Reevaluating my Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya Prediction

By Geoffrey Ciani: When it comes to making boxing predictions, I have been wrong in the past, and surely I will be wrong again in the future. However, I am not sure it’s possible for me to be as wrong as I was in predicting an easy win for Oscar De La Hoya in his showdown against Manny Pacquiao this past weekend. Indeed, I was so wrong that several friends have advised me to refrain from making boxing predictions ever again. Rest assured, however, that I am not easily deterred, and despite this recent setback, I shall continue making bold predictions so long as my heart continues beating.

Manny Pacquiao was nothing short of sensational. Even prior to his bout with De La Hoya, in which I erroneously assumed he would lose and lose big, I rightfully recognized him as the reigning pound for pound King. In fact, I maintained that he would still deservedly be called the best fighter in the world, even after suffering a defeat. Now that he holds a dominant win over De La Hoya, Pacquiao’s stock rises even higher.

Pacquiao’s victory was so dominant and so one-sided that it becomes difficult to gauge just how good he actually is. He essentially jumped three weight classes, and looked better than ever in doing so. Lest we forget, Oscar De La Hoya had never previously been dominated inside the squared circle. All of his previous losses were close decisions against elite fighters in the form of Felix Trinidad, Floyd Mayweather, and Shane Mosley. The only exception was his knockout loss against middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins, but even in that one, De La Hoya remained competitive while it lasted, and was arguably even winning at the time of the stoppage.

So how good is Manny Pacquiao?

Honestly, I am not quite sure. His win against De La Hoya was magnificent, and oftentimes, wins of such magnitude have a way of making people lose perspective. Conventional wisdom going into this fight tended to suggest that De La Hoya was far too big for Pacquiao, but in light of Pacman’s utter destruction of the Golden Boy, conventional wisdom goes out the window. Is Pacquiao really good enough to dominate the welterweight division? Can he really beat guys like Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto? Or what of the freakishly big welterweights like Paul Williams and Antonio Margarito? Is it reasonable to even expect Pacquiao to compete with these behemoths? I am not so sure.

Regardless, I am not sure it matters much at this point. At present, there are two names being mentioned as future foes for Pacquiao. On one hand, we have the top dog in the 140 pound weight class, Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton, who just defeated Paulie Malignaggi, a top fighter in his weight class, with relative ease. On the other, we have former pound for pound King Floyd Mayweather Junior, who, at least in theory, is retired. Prior to his fight with De La Hoya, I would not have given Pacquiao much of a chance against either of these men. However, in light of what just transpired, I am of the opinion that Pacquiao could be competitive with each, and at this time, I am not inclined to pick a winner.

I am inclined, however, to make my preference known for which fight I would rather see, for that is simple—bring on a mega fight between Floyd Mayweather Junior and Manny Pacquiao! To me, in light of what happened this weekend, this would truly be a boxing fan’s “Dream Match”. With the exception of a few Calzaghe fans who might respectfully disagree, nobody in the boxing community can seriously argue against the fact that, in a pound for pound sense, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Maytweather Junior are the two best boxers on the planet, and as such, there is no bigger fight that can possible be made.

I, for one, hope boxing fans are treated to this “Dream Match” sometime in the near future. Coaxing Floyd out of retirement should not be an especially difficult thing to do. Unfortunately, I suspect it is more likely that we will see Pacquiao square off against Hatton this spring, with a fall showdown slated against Mayweather next fall, should Manny defeat Hatton. Honestly, though, I would prefer to see the “Dream Match” between Floyd and Manny sooner, rather than later. They should strike while the iron is hot and treat fans to clash between the two best fighters on the planet.

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Article posted on 08.12.2008

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