Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao: The Battle of Boxing's Bests

Mio de la CruzContributor ISeptember 15, 2008

Manny Pacquiao would probably not stand a chance against Golden Boy Oscar de la Hoya, a six-time world boxing champion, if he had fought him 10 years ago, even if the Filipino ring icon were in his prime best.

Ten years ago, de la Hoya was undefeated, knocking out everyone that faced him in the ring, particularly in the welterweight division where he reigned supreme.

Oscar de la Hoya has a career record of 44 bouts, from 39 wins, 30 by knockout, and five losses, with all his losses coming in the last nine years of his career.  Curiously, three of his losses happened in his last seven fights that spanned from 2003 to 2008, the last one of which against now-retired WBC super welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather  Jr.

Against former WBC welterweight champion Miguel Cotto, the former Olympian gold medalist knows only too well that his professional boxing career is on a down-slide and that he has a very slim chance of winning a seventh world title against Sotto, so he is putting all his marbles against a smaller boxer in Pacquiao.

A shrewd businessman that he is, the owner of the multi-million Golden Boy Promotions and aspiring builder of a real estate empire in the United States, is taking a calculated risk against boxing’s newest sensation and pound-for-pound king.

De la Hoya, an American with Mexican parents, is capitalizing on his height, wingspan, and experience to score a decisive victory, immortalize his name in boxing history, and bring home what could be the biggest prize pot in his career – not necessarily in their order of importance.

With his critics bashing him left and right for his choice of opponent, De la Hoya’s promotional handlers have come out with spiels that underscore the worthiness of Pacquiao, buoying up the latter’s confidence.  And with the same critics undermining a possible victory by De la Hoya as “highway robbery,” his focus just might be affected.

Despite his underdog status, Pacquiao is undaunted.  He has a ring record of a veteran prizefighter with 52 professional fights, scoring 47 wins, losing three, and drawing two.

In the same span of 10 years, he has fought 30 bouts, winning 26, losing two, and drawing two.  In the last five years, he has fought 14 bouts, losing only once against Eric Morales, and drawing also once against Juan Manuel Marquez.  Experience-wise, the match-up is a draw, but in terms recent ring encounters Pacquiao has a decided edge over De la Hoya.

From a WBC flyweight (112 lbs.) champion 10 years ago, he had metamorphosed into a bantamweight (118 lbs.) and featherweight (126 lbs.).  Just recently, he moved on to another weight division and won the WBC lightweight (135 lbs.) title from David Diaz in a bloody encounter in Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas last June 28.

On December 6, 2008, Pacquiao embarks on new quest in another weight division by facing De la Hoya in what could be the richest welterweight (147 lbs.)  Battle of all time. 

De la Hoya’s height, heft, reach, ring-savvy, and fearsome reputation make him a Goliath against Pacquiao’s youth, speed, and power.   Despite the obvious physical mismatch, the De la Hoya and Pacquiao encounter is going to be another epic Goliath vs. David Battle, with Pacquiao the obvious David and underdog that cannot be counted out.

While De la Hoya had enjoyed his armor invincibility for too long, Pacquiao enjoys the advantage of youth, speed, and a repertoire of combinations to deliver the sling that slew a similar invincible warrior in another time.