Sharkie's Machine: Manny Pacquiao destroys Oscar De La Hoya
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (Dec 8, 2008) Photo © German Villasenor  
Saturday night in Las Vegas, “The Golden Boy” Oscar De la Hoya (39-6, 30 KO’s) faced Manny “Pacman” Pacquaio (48-3-2, 36 KO’s) in a Pay-Per-View Event that should mark the last time we see DLH fighting on PPV and possibly, the last time he fights at all. From the opening bell to the moment that Oscar’s corner quit on the stool, it was all Pacquaio, administering a beating to the man who has made the most money of any boxer in history of this sport.

The former Super Featherweight Star and current WBC Lightweight titlist had only recently moved up to the Lightweight division. Needless to say, there was plenty of criticism about Oscar’s choice of Pacman for his next opponent, especially since Oscar said he’d fight the winner of the Welterweight Titlists, Cotto vs. Margarito. After Margarito pummeled Cotto into submission, Oscar made excuses about not wanting to fight a fellow Mexican in his farewell fight. Then, almost immediately afterwards, there was talk about Oscar wanting to fight Sergio Mora, who had just won a title by beating Vernon Forrest.

Newsflash; Mora is Mexican.

The idea of Mora fizzled out after Sergio lost a rematch with Vernon Forrest. Oscar could have called out Vernon , who like Oscar, is past his best days and fights at about the same weight Oscar does but he decided to look for someone smaller, someone who has big status and yet, would probably be unable to knock Oscar out. He sure picked the wrong guy in Manny Pacquaio!

DLH has campaigned at Jr. Middle since 2002. A big deal was being made about Oscar not only making weight at 147 but coming in at an “actual weight” of 145, two pounds lighter than Pacquaio. None of that would matter when the fight started.

An enormous amount of hype was spent on selling this fight. They billed it as two great fighters meeting in the ring in a cross divisional match up. They even called it, “The Dream Match.” Oscar will remember this one as the Nightmare Match, where he lost every single round to the smaller man with the big calves and the fast hands. Pacman got off to a great start, darting in and out from center ring, popping Oscar with lefts and combinations that produced a cut on Oscar’s right eye and saw his face swell and redden as the rounds grew longer. Pacquaio went on to dominate Oscar. I can’t think of a single round where Oscar was even fairly competitive. Every round was the same, with Manny scoring like crazy and Oscar unable to get into any kind of rhythm. Oscar was taller but didn’t use his height. Oscar has a longer reach but he rarely landed a clean punch.

The biggest advocate for this match up was Manny’s trainer, Freddy Roach, who trained Oscar before and knew his limitations. Roach instructed Manny to keep things in the center of the ring and if his back were to even touch the ropes, to turn Oscar and get back to the center. It was an effective strategy.

In the sixth, Oscar managed to land a string of punches but Manny caught him against the ropes and returned the favor in spades with a barrage of unanswered punches that definitely hurt Oscar.

In the seventh round, Pacman punished Oscar badly. It looked like Oscar was going to be knocked out but he managed to survive. During the break, his corner warned him that they’d stop it if he continued to take so much punishment. Even Referee Tony Weeks visited Oscar’s corner to warn him that he’d stop the fight if Oscar had another round like the seventh.

In the eighth round, Pacman continued to pepper Oscar with punches from all angles and Oscar was on shaky legs. I don’t know how Oscar stayed on his feet after that eighth round but his corner huddled after the bell and they all decided it was best for Oscar to retire on his stool. It was over. Manny Pacquaio had beaten Oscar De La Hoya by TKO 8.

During the post fight interviews, DLH praised Pacquaio and when asked about this one sided loss, Oscar couched his remarks by saying that “At this stage, it’s expected.”

Pacquaio was gracious as usual and said the key for him was his speed and caution. Freddy Roach was there and added that he knew Oscar from working with him before and knew that at this point, he could no longer “pull the trigger.” Roach was so sure Manny would beat Oscar that he offered to decline payment if Manny lost. Well, Roach’s stock went up after Manny’s solid performance made his words ring true.

It’s likely that Oscar will retire after this. Why risk further damage at this point when Oscar has all the money in the world and controls a good portion of the American boxing scene with Golden Boy Promotions. Funny thing, I always hoped Oscar would use his power and influence to make boxing better but he looks poised to become the next Don King as GBP is about as status quo as Boxing Promotion companies get. DLH should retire from fighting and go enjoy his millions as he chases more millions as the newest big time boxing Mogul.

So, what’s next for Pacman? I think he has some business to attend at 135 pounds, where Nate “The Galaxxxy Warrior” rules the roost with three of the four major titles in his possession. Manny would give great credibility to the notion of being the “best Pound for Pound fighter” in boxing if he were able to do to Campbell what he did to De La Hoya. Time will tell.

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