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Is De La Hoya The Most Hated Fighter In Boxing?

Oscar De La HoyaBy Eric Thomas: As the days draw nearer for what will likely be Oscar De La Hoya’s final fight of his boxing career on December 6th against Manny Pacquiao, De La Hoya has seemed to become a lightning rod for criticism among boxing fans on the internet. And to think, all it took was for him to kick around the idea of wanting to fight Pacquiao, a fighter up until recently fought as a super featherweight. The fans, some of which were at one time fans of De La Hoya, appear to be angered because De La Hoya has opted to skip over facing Mexican Antonio Margarito, who recently stopped Miguel Cotto in a WBA welterweight title bout.

Before the fight, De La Hoya has made mention of wanting to fight the winner of the fight, although it looks as if he had a change of mind after watching Cotto get brutally stopped by Margarito in the 11th round of the fight. De La Hoya probably decided it wasn’t the best of ideas to take on a fighter with as much offensive power as Margarito, for it would be a bout that would almost guarantee that he finish his boxing career on a losing note – maybe even one where his face was rearranged in the process. Considering that he’s had it pretty easy the last four years of his career, facing a smallish Floyd Mayweather, a shot Ricardo Mayorga, another smallish opponent in Steve Forbes and then Bernard Hopkins, who took De La Hoya out with a phantom body shot, it really isn’t all that surprising that De La Hoya would elect to bypass Margarito and instead face the non-threatening Pacquiao.

However, the decision to look for an easier opponent in Pacquiao seems to have angered a huge portion of the boxing community, who are questioning De La Hoya’s manhood and calling him every name you could ever think about. It’s strange how De La Hoya could have gone from a such a popular fighter to almost a pariah in just a couple of weeks. The fight, if it does occur, is still months away and one can only imagine the frenzy that will occur as the date gets closer and closer.

I don’t suspect that De La Hoya will change his mind about facing Pacquiao, for after all, it will be a fight that will likely give him another huge million dollar pay, likely in the tens of millions. However, in doing so, he’s not exactly going to be finishing his career on a positive note because he’s going to take a lot of hits from fans, who will continue to question his courage by facing such a small fighter like Pacquiao. The thing of it is, not too long ago De La Hoya said that he didn’t wish to fight Ricky Hatton, because he felt that he was too small for him.

But by taking on Pacquiao, and even smaller fighter than Hatton, it makes De La Hoya look a little inconsistent. De La Hoya probably doesn’t need the extra money that he will get by fighting Pacquiao, since he’s already made quite a bit of money during his long career. I think it goes beyond money, though, because a fight with Pacquiao will obviously be much more popular than a fight with Margarito, who isn’t as well known by casual boxing fans as Pacquiao. This would mean that there would be fewer fans that would be witnessing De La Hoya’s last fight, and that’s probably not the way he would like to go out.

I think he wants to be in the biggest fight possible, and if it means fighting someone much smaller than him, so be it. And, of course, he wants to finish his career on a positive note by winning. His chances of beating the iron-chinned Margarito are almost nonexistent and unless he was able to run all night long, De La Hoya would very likely take a tremendous beating and wind up getting taken out. However, boxing fans would still rather him take his beating like a man than to turn away from the fight and look for a beatable opponent.

For boxing fans, they see this as a cowardly move. De La Hoya’s decision not to face Margarito is one thing, but then to pick someone so much smaller than himself, seems to be the final straw with many fans. Personally, I think they wouldn’t mind so much if he had decided to fight another welterweight or maybe a light middleweight – in other words, someone roughly his own size. He appears to be doing to opposite of that, which is why he is drawing so much hate from fans.

Like I said, I doubt he will change his mind because the money is too good to walk away from a fight with Pacquiao, and the amount of attention – whether good or bad – is much more than he would receive by facing Margarito. It’s sad, however, that he’s willing to lose a lot of fans by deciding on fighting a fighter as small as Pacquiao. In the end, I think he may be sorry he did it, because this is how he’s going to be remembered by the fans, who will combine this with his fights with other smaller fighters, Forbes, Mosley and Mayweather, and brand him with a coward’s label.

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