35 stoppage wins in his career, across five different weight classes would suggest that Manny Pacquiao can hang with the best of them, even as the smaller man (which he has been for most of his career).
The question is; whether the 12lb, added by Pacquiao for this fight, will curb the fluid movement that he is so renowned for.
Frantic speed is Pacquiao's trademark, and it's a gamble to beef up to this extent for the fight. In adding so much bulk he risks losing his main weapon against the more methodical De La Hoya.
In De La Hoya's Middleweight fight against Bernard Hopkins, Oscar found it difficult to get near, the much larger, Hopkins. When he did get close enough his power was severely lacking.
Over the years, when there's been such a marked difference in size, it has taken a supreme performance from the smaller man to defeat the big man.
Pacquiao however, is unlike any other fighter.
His style and the sheer amount of angles he can throw combinations from will make him a very difficult opponent for the 35 year old De La Hoya.
De La Hoya will be able to muscle Pacquiao around the ring when in close, but if Pacquiao is at the top of his game, he could certainly make the larger, and older De La Hoya work very hard to chase him down.
In the Pac-Man's last fight, coming up from Super Featherweight to Lightweight, he took David Diaz apart, ending it with a ninth round TKO.
Over his career, Pacquiao has consistently stepped up through the weight classes to become a four weight World Champion, and has still been able to impose his distinctive style on opponents, regardless of the size differential.
In the press conferences as we approach fight night, Pacquiao looks, to me, more and more like a Welterweight. Unfortunately there's no way he can gain three and a half inches in height before he steps into the ring, which is a problem of course. But the closer we get to the fight, the more I feel we could see an upset in this one.
The great Steve Bunce suggested the match-up reminds him of Hagler Vs. Leonard at Middleweight in 1987. In the lead up to the super-fight, everyone was saying Hagler couldn't be beat by the smaller Sugar-Ray. But on the night, Leonard came up with one of the all time best performances to win the title, having never fought at Middleweight before.
Remember “Sugar” Shane Mosley moved up two divisions to fight Oscar in 2000, Mosley outfought the Golden Boy, with quick hands and illusive head movement.
If Pacquiao can keep his speed, retain at least some of the power that he had at Super Featherweight and Lightweight, he can cause one of the greatest upsets in boxing since that night in 1987.
With his undoubted pedigree, it's a distinct possibility.
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