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Pacquiao-De La Hoya: The Size of the Fight in the Dog

Christopher FalvelloCorrespondent IDecember 7, 2008

Manny Pacquiao has knocked out Oscar De La Hoya. I’ll say that again: Manny Pacquiao has knocked out Oscar De La Hoya. While “The Golden Boy” did not end the night prostrate on the canvas, he was very close to it, and the ring Doctor as well as De La Hoya’s trainer, the venerable Nacho Beristain, were begging him to call it a night. 

Many fans, myself included, saw Pacquiao stopping Oscar, but not so easily, or in such fashion.

This fight means several things, all of which are important to the sport. Firstly, Pacquiao’s pound-for-pound ranking has been solidified for the next decade, at least.  Like his predecessor, Mayweather, Pacquiao beat De La Hoya, but unlike “Pretty Boy” Floyd, he disposed of him as though boxing’s No. 1 draw were a prelim boy fresh out of the amateurs. 

That’s another thing that happened. Oscar De La Hoya lost his drawing power. For the last decade, Oscar and his incredible popularity has kept boxing afloat. But now, sadly, his star power has been obliterated by a Filipino super-nova. 

Thankfully, the passing of the torch to Pacquiao is a good thing. Now the new No. 1 draw in boxing is also its pound-for-pound best as well as, and most importantly, its most exciting fighter, hands down. 

All three of Pacquiao’s fights this year were entertaining, even though two of them were vicious beat-downs (the third, his rematch with Marquez, is in the running for fight of the year).

Pacquiao has proved that size doesn’t matter, to a point, but I would really like to see him go back to lightweight where there is a host of good contenders his natural size, and the champion is and old rival with a score to settle. 

While I didn’t think that De La Hoya was too big for the Pac-man, can anyone see Pacquiao standing up to Margarito, or Williams, or even Cotto and Berto?  This was a one time only shot for Pacquiao and even if he doesn’t see that, Freddie Roach will. 

In the end we saw a bright star dim in front of our eyes.  De La Hoya’s exit from the game has been neither graceful or happy. If Roy Jones' loss to Calzaghe was sad, Oscar’s was pitiful and while I rejoiced in Pacquiao’s victory, one could not but feel for the aging legend, eye swollen, and head and heart confused by the shocking events and even more shocking emotions.

Pacquiao is now the face of Boxing, worldwide, and we all expect good things from him.

But, let us not forget the lesson learned today, one that has been repeated throughout the ages:  It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. And no dog right now has more fight in him that Manny Pacquiao. 

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