25 November 2008

Pacquiao's Greatest Challenge

Many were a bit shocked and a little excited when Manny confirmed months ago that he will be fighting “The Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya on 6 December 2008 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

A lot of opinions are buzzing around at home and at work contending that this might be the last fight Pacquiao. A decent and financially-rewarding way to gracefully exit the boxing world before he relaunch his political career.

Although Manny is younger and more agile, the more experienced Dela Hoya still has the physical advantage. He is listed at 5'10" and Pacquiao at 5'6". Oscar has also a reach advantage of about 6 inches. With their differences in weight, adjustments has to be made until they reach the agreed 140-150 pound-limit.

Over the past three years, Pacquiao has systematically dismantled his opponents, a list that includes legends like Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez. But Pacquiao is nowhere near the size of De La Hoya. When Pacquiao defeated David Diaz in June for the lightweight title, it was the first time he had ever fought at 135 pounds. Against De La Hoya, Pacquiao needs more than just than just the cheers of Filipinos.

Pacquiao may have brought a new meaning to the word "combinations," as his blinding speed enables him to throw eight to 10 punches in succession and gives him the potential to win every round, but he does not have the power to knockout De La Hoya at 147. He cannot hurt De La Hoya. He cannot punish him or stalk him around the ring. He cannot inflict lasting damage on his face and hand him an embarrassing loss. De La Hoya knows this and this could be the only advantage he needs to resurrect his career.