Pac Man Annihilates Golden Boy

Oscar De La HoyaBy Paul Strauss: Manny Pacquiao set the scene from round one, controlling the action and out-speeding and out hitting Oscar De La Hoya. By the third round Manny already knew he had Oscar beat, but he remained cautious, and continued to break him down. For Pacquiao fans, and boxing fans in general, it was a beautiful thing to watch. Manny took every round, and did it will style. He darted in and out, and side to side, always keeping Oscar off balance, and proving as Freddie Roach said, "He no longer can pull the trigger".

Before the action started there was a mini-controversy over the way Oscar wraps his hands. Freddie Roach, Mannyís trainer, protested about Oscarís use of "strap tape", rather than the normal surgical tape. He explained the strap tape results in a harder wrap. He also objected to the use of rolled up tape placed between the knuckles.. Freddie felt that produces ridges that can work its way threw the padding of the glove, and could cause a cut. Oscar also uses some type of plastic covering or sleeve for his thumb, and Freddie felt that too violated the rules. Freddie lost one and won one, getting the thumb sleeve voted out, but the tape remained. Freddie accepted the decision and said that he might wrap Manny's hands using the same tape and same technique. In the end, it was not a factor, and just pre-fight fluff.

When the opening bell rang, Oscar started out with his usual style, which is jabbing on his way in, and then backing out of range on pretty much of a straight line. Manny, on the other hand, started out at a safe distance, all the while constantly moving his head from side to side. As a result, Oscar couldn't time or reach him with his jab. Then, with lightning speed Manny would step forward with his right foot, parallel to Oscar's left (or front foot), and at the same time shoot a straight left up the pipe to Oscar's face. Then he would duck down and pivot around, further moving to his right and out of range. Oscar couldn't retaliate, because Manny wasn't there. Manny continued this technique, turning him and keeping him on the defensive.

As the fight progressed, Manny increased the level of his attack, darting in and out and side to side, all the while unleashing punishing combinations. The punches came from all angles. Oscar would try to rely on his gloves to block punches, but he was unable to do so. First, Manny would fire off a lead straight left hand, then a right hook, then a looping left, then a right uppercut, and a left to the body and so forth.

Occasionally Oscar would attempt to counter, but usually he was hitting air, and as soon as he would stop, Manny was back at him like some kind of Pacific Typhoon. To use an analogy the first few rounds were the early signs of the high winds to come, and by the middle rounds, Oscar was right in the middle, or eye of the storm, when first the winds come from one direction, then the other, and there's always the surge. That's about the time victims (Oscar) wish they had obeyed the earlier warning signs and evacuated.

All the pre-fight hype about the size advantage De La Hoya would enjoy meant nothing. Speed and power were the keys to this fight, and not only hand speed. No, as much as anything, Manny has tremendous legs. Those sturdy limbs enable him to get in and out, and go side to side so fast I'm sure Oscar thought he was fighting two guys. Those big calf and thigh muscles also give Manny his tremendous punching power. Make no mistake, this is no pretender from a lighter weight class, who many thought was audacious in his challenge to the Golden Boy. No, the swelling and bruises to De La Hoya's face attest to that fact. He is no powder puff puncher with an unrealistic dream. He is the best P4P fighter in the world. Manny is a supremely confident and talented fighter, who has steadily improved with each fight, making himself, with the help of Freddie Roach, into one of the fiercest destroyers in the fistic world.

As things unfolded, Oscarís corner wanted him to make extensive use of the jab, and then follow up with a one two combination fired at 45, which meant an upright angle to penetrate Manny's defense. But, as Freddie Roach advised, Oscar just couldn't pull the trigger. By the seventh round, it was readily apparent to all watching that Oscar had had it. He was getting pummeled from all angles, and at one point appeared to want to reach for the ropes for needed support. Referee Tony Weeks moved steadily closer, ready to jump in at any moment and call a halt to the action.

At the end of the seventh round, Oscar was told by Weeks that he would have to stop the fight if Oscar continued to take so many punches. Oscar's corner echoed those sentiments. Bravely, Oscar came out for the eighth, and had one momentary flurry, but for the most part was on the receiving end. It was painful to watch, and you wondered what was keeping him up?

At the end of the eighth, Oscar's corner men, the referee and ringside physician convinced him to let them stop the fight. They told him something he knew only too well knew, and that was, "You're taking too many punches, and you just can't deal with Manny's speed." Lesser fighters would have quit much earlier. Oscar had to know that even when he did land a few punches once in a while, it changed nothing. .

Mercifully the slaughter was stopped at the end of eighth. Once the decision was made, Oscar immediately got up from his stool, and made his way across the ring to congratulate Manny on his victory. Manny thanked him and said, "You're still my idol." It was one of the few times Oscar was able to offer a counter when he said, "No, you're my idol!"

The MGM Grand Garden Arena crowd had many celebrities, including one named The Hitman. Ricky Hatton was seen drooling at ringside over the prospect of fighting either De La Hoya or Manny Pacquiao. Ricky is no fool, and realizes a match with either Oscar or Manny would be an enormous pay day for him. The chances of De La Hoya dropping to 140 lbs seem remote, though. However, Manny shouldn't have any trouble, as his fight before tonight was at 135 lbs., and he moved up in weight for it. The promoter's wheels are probably already turning. The biggest problem might be in finding a place big enough to accommodate all the fans coming from England, the Philippines, Mexico and all parts of the pugilistic world. It will be a cracker jack of a match up!

Article posted on 07.12.2008

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