Manny Pacquiao has a chance to win in crazy fight

October 1, 2008

Oscar de la Hoya’s December 6 fight with Manny Pacquiao a freak show or a genuine match worth looking forward to?

Pacquiao has agreed to fight De la Hoya at welterweight (147lbs/66.7kg), which means both will have to make serious physical adjustments before they get in the ring.

Filipino Pacquiao will be beefing up way beyond his natural size while De la Hoya has to boil his body down to a limit he last made seven years ago.

Critics of the non-title “special attraction” match say Pacquiao will be in serious danger because he is moving up too far and is too small compared to the American.

But tickets for the contest took just two hours to sell out last week and it is expected to be one of the most profitable fights in history.

Despite the huge interest in the contest, WBC president Jose Sulaiman has labelled it a “fraud” and “absurd” while boxing officials in the Philippines have attempted to get the fight cancelled, without success.

The bare facts certainly make alarming reading.

Pacquiao last beat David Diaz to win the WBC lightweight (135lbs/61.2kg) title in June but had jumped from super-featherweight (130lbs/59kg) for the first time to do it.

Pacquiao won his first world title all the way down at flyweight (112lb/50.8kg) in December 1998 when he stopped Chatchai Sasakul in the eighth round in Thailand in 1998.

De la Hoya last fought at 154lbs/69.9kg (light-middleweight) but has gone as high as 160lbs in recent years and is five inches (14cm) taller than Manny with a big reach advantage. He won his first world title at super-featherweight 14 years ago.

Although Sulaiman speaks from the heart, his organisation recently sanctioned faded 38-year-old Chatchai as a challenger to red-hot WBC super-flyweight champion Cristian Mijares in a mismatch that also had many worried.

As far as Pacquiao v De la Hoya is concerned, I think there is a case for this being a good fight.

Pacquiao delivered his best ever performance against Diaz and actually looked the stronger man against a career lightweight.

He still had the same lightning speed and Diaz’s punches seemed to bounce off him.

Manny carried explosive power at the lower weights (35 knockouts in 47 victories) so even if this is dulled when he moves up to face De la Hoya, he is likely to carry enough of a dig to command respect at the very least.

Although detractors are focused on the 29-year-old Filipino, it is important not to forget how difficult it will be for Oscar to get down to welterweight.

That is likely to take a lot out of him, and could substantially erode the benefits of his physical superiority.

Oscar is 35 years old and has been in a lot of hard fights. It could all catch up with him on the night.The American didn’t looked particularly impressive against Steve Forbes in May, although I am sure he will try and raise his game for a fight as big as this.

Some critics have derided him for picking Pacquiao and have said that Antonio Margarito would have been a more suitable opponent.

Margarito displayed his grit against Miguel Cotto in the best fight of the year so far, but De la Hoya doesn’t have anything left to prove to fans.

He has fought the elite throughout his career and knows a clash with Pacquiao is much bigger than one against Margarito. He also has a better chance of winning.

I’m sure if De la Hoya was 10 years younger he would gladly meet Margarito, but it would be a foolish match for him at this stage of his career.

Most sports fans know De la Hoya and Pacquiao, even if they are not big boxing fans, and will likely buy the pay-per-view out of curiosity. Hopefully TrueVisions will screen it in Thailand.

Light-heavyweight Roy Jones Jr added 52lbs (24kg) to beat WBA heavyweight champ John Ruiz in 2003 but if Pacquiao wins this one it will be probably be regarded as the greatest feat ever seen in a boxing ring. I can’t wait for it.

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