De La Hoya-Pacquiao A Turn Off For Many Boxing Fans
By Jim Dower: As much as six division champion Oscar De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KOs) might like for boxing fans to be interested in his December 6th fight with former featherweight Manny Pacquiao (47-3-2, 35 KOs), so far the perspective bout seems to draw out more ridicule and disgust aimed at Oscar more than anything in the way of praise.
That, of course, won’t get in the way of the fight being a huge PPV attraction, one that will likely come close to matching the $120 million PPV that Oscar attracted for his 1997 fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. However, in this case, most of the PPV buys will be from casual fans, ones that have no real understanding about the huge weight difference between him and the much smaller Pacquiao. For knowledgeable boxing fans, De La Hoya’s decision to face Pacquiao has had the effect of spraying raid in a crowded room, causing fans to flee and hold their nose in the process.
The reason for the turn off of De La Hoya is quite simple. He’s 35, made millions in the sport, but has done next to nothing in the past five years, during which time his record is three wins and three losses with the wins coming over a faded Ricardo Mayorga, a much smaller Steve Forbes and a questionable gift decision over Felix Sturm.
Taking away the Sturm fight, which in my opinion should have gone to Sturm, De La Hoya has only two wins in the past five years, and even those wins aren’t anything to particularly proud about. But just when you thought that De La Hoya might be showing interest in facing the winner of Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito, which he said previously that he would face the victor, he opts not to fight Margarito after he came out on top.
That’s a tragedy that De La Hoya chose not to fight Margarito, because in deciding not to fight him, it made De La Hoya look cowardly in the minds of many boxing fans. Then what made things even worse, however, was for De La Hoya to turn around and decide on fighting the 5’6” former flyweight Pacquiao. While Manny has since grown into the lightweight division (135 pounds), but that’s still 19 pounds lighter than the light middleweight class where De La Hoya has been fighting for the past seven years.
The boxing publics’ attitude about this fight, mainly because of the huge size difference, has been naturally one of disgust based on the unfairness of it all. There are, however, those that suggest that things are more or less evened out because Pacquiao is at the top of his game, dominating the super featherweight division where he is the considered to be the top fighter, whereas De La Hoya has been on the downward career slide for the past five years and probably would lose badly against all of the current light middleweight title holders.
De La Hoya, however, doesn’t appear to be interested in gaining titles any longer. Instead, like Joe Calzaghe, Bernard Hopkins and Ricky Hatton, he’s mainly interested in going after the biggest named fighters in order to get a huge payday. At this time, there are no real big stars in the light middleweight division, nor the middleweight or welterweight division that come close to meeting De La Hoya’s criteria for a huge PPV bout.
Young stars like Miguel Cotto and Kelly Pavlik, have been defeated recently, thus removing them from any interest by De La Hoya. Boxing fans, however, don’t see De La Hoya’s rationale for choosing the pocket-sized Pacquiao as an opponent, and instead seem to believe that De La Hoya has done it out of greed and the desire to ensure that he continues winning by fighting opponents much smaller than himself.
Even if De La Hoya were to explain himself to fans, it’s doubtful they’ll believe in what he says. They see him turn down a fight with Margarito, the best in the welterweight division, and selecting a fighter much less of a threat than him in facing the smaller Pacquiao. That’s something that De La Hoya can never explain away for many fans.
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