Many factors blur the classic line of "a good big man beats a good little man" in the matchup. Manny Pacquiao just moved from fighting at 130 lbs to 135 lbs for one fight this summer, while Oscar De la Hoya has been facing 150 to 160 pound boxers for a few years. They fight each other on Saturday in Las Vegas in a handicapping challenge for boxing writers, fans and bettors.
De la Hoya's skills have faded a bit since he's been a part time fighter and he's always had the empty tank late in big fights (with the exception of his Ike Quartey bout). Pacquiao has been active amongst the best fighters in his division, but there is the rub, his division is 25 pounds lighter than Oscar’s recent foes.
They agreed to fight at 147 pounds. Oscar only needs to lose a few pounds from his recent bouts, while Pacquiao will need to gain about 10 pounds. That kind of weight on a guy who has been less than 130 lbs for most of his career is just too much. Keep in mind Manny doesn't have to come in at 147 pounds; he could weigh-in less.
Extra weight isn’t showing on Pacquiao's toned physique but when he faces a 150-pound world-class boxer, in a real fight, he’ll notice the extra weight on him and against him. There is a segment in each boxing match where one must fight; put forth extra pressure or exert a heightened defense. This segment of the bout will benefit the larger De la Hoya.
The wisest strategy for Pacquiao would be to force Oscar into the late rounds and hope he loses stamina, as is Oscar’s trend. Manny’s hope is the extra weight will provide the energy and power for a late stoppage or a grueling inside fight down the stretch. During the first third of the fight Manny will have to choose his battles.
It would be smart strategy for Pacquiao to make De la Hoya chase and maybe run into a Pacquiao counterpunch. If Manny is able to catch Oscar, or trap him on the ropes I say work the body.
Oscar would be wise to pressure Manny early and counterpunch when Manny attempts to attack. De la Hoya will have the reach, height and weight advantage, if he uses them right he'll outpoint Manny.
I've given you scenarios for each guy to win. I foresee Oscar building up an early lead by imposing his size with fast footwork and through counterpunching and wisely punching with his reach advantage. Later in the bout you’ll see Oscar resting off the jab (saving energy by jabbing to keep Manny at arm’s length) and forward movement during the last third of the fight. My call is Oscar wins by decision as long as he moves forward and pushes jabs into the smaller man’s face and body.