a defensive minded trainer that guided Marquez in giving Pacquiao hell in two tough fights. There also the presence of Angelo Dundee, the legendary trainer of Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard. He serves as the strategist or consultant of Team De La Hoya. His experience will benefit Oscar in this fight.

It is really hard to pick a winner in this fight. This is not the mismatch that some of us predicted. Pacquiao and De La Hoya will give fight fans a treat this weekend. It will be a tough fight for both fighters. I don’t see Pacquiao knocking De La Hoya out, but he can definitely win by a decision. On the other hand, De La Hoya has a chance to knock Pacquiao out because of his size and strength. This is crazy fight and anything can happen.

Both fighters are legends in the sport right now. Their achievements and experience are incomparable. These are two forces of nature raring to collide. Expect a jam packed arena when these two meet during the weekend. This truly a dream fight and let’s just sit back, relax, and enjoying ride because this will be a classic, trust me.

Article posted on 04.12.2008

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