Boxing Lesson for De La Hoya from Pacquiao - So That's What My Foot Tastes Like!
By Chris Strait, SocalFightFan (Dec 9, 2008) (Photo © German Villasenor)  
Ok... So, Oscar lost to Manny, and was dominated for the first time in his career. In retrospect, we should have seen it coming. Not because of anything those two fighters showed us, but because this year has been the year of the upset.

In all honesty, I only saw one of these coming: Klitschko over Peter, and that was probably the smallest upset. But it asked questions that were impossible to predict. Klitschko was the far better fighter, and
everyone knew it, but could he come back after four years, could he come back after injuries, and could Sam Peter's chin hold up. The answer turned out to be yes on all three questions, but these questiuons are ones we are used to dealing with.

The reason fights have been so hard to predict this year, is that there are new questions that we are not used to asking:

1) 40 is the new 30. With so many fighters fighting well into their thirties and forties, we now have to ask if they will get old in one night. We didn't usually have to think of that. Now someone can look old due to styles or preparation, and then be back to top shape in the very next fight (Hopkins, etc.). For example: I have no idea what will happen the next time Joel Casamayor or Shane Mosley steps into the ring. They look like they are slipping, but I've been fooled too many times before.

2) Division jumping. With fighters simultaneously competing in as many as 3 divisions (Pacquiao, Williams), we never know how well their bodies are going to handle it. Some come up two divisions with no trouble (Pacquiao, Hopkins). Others seem like different fighters even moving one (Hatton, Pavlik). Some cannot come back down to an original weight, without an adjustment period (Jones, Tarver, De La Hoya)

3) There are no major stars left. Or hardly any. And the reason for that, is that the best are fighting the best, and people are losing. Calzaghe and Mayweather were rare perfect fighters, but they are leaving soon, or have left. We can enjoy the competitive matches that this situation creates, as well as the unpredictability, but it makes anticipating an outcome much more difficult.

I'm gonna enjoy the ride, but part of that ride is accepting that not too many of us are gonna look like experts until we adjust to these new rules!

So, for the first time, I throw up my hands: Kendall Holt vs. Ricardo Torres III? Consider my official prediction: "I have no freaking idea!!" But I will be watching.

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