Pacquiao/De La Hoya: Keys To Victory, Four To Explore, Official Prediction!
By Vivek Wallace: Well, ladies and gents, the time has come......Tonight, the fight that has generated so much buzz across airwaves worldwide will finally materialize and play out in a way that only two men can decide. Throughout the week we've had a chance to view many different perspectives on this fight but today, we finally get a shot to see the only one that counts. Contrary to popular belief, both men have the ability to get the job done, but as we all know, in the end, there can only be one. To examine the chances of both men we take a look at keys to victory, four major effects to explore, and of course in the end, an official prediction:
Article posted on 06.12.2008
OSCAR DE LA HOYA - (KEYS TO VICTORY): For Oscar De La Hoya, this fight is the proverbial 'loaded deck'. The glove size, the size of the ring, the size comparison between the two central figures; All of that stuff benefits Oscar like it did against Mayweather, but if Oscar doesn't come to perform it could very well yield the same results. For starters, the perennial key to this whole fight for Oscar all lies in the fluency of his jab. Holding a 6 inch reach advantage, the aggressive Pacquaio will need to be close enough to do any real damage. If Oscar can keep the jab pumping and perhaps even use it to set traps like 'Nacho' showed him on 24/7 (jab, jab, uppercut - combination), then this could actually be a very easy fight for Oscar. As the jab goes, so does Oscar. Aside from the jab, Oscar will need to RELAX!!!! It's no secret that nerves get the best of him which is quite funny considering that he's the one who stated on 24/7 that most guys "freeze" under the lights of Vegas and the attention and so forth. Oscar will need to arrive like the veteran he is and execute like that fighter we know he can be. Finally, for Oscar, this fight will be decided partly based on his ability to stay active. Pacquiao is a much busier fighter and we know that Oscar can fatigue a bit down the stretch. He will need to do whatever is necessary to make sure that in the championship rounds (9-12) he's as fresh and as crisp as possible. He was the aggressor in the Mayweather fight and mid-way through, he was actually doing well on the cards. That all changed when his activity rate fell flat. If Oscar can do these things consistently there's no doubt his hand will be raised in the end.
MANNY PACQUIAO - (KEYS TO VICTORY): For Pacquiao, things get a bit more complicated because the deck is stacked against him. The best thing Pacquiao can do - and in the end, perhaps the only one that will work - is to make this a phone booth fight. If Freddie Roach did his job in training camp, he and Manny should know that if he sits at the end of Oscar's jab all night then figuratively it'll be a long night, but literally it could end up a very short one! Pacquiao's best chance is to smother Oscar's punches, staying as close to him as possible, wearing his body down and subsequently landing powershots in the form of uppercuts, hooks and crosses. Pacquiao will need to use extreme caution when closing in and make sure that he doesn't get hit with more than one shot at a time. If he gets hit with a punch, (be it a jab, hook, or whatever), he needs to remove himself from the danger zone immediately. I say that because the one that he sits still for will undoubtedly be followed with a haye-maker from a fighter who feels the urgency of fight fans that now question his entire legacy. Aside from smothering Oscar and being cautious, Pacquiao will need to remember to circle to his left, nullifying Oscar's big weapon - the left hook. Last but not least, Pac-man will need to set the tone early, letting Oscar know that he isn't going to be pushed around by the bigger man, but rather dictate his own pace. If Pacquaio can do these things it could very well offset anything that Oscar could throw at him.
FOUR TO EXPLORE
WILL OSCAR 'SHOULDER' THE LOAD?: We've all heard the recent rumors about Oscar's left shoulder/rotator cuff injury. Well, ironically this hadn't been a topic at all until the last few days. Is it legitimate? I believe so....Will it matter if he gets flattened? Probably not....Either way, all eyes will be on him from the beginning to see if he's poppin' it like it's healthy or if he's favoring it like it's not.
END OF THE 'WEAK'?: Oscar's future in the sport depends on this fight and there are many that don't seem to care for it regardless. Will he thrive at the lower weight or will it cause him to look slow and weak, ushering him into an unplanned and somewhat undesired retirement?
MOVING ON UP: After starting his career at 106 lbs, Pacquiao has proven that he could go as far north as 135 lbs. Was that the end of the road as it relates to his northern exposure, or can he handle another 12 pounds on paper, that'll actually result in what's expected to be a bigger gap in the ring? He was 147 lbs on fight night against Diaz, but Oscar will probably enter at around 155 lbs against him. How will he handle it?
A DIFFERENT WORLD: Pacquiao has been on the grand stage many times, but he's never been a part of a spectacle this large. There's 24/7, lots of lights, and lots of camera's, but when the bell ring, will the Filipino continue to bring the action?....For 12 rounds....Even after he taste the first De La Hoya powershot? That guy named 'pressure' is known to burst pipes, but can he stop Manny?
PACQUAIO/DE LA HOYA: OFFICIAL PREDICTION
I'm a firm believer that if you're a couch potato and you start to take care of yourself late in life, you can get in shape. But I don't believe that an athlete who was already in decent shape but has simply aged will have the same ability to transform himself this late in life. Oscar has a lot of miles on that 35 year old body. Calzaghe is a year older but we see how fresh he looks after taking a rather scenic route (in comparison) until the twilight of his career. Against Forbes at 150 lbs, I think Oscar looked weakened and although he stayed on his toes for the full 12 rounds, I think it was a bit misleading because he faced a man who isn't known for punching power. Still, Oscar left the ring badly swollen and despite the victory, he was clearly not what we know him to be. Pacquiao, on the other hand, is coming up in weight and although he looked nice at lightweight (135 lbs), this test will be 12 pounds north. When it all boils down, I think you still have to apply that "WARNING" label on Oscar because a flush left hook would seal the deal. Trouble is, Pacquaio keeps the pressure on in a way that Oscar hasn't faced since the second Mosley fight, which puts him in uncharted waters as well. Since my track record for making predictions have been a bit off lately, today I'm gonna apply a new strategy. Being superstitious, I'm sure I'll jinx the process but what the hell! My son - (Vivek II) - happens to be 6-0 in his last few picks. Being that he's only 3 years old, his master formula probably has more to do with which name sounds better than which fighter is actually better, but hey, he's been far more accurate than me lately so I'm gonna give him the honors this time. My official prediction, well....(drumroll) let's just say I'm going with the 'little guy', because I decided to go with my little guy!
MANNY PACQUIAO VIA SPLIT DECISION
Check out Monday's finale' to the Pacquaio/De La Hoya showdown - 'The Aftermath': Where Does Pacquiao and De La Hoya Go Now?
(Got Questions or Feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org and 954-292-7346, or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved)
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