Dela Hoya vs. Pacquiao, A Pacman Nightmare or a Golden Boy Reality Check?

September 29, 2008

December 6 is well penciled in most fight fans’ calendar as the day marks a pound for pound match up than gives fans a reason to be excited about. Manny Pacquiao, touted as the sport of boxing’s pound for pound number one takes on Oscar Dela Hoya the most accomplished active boxer of this era. Tickets are already sold out, and the projected pay per view sales are through the roof. Fights fans are already counting the days.

But while some experts and many Pacquiao followers dismiss the Golden boy as a threat to Pacquiao’s dominance of the sport, a nightmare of a loss is starting to look real. I must admit as anstudent of the sport and as a fan, I am torn between this match up as I am a Pacquiao fan and an even bigger Oscar follower. Oscar has been inactive in recent years and Pacquiao is moving up to his heaviest weight yet, these factors makes the match up interesting rather than a mismatch in favour of the Golden boy as some say.

Oscar’s recent moves seem to show he’s taking the right steps in preparation for what might be his farewell fight.

First Dela Hoya hires a new trainer in the legendary Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain. As a fight fan, I am amazed that Dela Hoya changes trainers like yesterdays clothes but this change at a very important fight in his career is actually a wise decision. Pacquiao fought two close fights against Nacho’s top ward, Juan Manuel Marquez. From a trainer’s stand point, Beristain knows pacman real well and this could prove beneficial to Oscar. Beristain’s push for Marquez to box smartly, proved to cause Pacquiao headaches although Marquez came up short in both occasions. Beristain has the drive to finally break the Pacquiao code, and Oscar, like Marquez certainly is a specimen of a fighter who can execute a great strategy. Dela Hoya is a great boxer with good lateral movement. Power is undoubtedly not a question too. With a tactician like Nacho on his side, Dela Hoya can be confident in the strategy he will use to win.

Another good move is Dela Hoya working out “pre fight camp”. Most people would say it’s more about the money Oscar could lose for every pound over the weight limit if he comes in over the welterweight bar of 147 pounds, but in recent appearances, the Golden Boy is looking trim. By shedding pounds off early, Dela Hoya is reacquainting himself to the weight he hasn’t fought in since he won that blow out against the much smaller Arturo Gatti in 2001. Experts say that Oscar’s most dominant weight class is welterweight and it seems by working out pre fight camp; Oscar wants to make sure he will be in peak shape on fight night.

By taking these steps, Dela Hoya is clearly showing how much of a veteran he is and that he’s willing to do what it takes to make sure that he wins the fight and be in shape and die trying. Clearly, the dream match up is slowly starting to look like it could be a nightmare for the Filipino sensation. However Pacquiao is really what you can call an against the odds type of fighter and that makes him no push over against Oscar.

First, Pacquiao has what experts call a puncher’s chance. Power is something Pacquiao always had even as a junior flyweight years ago. Many will remember news reports coming out of Pacquiao’s training camp that he has to spar with bigger guys because they’re the ones who can take his power. Pacquiao also learned to throw more combinations in recent years and he also learned to throw the right hand more and has gained a degree of accuracy with it. Dela Hoya has to be wise against Pacquiao because with his power also comes speed. This certainly makes it dangerous for the Golden Boy to be in Pacman’s punching range.

Another factor for Pacman is actually the fight weight limit. Scales will not be of too much concern as his off season weight is closer to the welterweight limit and instead more time in training can be used to get accustomed to the weight and be able to move with it with ease. Since he need not lose too much weight for this fight he can become a well conditioned welterweight by fight night. With Freddie Roach having trained Dela Hoya in the past, he’ll have a good gauge of what the Golden boy has to offer. After all, this fight became an option for Pacquiao after his trainer assured him he can win this fight. These factors if Pacquiao takes advantage of them, will ensure a reality check for Oscar as he winds up his illustrious career.

At this point, the match up seems pretty even as both fighters have their strengths and good trainers who know the opposition well. It seems that this so called “dream fight” is surely not one to be missed. Whoever wins this fight, will only confirm that he is the best boxer of his era.




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