The situation seems unfair and the odds are so stacked against Manny Pacquiao in his fight against Oscar De La Hoya that you wonder why he even accepted the challenge. He is widely regarded as the pound for pound best fighter in the world and things could not be going any better for him as a fighter.
He is making millions of dollars for his fights, is a worldwide celebrity and is practically royalty in the Philippines. Perhaps he believes that regardless of how poorly he fairs everything will return to normal once he returns to a more comfortable weight class. I just do not see it that way.
I am actually a little surprised that Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach advised him to take the fight. He trained De La Hoya for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and has to know that the entire situation is not a good one for his fighter. Initially I believed that perhaps he knew of a glaring weakness in Oscar’s arsenal, but then reality set in and I know that even if there was one, the size difference would make it irrelevant.
The two examples that come to mind for me are Ricky Hatton and Meldrick Taylor. Both men moved up in weight to fight big money fights (Hatton fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Taylor fought Terry Norris), got soundly beaten and lost more than that fight. Taylor was never the same fighter after that and seemed to have never regained any confidence.
Hatton lost his undefeated record and will probably never rise to the stature that he held before the loss. It was not the fact that these men lost, but it was the way they lost. Both of them looked like they were trying to beat up the big brother that teased for just a little too long. Unfortunately, neither of them could do anything to stop the teasing.
Manny Pacquaio will simply not be able to hurt Oscar De La Hoya. Oscar knows this, boxing experts know this and the whole world knows this. Even with that being the situation, if Pacquiao loses in the same fashion that Arturo Gatti lost to De La Hoya, his reputation will be seriously tarnished.
With all of that being said, Oscar has far more to lose than Manny. Oscar is expected to knock his opponent out in stunning fashion in the early rounds. If he struggles with a man that is realistically moving up seventeen pounds in weight to fight him, the damage to his reputation will be almost as bad as a loss.
Boxing is about risks. Both of these proud warriors are risking a lot. I suppose that in a perfect world both men could improve their reputations, but I am fairly certain that one man will damage his reputation badly.
I see Oscar winning the fight inside of five rounds. Pacquiao will never pose a serious threat and hopefully not get seriously hurt, and I am not only talking about his reputation.