By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
A Golden Embarrassment
De La Hoya commanded a lion’s share of the money, selected the site, and had nearly total control of everything else that was negotiated with Top Rank. Pacquiao was a hand-selected opponent moving up in weight from two weight divisions.
De La Hoya, who claimed to be in the best physical condition of his life, proved Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach’s assessment that “The Golden Boy” could “no longer pull the trigger” to be accurate.
Pacquiao (48-3-2, 35 KOs) made De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KOs) look old and slow before forcing him to quit on his stool at the end of the eighth round at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas on Saturday.
“He’s just a great fighter,” De La Hoya said of Pacquiao. “I have nothing bad to say about him. He prepared like a true champion.”
“De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao: Dream Match,” produced and distributed on HBO Pay-Per-View, proved to be an ultimate embarrassment and a disgrace to De La Hoya’s legacy. Sure, De La Hoya is boxing’s biggest draw, a future hall of famer, and has had many exciting fights. However, in another high profile fight against one of the elite fighters in the sport, De La Hoya loses another one.
In the biggest fights of De La Hoya’s career against his top rivals in their prime — Felix Trinidad, Shane Mosley, Bernard Hopkins, and Floyd Mayweather — Oscar has lost every last fight. With each loss, there was always increasing speculation of Oscar’s commitment to boxing, his stamina, and his ability to beat a top fighter in their prime decisively.
Please don’t mention past-prime and worn down fighters like Pernell Whitaker, Hector “Macho” Camacho, Jessie James Leija, Jorge Paez, Arturo Gatti, Yori Boy Campus, and Julio Cesar Chavez. By the time De La Hoya fought them, their best years were long gone.
Add Pacquiao to the list of fighters, who in their prime and in top form defeated De La Hoya. The difference is that Manny pummeled Oscar through seven one-sided rounds and forced him to quit.
Pacquiao was far from the reckless fighter that we’ve seen in the past. Instead, he boxed a well-disciplined and controlled fight. Pacquiao relied heavily on his speed and better foot-movement to set up his right jabs and combinations.
He gave De La Hoya, who quickly realized he couldn’t handle the Filipino’s speed and explosiveness, a lot of different angles and kept attacking him with the right hand.
Pacquiao proved why many people consider him the best fighter in the world. He simply comes to fight. Pacquiao will not tire in fights the way De La Hoya has throughout his career. Pacquiao won’t look for excuses for performances because he played musical trainers and lacked preparation.
Oscar can focus his entire attention as a boxing promoter, which he has done a wonderful job. Oscar the promoter is a perfect fit because 1) he is successful and 2) his career as a professional fighter is over.
De La Hoya lost to a much smaller fighter who began his career at 106 pounds. Pacquiao, although he moved up from the lightweight division to face Oscar, only had one fight at 135. Pacquiao spend most of the last couple years as a super featherweight at 130 pounds.
Pacquiao was patient and as he saw that De La Hoya didn’t have the speed, timing, and power that everyone including his all-star assembly line of head trainer Nacho Beristain, expert analyst Angelo Dundee, and former world champion WBC Daniel Zaragoza believed that Oscar had.
As a result, “Pacman” was on the attack.
“We knew we had him after the first round,” said Roach, who worked with De La Hoya in preparation for his bout with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. last year “He had no legs, he was hesitant and he was shot.”
As the bout reached round four, Pacquiao showed signs that the longer the bout progressed, the stronger he would become. Pacquiao increased his pressure and punch output. Once again, Pacquiao showed his relentless determination and will to win.
It was an awful sight to see how a much shorter Pacquiao at 5′ 6″ pummel the much taller and more experienced 5′ 11″ De La Hoya into a corner. Pacquiao nearly knocked De La Hoya out in rounds seven and eight.
When De La Hoya fought Hopkins to unify the undisputed WBC/WBA/IBF and WBO middleweight championships in September 2005, De La Hoya was behind on the judges’ scorecards in what was a very competitive bout. That was until of course Hopkins caved De La Hoya’s ribcage with a body shot.
Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya was a technical mismatch from the start. De La Hoya proved Roach right. He simply couldn’t “pull the trigger,” as Roach stated for months leading up to this mega fight. De La Hoya has been in tough fights, but he was never in a bout where he was beaten to pulp and didn’t show any signs of tenacity or courage.
There’s a first time for everything and De La Hoya, undoubtedly looked as though as if a boxing ring is a place where he shouldn’t be.
De La Hoya looked as though he had given up after the sixth round. After the seventh, a disgraced De La Hoya was allowed the opportunity to exit his Hall of Fame boxing career as an old and tired replica of the terrific talent that he once was.
De La Hoya exited a fight that would have tainted his legacy had Pacquiao been allowed to finish the job in the middle of the ring. Hopefully, December 6, 2008 would be the last time the boxing world ever saw De La Hoya step inside a boxing ring.
De La Hoya should retire.
De La Hoya vs. Mosley I revisited
Pacquiao’s win over De La Hoya wasn’t the first time that a fighter from 135 jumped from two weight divisions to beat Oscar. In June 2000, two fights removed from his embarrassing jogging marathon in September 1999 against Trinidad in the later rounds, De La Hoya needed a win against a big-named opponent to justify the WBC awarding De La Hoya with the welterweight championship.
De La Hoya handpicked Mosley. It was an uphill battle for Mosley to climb and many believed that he had the style to make De La Hoya look great in victory. It turned out that Mosley was simply faster, hungrier, and in much better condition than De La Hoya, who often blacked Mosley’s passionate flurries with his face.
Mosley bested De La Hoya by split decision to win the WBC 147-pound crown and would defeated De La Hoya again in September 2003 to unify the WBC/WBA junior middleweight championships. Mosley is the only man to have beaten De La Hoya twice.
Similar to Mosley, Pacquiao presented De La Hoya with a lot of speed, he was hungrier, and in much better condition. Mosley never really overpowered De La Hoya, but Pacquiao sure did.
Lopez, Ortiz, & Jacobs victorious on the undercard
The “De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao: Dream Match” pay-per-view line up featured a number of bouts showcasing boxing’s rising stars.
WBO junior featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez (24-0, 22 KOs) successful defended his championship for the second time. Lopez slaughtered Sergio Medina (33-2, 18 KOs) 1:38 seconds of the very first round. Lopez scored three knocked downs off an accumulation of combination punches and relentless pressure.
Lopez has been on a roll and highly touted since his title-winning bid against Daniel Ponce DeLeon in June. Lopez knocked out De Leon in the very first round as well. Lopez has won his last three fights by first-round knockout.
Junior welterweight contender Victor Ortiz (23-1-1, 18 KOs) punished Jeffrey Resto (22-3, 13 KOs) scoring thee knockdowns in two rounds. The time of the stoppage was 1:19. The victory was Ortiz’ seventh consecutive by knockout.
Daniel Jacobs continues to make the most of fighting on HBO Pay-Per-View undercards. Jacobs (13-0, 12 KOs) remained unbeaten following a second round stoppage of Victor Linares. The bout ended after Jacobs landed an accumulation of punches at the 2:44 mark.
Jacobs, who began his career exactly one year ago, fought twelve times in 2008 and has amassed eight first round knockouts.
In other news: “Dr. Steel Hammer” nears Hasim Rahman
IBF/WBO and unrecognized IBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (51-3, 45 KOs) is ready for another world title defense. Next up is IBF No. 5-ranked challenger and former two-time heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman (45-6-2, 36 KOs).
The two will collide on December 13, at the SAP Arena in Manheim, Germany. HBO will televise the bout live in the United States at 4:45 PM/ET and rebroadcast the event at 10 PM/ET.
Klitschko will be making the sixth consecutive defense of the IBF title. It will be Klitschko’s fifteenth world heavyweight championship bout overall. The two-time heavyweight champion has a career mark of 12-2, 11 KOs in championship contests.
Klitschko is fighting the beat heavyweight boxers that are available. Although Rahman is filling in for IBF mandatory Alexander Povetkin, who pulled out last month due to injury, the 36 year-old from Baltimore, MD has more experience than Povetkin and will put up a better fight.
Rahman has been in the position as an underdog many times before. Rahman was a decisive underdog when he knocked out Lennox Lewis (KO 5) to win the WBC/IBF heavyweight championship with a single blow in a tremendous upset in South Africa, April 2001.
“I will come to win. I will knock out Wladimir in the way I did it with Lennox Lewis in 2001. And I will take these belts and take them home,” Rahman said.
Of course the champion disagrees.
“He is just talking big – as usual. Rahman is a top opponent and he has achieved a lot in his career. I love challenges and I will defend my titles – no doubt about that,” Klitschko stated.
Carl Froch wins WBC super middleweight crown
Undefeated super middleweight Carl Froch (24-0. 19 KOs) won the vacant WBC super middleweight championship with 12-round unanimous decision against previously unbeaten Jean Pascal (21-1, 14KOs) in Nottingham, England on Saturday. The WBC 168-pound title was vacated earlier this year when Joe Calzaghe, nearing the end of his career, moved up in weight to compete as a light-heavyweight.
Froch was head on the three judges’ scorecards 118-110, 117-111, and 116-112. The bout was an exciting slugfest that saw a lot of seesaw action, which was sorely missing from the one-sided beating Pacquiao put on De La Hoya.
In November, Former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor won a 12-round decision against Jeff Lacy to become the No. 1-ranked challenger in the WBC. Taylor was mandated a title shot against the Froch-Pascal winner and it appears as though Froach vs. Taylor will be on the horizon 2009.
Travis Simms calls out Arthur Abraham, Felix Sturm
When people talk about the middleweight division the biggest names are WBC/WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, long-time undefeated IBF middleweight kingpin Arthur Abraham, and WBA 160-pound champion Felix Sturm.
Travis Simms (24-0, 11 KOs) is an unbeaten 37 year-old from Norfolk, CT. Simms, looking to make some noise, fought for the third time in four months two days prior to Thanksgiving. Simms won an eight-round unanimous decision over an overmatched Sam Hill.
“I don’t care where the fight happens as long as it does; if Sturm or Abraham step up I will fight in their back yard, it doesn’t make any difference to me, I have so much respect for both fighters, but once the bell rings I will be fighting to win” Simms said in a recent statement.