'Call Em Out Fridays': Pacquiao/De La Hoya - Will Fight Fans Wake Up After This 'Dream Match'?

Oscar De La Hoya05.12.08 - By Vivek Wallace: Saturday night in Las Vegas the fight that the world of boxing has been waiting for will finally commence....Well, sort of. It's no secret that this fight has struck a fire under everyone remotely close to the fight game, but the trouble is, that fire isn't exactly a passion to watch it unfold. For some there's a huge interest to see which man will actually emerge; To the contrary, many could care less, strongly troubled by the fact that such polar opposites will stand across from one another in the first place. Like each of my other 'Call Em Out Fridays' articles, in an effort to examine things closer, we'll take a look at all angles. Today we'll analyze the 'Supportive' perspective, the 'Critics' perspective, and to keep it fair and balanced, in the end, we'll look at the more 'Neutral' perspective. So, without a minute to spare, we summon the microscope in a birds-eye view position above this unprecedented mega event:

Pacquiao/De La Hoya - (Supportive Perspective): When breaking this fight down from a supportive perspective, it's very easy to see why some fans are absolutely buzzed about this fight. It's the classic "David and Goliath" story waiting to happen. Whether you see it as big versus little or even Filipino versus fraud, the two fighters at the center of this spectacle are simply too huge not to pull you in. What could possibly be more intriguing than a prime fighter who's action packed and won't step back, against a durable foe who's aged, but still one-armed and dangerous (left-hook). Everyone wants to see if the little man can be adept enough to overcome the mountain before him, and this fight breathes life into that very scenario. Even for the Oscar doubters, surely in the back of their mind somewhere is the question relative to whether or not he can muster enough energy on the big stage to land that perfectly flush left-hook to pull the curtains early. For the Pacquiao supporters, as much as they believe in him, I'm sure they go into this match with everything from their fingers to their eyes crossed, hoping that the little man can evade that patented left-hook and land enough powershots of his own. With the sudden retirement of Floyd Mayweather jr. and despite the emergence of fighters like Joe Calzaghe and David Haye, truth is, these are still the two biggest global figures in the sport in many ways. Margarito/De La Hoya wouldn't do the same global numbers. Cotto/De La Hoya wouldn't do the same global numbers. Pacquiao/Campbell (as much as I wanna see this one) wouldn't get the same acclaim. Pacquiao/Hatton....well, maybe I better not go there...But you get my point, and besides, this actually sets that up with it coming on the heels of Hattons recent performance. Many hardcore fight fans like to say that this isn't the best fight for the sport, but apparently they don't realize that it's not the best fights that bring the best money - and you know that's what this all comes down to. The best money is generated by a fight where you have advertisers calling you as a promoter, rather than you having to seek them. The stero-typical mega-fights are when you have the best of Hollywood on location in Vegas. Not when you have two titans battling it out in a slug fest that everyone liked but couldn't remember the names come Monday morning. Love it or hate it, it is what it is ladies and gents....mega fights and mega money at it's best. Now the flipside to this argument....

Pacquiao/De La Hoya - (Critics Perspective): As great as those other things previously mentioned were, this is where the truth comes in; And as a prelude to this section, I guess I should add a disclosure reminding many in support of this fight that the truth often hurts. How bizarre is this matchup? Well, for the first time ever in the history of the sport (to my knowledge) the government of a particular fighters country stepped in and actually tried to seize the license of the fighter out of pure fear that he could be "badly hurt". As bizarre as the scenario was, it hardly stopped there. WBC President Jose Sulaiman was very vocal in his protest of this fight, once asking rhetorically, "What are they gonna do, stuff Pacquiao with tamales and beans and reduce Oscar in the steam bath to bring them together?" This fight has been called everything from a fraud to a farce, and the only people that haven't really seemed to care are the ones getting paid to play. You add that to the unfair purse split and the other factors surrounding this fight, and all of a sudden, you have a recipe for disaster if in fact Pacquiao - being the much smaller man - does sustain some undue injury. I don't think the powers-that-be in the sport have really thought this one out at all. The thing that makes Pacquiao a warrior is his never say die mentality. If he gets hurt in this fight it could be that same thing which built him up that ultimately tears him down. People are so fickle about Oscar that they don't see the warning label, but has anyone stopped to realize that this is the same guy that never touched the deck once against fighters in the likes of Mosley, Trinidad, Mayweather, Mayorga, and many others? The heavy list of expectations placed on Pacquiao for even taking this fight weigh more and stand taller than the fighter himself. I would hope it ends well for the 'little big-man', but if he were to sustain serious bodily injury here, he would have himself to blame and alot of us in the media for coaxing him into believing that 17 pounds wasn't too steep a mountain to climb. He's basically trying to flesh out a frame that's already at the brink of it's limit, and even filled out, he still appears considerably smaller than his foe. Should we really expect him to absorb the powershots of a guy that knocked out the Ricardo Mayorga and Fernando Vargas - even if they weren't in prime form? I think the chance for greatness is their, but the possibility for disaster lurks as well.

Pacquiao/De La Hoya - (Neutral Perspective): After digesting all the things I just spit out, I think at the end of the day we have to see this fight for what it is....A shaky spectacle that offers the chance to see something amazing transpire. Many of the people who fail to see the shot at greatness for Pacquiao in this fight probably don't follow much past history in the sport either. The great Henry Armstrong - who only stood at a meek and mild 5'5" might I add - is the only fighter in the history of the sport to hold world title's in three different weight divisions simultaneously. In today's era of the sport they don't even allow that any more. He lost his fare share of fights, but he won far more (149-21-10, 101 KO's), and probably 85% of his victories were against men much bigger than he was. So from Pacquiao's standpoint, if he can go from being a 106 lb fighter to defeating a man who once held a portion of the light middleweight strap, I think his shot at greatness is forever solidified. A colossal accomplishment and the biggest purse he ever received, which happens to be one of the biggest in the history of the sport. That's a win, win scenario for him. Oscar has far less to get out of it because if he wins they'll say "put an asterisk by it because of Pacquiao's size. If he loses, they're gonna say he's now 0-6 all time against future hall-of-famers in their prime (Mosley twice, Hopkins, Mayweather, Trinidad, and then Pac-man as well). As far a the fight itself goes, I think it'll be cool, but why $55 bucks in a recession oppressed economy for a non-title fight with a shaky disposition? Don't get me wrong, I'm a junkie so I'll be paying to see the fight, but I'd be lying if I said I'm actually buying the 'act' itself. To the fight promoters out there hustlin' us nickel and dimers, I just have one parting question....Why?.....

Anyone out there feel me on that?

(Listed below is the remaining schedule for the countdown to Pacquiao/De La Hoya):

Sat: Keys To Victory, Four To Explore, and Official Prediction (Talking fight strategy, key effects to watch out for, and fight prediction).
Mon: Pacquiao/De La Hoya - 'The Aftermath': (Posted Monday, Not Sunday - A Recap and a look at where the two fighters go from here).

(Got Questions or Feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at and 954-292-7346, or show some love at

Article posted on 05.12.2008

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