Don’t Count On De La Hoya Fighting Margarito
By Manuel Perez: Now that newly crowned WBA welterweight champion Antonio Margarito (37-5, 27 KOs) has finished off Miguel Cotto and put him to rest, the natural next opponent for Margarito would seem to be boxing great Oscar De la Hoya (39-5, 30 KOs), who previously hinted at wanting to fight Cotto if he were to defeat Margarito. However, Margarito upset those plans by erasing Cotto, thus taking away what would have been a huge big money fight for De la Hoya, who plans on bowing out of boxing on December 6th. Alas, De la Hoya hasn’t so far shown any interest in fighting Margarito in December, which somehow I find not too surprising. With the way Margarito decimated Cotto, almost taking head of in the process of taking him apart bit by bit on Saturday night, leaving him a bloody mess.
I’m doubt De la Hoya would want to risk having the same fate happening to him in his last fight of his career. Margarito would probably overwhelm De La Hoya in the same manner as he did to Cotto, walking him down, throwing nonstop punches until a badly beaten and bloody De La Hoya quits in a similar fashion as Cotto. I do think that De La Hoya would do well for a few rounds, but by the 5th or 6th, Margarito would get to him with his big body shots and likely drop him to the canvas in the same way that Bernard Hopkins did to De La Hoya in his 9th round TKO of his in September 2004.
De la Hoya has been rumored to be looking at fighting super featherweight/lightweight Manny Pacquiao in December, but the bout has been seen as less than appealing to many boxing fans because of De la Hoya’s huge size and reach advantage over Pacquiao. It would be a monstrous advantage for De La Hoya if he were to fight Pacquiao, something along the lines of Nikolay Valuev vs. a light heavyweight like Antonio Tarver. Though Pacquiao might be able to get his weight up to 147 to fight at welterweight, he wouldn’t have the size to fight effectively against Oscar, who would probably come into the actual fight weighing closer to 160 lbs. It’s not exactly the fairest of fights if you ask me.
Obviously, if De la Hoya wants to end his career on a positive note, he can’t go wrong by fighting the much smaller Pacquiao, for he’s clearly a fighter with a big name and one that De La Hoya could probably still beat at this late point in his career. However, if he thinks that this fight will make him look good to knowledgeable fans, I think he has another thing coming. Casuals boxing fans, the ones that don’t have a clue about boxing, will probably like the idea, and will think that Pacquiao always fought at 147.
We’re talking De La Hoya fans, who would watch him fight no matter who he goes up against. The same goes for pacquiao’s fan, although in this case they’d be much more eager to see him fight because he would be facing an opponent that he would he at a huge disadvantage against. Considering that Pacquiao didn’t even appear to beat Juan Manuel Marquez in their bout in March 2008, I give Pacquiao exactly zero chance of beating De La Hoya, who is faster, taller and much stronger than Marquez.
Ideally, De La Hoya needs to grow a pair and take on Margarito. Even if De La Hoya takes a major beating, which he probably will, he’ll be looked at much better by the public than if he sidesteps Margarito and takes on the smallish Pacquiao or a similarly smaller fighter like Ricky Hatton. It’s a tradition for older fighters to finish their career absorbing a beating by a younger fighter. There’s no shame in that, and he won’t be thought of as a lesser fighter just because he gets mowed down by Margarito. After all, look at what he just did to Cotto, who many people mistakenly thought was the best fighter in the welterweight division up until he got thrashed.