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De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao in December?

delahoya4574634.jpgBy Manuel Perez: For most people, the thought of Manny Pacquiao, currently the WBC lightweight champion, every fighting a fighter as big as welterweight Oscar De La Hoya, seemed laughable due to the huge size differences between the two fighters. Indeed, most boxing fans that dared mention such a match up in boxing forums on the internet were quickly ridiculed and laughed off the board.

However, things may have changed with De La Hoya, 35, planning on fighting for the final time in his career in December, and with Pacquiao’s recent move up in weight to defeat WBC lightweight champion David Diaz in a 9th round TKO in June. Now, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is reportedly in meetings with Golden Boy Chief executive officer Richard Schaefer about a December 6th bout between Pacquiao and De La Hoya. For Pacquiao, 29, this fight would work out perfectly, because he’s got an open date around that time with no scheduled opponents. He had been hoping to fight Ricky Hatton at that time, but Hatton isn’t interested instead in fighting IBF light welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi in November.

Personally, I think the idea stinks, smelling much of a fighter wanting to make money in a terrible mismatch than on a truly competitive fight. Pacquiao, as good as he is, would get trounced by a fighter as big as De La Hoya. I don’t particularly care how well Pacquiao did against the limited Diaz, De La Hoya is a much different animal altogether than the small, slow and flawed Diaz. Not only is De La Hoya bigger in terms of weight and height, his hand speed is probably close to that of Pacquiao, making this a fight where Pacquiao would be badly handicapped.

I have no problem with Pacquiao making a lot of money, because he certainly deserves it for showing that he’s the head of the class in the super featherweight division, but that’s where it ends. He’s not the top guy in the lightweight division, even though he holds one of the titles, and I would fully expect for him to get taken out if he were to fight a better lightweight than Diaz, someone like Nate Campbell or Amir Khan, both of whom I see as being tougher and stronger than Pacquiao. The fight would be a risky mistake on the part of Pacquiao, who not only would likely get beat, but he might end up being beaten badly by De La Hoya, erasing any possibility for a subsequent bout between Pacquiao and Hatton.

I think Pacquiao needs not to be greedy by going for both fights against De La Hoya and Hatton, and focus on a bout that he knows he has a good chance at winning – the Hatton fight. If the De La Hoya fight is bigger in terms of money, then, yes, I’d be all for that fight, but I doubt seriously that De La Hoya-Pacquiao bout would be as big a money maker as a fight against Hatton, which pits two fighters at the top of their game, roughly the same size as each other.

If De La Hoya wants to go out of the game, let it be against a fighter his own size, someone like welterweight champion Miguel Cotto or Antonio Margarito. At least with that fight, we’d be seeing something much fairer and sporting rather than a hopeless mismatch like we’d probably be seeing with De La Hoya fighting the much smaller Pacquiao.

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