Pacquiao-De La Hoya: Pacman Prevails While Carrying the Weight of a Nation

Bleacher Report Senior Writer IDecember 6, 2008

Minutes ago, Manny Pacquiao got through humiliating Oscar De La Hoya in what is perhaps the fight of the year. Dec. 6, 2008 is a day that boxing fans have been waiting to happen for months.

It would be the day "Pacman" would face "Golden Boy." The weight of the Philippines would be on Pacquiao's shoulders, and the weight of Mexico would be on De La Hoya's shoulders.

The fight was so hyped, there was even a TV show called "Pacquiao-De La Hoya 24/7." There were four episodes, going through the daily lives of the two prized boxers. They go through their work ethics, their personal lives and the lives of trainers Freddie Roach (Pacquiao) and Nacho Beristain (De La Hoya).

Yahoo Sports analyst Kevin Iole said De La Hoya would win.

"De La Hoya is far too big for Pacquiao, who has fought 75 percent of his 52 bouts at 122 pounds of less. De La Hoya has fought at lightweight or higher for all but two of his bouts.

Though Pacquiao is clearly the faster and more skilled fighter, the bout will hinge on whether he can take a left hook from De La Hoya, which will inevitably land while they’re in the midst of one of the many exchanges they engage in.

De La Hoya’s chin can’t be questioned, as he’s taken blows from tremendous punchers at 147, 154 and 160 pounds and kept coming. Though no one has ever accused Pacquiao of having a bad chin, that’s been while he’s been fighting super featherweights, featherweights, super bantamweights, flyweights and mini-flyweights.

De La Hoya may not be as quick, or as skilled, as he once was, but he still punches hard for a welterweight and a super welterweight. And that power should lead him to a mid-round knockout."

Reading it, I agreed with him. While De La Hoya is older—and much older, at that, he's still got it. He has also fought at higher weights and Pacquiao was fought almost all of his fights against boxers under 130 pounds. But, this is Manny Pacquiao we're dealing with. He can do anything. He has brought Philippines together in one thing they love: boxing.

Oscar De La Hoya also noticed he needed to deliver.

“I will be extremely, extremely disappointed if this fight doesn’t end in a knockout,” De La Hoya said. “It will be a total disaster for me.”

It would be fitting and surprising if he knocked out Pacman. While De La Hoya was the favorite coming in, the last time he knocked some one out was in 2000 against Derrell Cooley. In his last six fights, De La Hoya is just 3-3.

Pacquiao's recent losses include a nine round defeat to Bernard Hopkins and a 2007 loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., in which Roach was his trainer. 

In a May match against Steve Forbes, "Golden Boy" won in 12 rounds.

Let's factor Roach into this equation. Roach has trained 29 different fighters, including Mike Tyson and De La Hoya. Oscar hired Roach as his trainer for a fight against Floyd Mayweather. That fight, as I said, Oscar lost. De La Hoya claimed the chemistry wasn't there between Roach and "Golden Boy."

Roach soon after became Pacquiao's trainer. Pacman has said everything he knows about boxing he learned from Freddie. Pacman also calls him his "gift from God." Not only is Roach a gift to Pacquiao, he is a blessing to Philippines everywhere. Roach has complete control of all Philippine boxers who train with Manny.

As a result of that, Roach is very popular in the Philippines.

Roach believed he knew what to do to attack De La Hoya perfectly. While Roach is a three time trainer of the year and was also a good boxer, his opposing trainer (Nacho Beristain) is great as well. "Nacho" was hired for the Pacquiao fight. Beristain was honored.

“Oscar De La Hoya is one of the premier fighters of this era and I am excited about working with him for this very important fight.”

But let's get on to the fight.

In the first round, De La Hoya looked his age. Few of his punches actually landed and Pacquiao threw a straight left, a combination, a lead left and another combination - all landing. After a few effective punches by Oscar, the fight was over. Iole scored the first round: Pacquiao 10, De La Hoya 9.

The next round, Oscar didn't look much better. While he landed a lead right, a double jab and a combination to the body early, Pacquiao was even more effective throughout the course of the round. He landed uppercuts, lead lefts and combinations to the body. Iole scored it: Pacquiao 10, De La Hoya 9.

The next round, Oscar seemed even more dazed and confused. In the first minute, he is doing nothing offensively and takes leads left, jabs and a right hook at the end of the round. Iole again scores it: Pacquiao 10, De La Hoya 9.

In the fourth round, it was obvious Manny was headed to victory. The first thirty seconds were slow for both fighters. No punches were landing and they were both dancing.

A triple combination by Pacquiao backed De La Hoya up and it looked as if Roach had indeed attacked De La Hoya perfectly! In the words of Kevin Iole: "Oscar looks like a beaten, old and shot fighter." He again scores it 10-9 Pacman.

In rounds six or seven, Oscar looks worse and worse. His eyes are closing and looks his age. Pacman continues to dominate the fight and looks headed towards an upset. Three minutes into round nine, a whole country rejoiced as Oscar De La Hoya decided to quit, giving Manny Pacquiao the victory by TKO. This also means the end of De La Hoya's career, most likely.

Pacman carried the weight and prevailed. Manny and Freddie came through not for a win—but for an entire country.