December 10, 2008
Hangover effects from the "nightmare fight" last Saturday night have lingered until this time. Pre-fight praises for Oscar De La Hoya have suddenly turned into criticisms following the Golden Boy's untimely downfall.
Boxing experts claimed that they have witnessed Oscar age overnight in that battle, after which countless accusations of miscalculations in training, diet, etc. have been hurled against the "Golden Team."
So who's to blame?
De La Hoya himself for underestimating Manny Pacquiao?
Angelo Dundee for giving the wrong notion that De La Hoya was the more skilled fighter when, in fact, he was not?
Millie De La Hoya for going to big bear and possibly causing some distractions to her husband's training? (Note: Some coaches don't allow wives to sleep with their boxer husbands because "WOMEN WEAKEN LEGS"...Exemption to the rule was Jinky Pacquiao because she was pregnant that time and thus harmless.)
Or should we blame Nacho Beristain for the wrong strategy?
...The blame list could go on and on, but I would like to scrutinize more on the role of Beristain in this tragic drama.
Now, it was a surprising fact that De La Hoya didn't bloat himself up between 150-160 pounds. He came to the fight at 147, a pound less than Manny, who came in at 148 on fight night.
Now that De La Hoya has lost, the boxing world deserves some presentation of evidences why they did what they did, and I believe that the burden of proof should fall on Beristain's shoulders.
As of the time being, I am inclined to believe that Beristain committed a grave error in not advising De La Hoya to balloon to 160 pounds when, in fact, this was his ideal weight coming into a fight. Aside from an advantage in HEIGHT and REACH, De La Hoya was supposed to have a great edge in the POWER department, judging from the fact that he has fought at middleweight.
Then comes the argument that they didn't move to 160 so they could counter Pacquiao's SPEED with SPEED. This now makes me wonder why they were trying to counter something that is almost impossible to counter? De La Hoya obviously doesn't have the quickness to neutralize Pacquiao, thus it would have been better if they took a chance on countering SPEED with POWER.
Beristain already had a first-hand experience of how quick Pacquiao is because he was with Juan Manuel Marquez in two of their encounters, so what in the world was he thinking that he would match Pacquiao's SPEED with Oscar's reflexes? He knows too well that even if Marquez was quick, Pacquiao was even quicker. Plus, Oscar is not really a slick counter-puncher like Marquez.
Only Beristain knows the real score here. Let's all hope he comes out with a comment or two regarding these issues.