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Will De La Hoya Ruin Pacquiao?

Manny Pacquiao Oscar De La HoyaBy Jim Dower: We’ve all seen it before, a fighter takes on someone a bit too good for him and takes a serious beating and is never the same again. In the case of super featherweight Manny Pacquiao, we may be seeing just that happening when he likely takes on Oscar De La Hoya on December 6th. Although the fight hasn’t yet been officially announced, it appears from the many boxing news sources that Pacquiao will be fighting De La Hoya next on December 6th, in what is supposed to be De La Hoya’s last fight of his career.

At 5’6″ 130 lbs, Pacquiao will be at a tremendous disadvantage against the taller 5’11” and there’s concern by some that Pacquiao may have a beating in store for him when he attempts to use his explosive offensive attacks against De La Hoya. Against the shorter, more limited opposition that Pacquiao has mainly been fighting in his long career, he’s been able to get away with poor boxing technique. However, against a skilled fighter like De La Hoya, who can make his opponents pay for sloppy technique, Pacquiao is going to in more than a little trouble. In a way, this fight bout reminds me somewhat of the fight between the taller Salvador Sanchez and Wilfredo Gomez, a bout in which Sanchez stopped the Gomez in the 8th round of their bout in 1981.

Gomez, a super bantamweight and much smaller-looking than Sanchez, was coming up in weight and although he looked to be the better fighter of the two, he didn’t have the size to compete against Sanchez. As the rounds progressed, Gomez got hit more and more by Sanchez’s big left hook as Gomez would come within punching distance. Unable to fight on the outside due to his lack of height and reach, Gomez was forced to come in close to try and land his shorter punches.

This is where Sanchez took Gomez apart, hurting him often and swelling up his right eye until the fight was ultimately stopped. But, with De La Hoya and Pacquiao, the size advantage for De La Hoya is even more pronounced, making it almost necessary for Pacquiao to constantly bum rush De La Hoya if he wants to land any of his punches. De La Hoya fights incredibly well on the outside, where he uses his long reach to jab his opponents and tag them with right crosses.

However, what makes De La Hoya so dangerous as a fighter is his left hook, a weapon he uses often against shorter fighters that stray too close to him. He’s able to throw in going forward or backwards and can generate a lot of power on it in either direction. This was the weapon of choice for him in fights against Fernando Vargas, Ricardo Mayorga and Shane Mosley, to name just a few opponents. However, De La Hoya up until now, has never had such a huge size and reach advantage like the one that he will hold over Pacquiao should they step in the ring with one another on December 6th.

Because of this, I see Pacquiao taking a terrible beating all night long, one that may end up rivaling the beat down that Miguel Cotto recently absorbed at the hands of Antonio Margarito. There’s no quit in Pacquiao, however, and I can’t see him knowing when he’s had enough and giving in to the superior fire power of De La Hoya. My worry is that if the beating is too severe, Pacquiao may end up shell shocked, no longer sound of body or mind from the damage and may be risking the rest of his boxing career in the process just for the sake of a big payday.

Believe me, it’s not worth it to have your mind ripped apart in a huge beat down by a much bigger fighter. This isn’t Ivan Calderon we’re talking about; this is Manny Pacquiao, a fighter with only average defensive skills at best. Pacquiao has never been hard to hit at any point in his boxing career, and has been able to win his fights due to his incredible hand speed and power. Those weapons, however, will be more than nullified by the size, reach and also excellent hand speed of the Golden Boy, and it will likely end up as a big mismatch that Pacquiao can’t overcome.

Don’t say I didn’t warn everyone, because if we see Pacquiao a drooling vegetable afterwards, it will be his fault for taking on fighter so much bigger than him. It’s sad that De La Hoya could stoop so low as to fight someone as small as Pacquiao, because it’s not only not fair, but also quite dangerous as I’ve mentioned.

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