Boxing


'The Aftermath': Pacquiao In Peak Form, No Silver Lining For The 'Goldenboy'

boxingBy Vivek Wallace, Photo by Naoki Fukuda -- The showdown last Saturday night between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao showed us exactly how unpredictable this sport really is. Many experts and fight fans predicted a victory for the bigger guy with the bigger name. Despite initially leaning in his favor myself, as indicated in my pre-fight article I abandoned those thoughts, instead opting to take the guidance of my three year old son whose streak was 6-0 going into the showdown. I guess adapting that child-like "go-with-the-guy-whose-name-sounds-cooler" philosophy is more deft than the ones us grown experts use because oddly enough, my decision to go with the little guys (Pacquiao and my son), was the right one in the end.

As that scenario and the fight itself would indicate, often in life it's the youthful inclination that outweighs the older methodical approach. Better said, when speed kills, maybe size really doesn't matter. Now that the damage is done we can accurately assess the future of both men involved:

OSCAR DE LA HOYA - 'THE AFTERMATH': The options for Oscar De La Hoya moving forward have gone from slim to nearly none. Many felt the fight with Pacquaio was an absolute fraud, and turns out it was, but for none of the reasons anyone expected. Perhaps the most telling statement of the night came from a fight fan I speak to regularly who was actually in attendance in Las Vegas. His perspective was that he "felt totally ripped off after the pathetic undercard, but got complete vindication by the drubbing that Oscar took in the headlining fight". To know that there are people out there who are this disgusted with Oscar I thought was VERY unfortunate, but as I put my ear to the streets, I'm quickly learning that this one fight fans perspective is not at all off the beat and path. Despite all the legendary nights and spirited efforts, all of a sudden, Oscar's most remembered legacy is for all the $55 pocket busting pay-per-view fights that didn't live up to the hype, and all the less-than-appealing ring appearances contained within them. Aside from a potential dual-retirement showdown between Trinidad - which would require Oscar to OK a higher weight limit - there's nothing out there that anyone would want to see that entails Oscar with a pair of gloves on. Absolutely nothing. The proposed showdown with Hatton appeared to be a done deal being that Oscar promotes him, but after Oscar's humbling defeat, there's no interest their what-so-ever.

The irony in this whole matter is that this is now the third time Oscar has taken a fight with plans of setting up another and found himself forced to watch those plans crash and burn. Many remember prior to the Hatton/Mayweather fight when Hatton defeated Castillo, and before Hatton could leave the locker room, rumors spread that Oscar was on his phone telling him that they would put on a great show in Wembley Stadium. Oscar went on to openly endorse Hatton in his fight with Mayweather which would have set their event up, only to watch Hatton humbled by Floyd, forcing him to make the decision to stay at jr. welterweight rather than entertain that fight. Then, Oscar went on to openly endorse Cotto over Margarito, setting the stage for a potential December showdown with the Puerto Rican ring master; Only to watch Cotto humbled by a man he wouldn't dare face - (Antonio Margarito). This time he found himself entering a showdown with Pacquiao while once again opening dialogue which would set the stage for that well coveted fight with Hatton overseas, only to find those plans derailed once again at the hands of a man he probably thought he would outmatch based on his own size and power. In street vernacular the the term loosely used for making money is baking 'cake'. As it relates to this matter, lets just say that Oscar apparently can't bake his 'cake' and eat it too! With no worthy options worth entertaining, the future for Oscar appears firmly entrenched in the promotional world. That is unless of course Trinidad wants to use the great dietician Oscar used to get himself down to 147lbs. Stay tuned.

MANNY PACQUIAO - 'THE AFTERMATH': For Manny Pacquiao, the future has never looked brighter, and no matter what it entails, both major paths lead to a Mayweather. He can either face Ricky Hatton who's now trained by Floyd sr., or he can really roll the dice and entertain the X-factor, which is a showdown with the sports last pound-for-pound king before he got the title, Floyd Mayweather jr. Other options that would be a blast to see, yet lack the economic support would be a lightweight showdown with current division ruler Nate Campbell, another showdown with Juan Manuel Lopez, or perhaps even a fight with the powerful but somewhat untested Edwin Valero. At any rate, options are plentiful and all with the exception of the Mayweather showdown would seem to point to Pacquiao landing the bigger purse. In a showdown against Hatton, the preliminary scouting report would lean towards Pacquiao who has proven that he can handle his own against much bigger opposition. Hatton showed significant improvement under the tutelage of Mayweather sr. and there's no question the fight wouldn't be too easy for either man, but in the end, at first glance I feel you have to lean towards a very powerful Pacquiao who not only has learned to pace himself, but also transformed into a very slippery defensive agent as well. The possibility of another showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez isn't a bad one but I'm pretty sure at this point that Pacquiao and his team aren't gonna make the mistake that Roy Jones jr. did with Tarver by taking a dangerous rematch with a foe who gives him much to lose and very little to gain.

A similar line can be drawn with the dangerous Nate Campbell. Campbell's come straight ahead style and ability to take a shot wouldn't make for a very comfortable night for Pacquiao, which is why he and Bob Arum won't risk the possibility of a loss or a poor outing against someone who isn't quite on that mega fight level - for whatever reason. When you analyze all of Pacquiao's options, the only two that make sense is Hatton and Mayweather. With Mayweather being the more dangerous of the two, I expect Pacquiao to take the challenge of facing Hatton first, then upon successful completion, entertain the notion of facing a very idle yet still dangerous Mayweather by Fall of '09. Both fights will reach epic proportions on a global scale, and unlike the original 'Dream Match' that we were told 'The World Awaits', I expect either of these two matchups to whet the appetite of anyone who has even remotely entertained the fight game. Soon we shall all find out.

(Got Questions or Feedback?": Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoo.com and 954-292-7346, or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved)

Article posted on 08.12.2008



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