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Will Pacquiao Retire De La Hoya?

Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya boxing photo and news imageBy William Mackay: With the huge mega fight showdown between Oscar De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KOs) and Manny Pacquiao (47-3-2, 35 KOs) only days away, I’m wondering whether we’re seeing the last of The Golden Boy, De La Hoya. At 35, he still talks a good game, predicting with a gleam in his eyes that one of them will be knocked out on Saturday night. However, at his advanced age, with a tired look to him, one wonders if it just might be De La Hoya who will be taken out in this fight.

To be sure, it wouldn’t be the first time that he was taken out in the past five years, because Bernard Hopkins took him out with a short body shot in the 9th round in September 2004, sending De La Hoya down on the canvas where he lay in agony pounding the canvas over and over again until the physical pain dissipated.

Since that time, De La Hoya has been careful in the ring, taking on only one good fighter – Floyd Mayweather Jr. – and focusing on softer, easier targets like Ricardo Mayorga and Steve Forbes, neither of which presented a real risk to hurt De La Hoya.

That all changes on Saturday night, because De La Hoya will be taking on Pacquiao, a fighter that has the hand speed, work rate and more than enough power to take out the aging De La Hoya. I seriously doubt that Pacquiao will be able to get through De La Hoya’s guard in the first four rounds or so, because De La Hoya will be mainly fighting cautiously on the outside, trying to avoid exchanges with Pacquiao at all costs.

However, after the 4th, De La Hoya will probably start getting more brave and looking to mix it up more with Pacquiao. Once that happens, it will be nearly impossible for De La Hoya to go back to his boxing style as he will remain stuck in his slugging style much like he was against Mayweather.

Not used to fighting hard or often, De La Hoya’s energy will start to drain way quickly before he even realizes what’s happening. That’s when Pacquiao, with his fast combinations, will start to score with big combinations to De La Hoya’s head and body.

I see De La Hoya suffering serious puffiness and cuts around one or both eyes very early in the fight from Pacquiao’s hard shots. Once he starts taking punishment, De La Hoya will likely be helpless to stop the beating.

Too old, too slow and too dependent on needing frequent rest breaks, De La Hoya will try to clinch as much as possible to let his weary legs get a much needed rest. However, on the inside, Pacquiao will land big scoring punches to De La Hoya’s head, making his cuts and swelling even worse.

As the fight gets to the 9th round, I see the cuts being severe enough that the fight might possibly be stopped by the referee, enabling De La Hoya to escape with a semblance of his dignity intact. However, the rest of the boxing work will have witnessed the fight and seen the real truth – that De La Hoya is a shot fighter and needs to retire.

Although De La Hoya might fight it and try to continue with his career after taking a beating from Pacquiao, it’s unclear whether there will be any fan interest to see him battle someone like Ricky Hatton, Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Miguel Cotto.

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