Win or lose, De La Hoya will be due for criticism
Win, and Oscar De La Hoya will be criticized for fighting a smaller opponent. Lose well, let's not go there. The deck will be stacked against De La Hoya no matter how he fares against Manny Pacquiao on Saturday.
Originally Published: December 3, 2008By Don Stradley | Special to ESPN.com
E:60 Feature Thrilla
E:60 Feature Thrilla
E:60 features the story on the rise of Manny Pacquiao and how he's about to explore in the US if he beats Oscar De La Hoya in December.
The word from Oscar De La Hoya's camp in the weeks leading up to Saturday's bout with Manny Pacquiao was that he was sporting a skinny physique, largely thanks to a new diet that includes kangaroo meat.But although De La Hoya can shed weight, he can't shed the image he has going into the bout: that he's a substantially bigger man facing a fighter who began his career at 106 pounds. If Depression era heavyweight champion Jack Sharkey were alive, he might've warned De La Hoya to steer clear of Pacquiao because fighting a small opponent can be a no-win situation. Sharkey never lived down the fact that the pint-sized Mickey Walker once held him to a 15-round draw. The New York Times' James P. Daley lambasted Sharkey after the fight, who outweighed Walker by 29 pounds when they met at Ebbets Field in 1931. "It was like a clumsy St. Bernard, cumbersome with his own size, charging after a cagy, elusive bulldog," Daley wrote.
|De La Hoya-Pacquiao|
|For all the stories, podcasts, videos and news on Oscar De La Hoya's showdown with Manny Pacquiao, visit the Fight Credential.|
|Two Title Fights, One Night|
|TV lineup for the Golden Boy Promotions/Top Rank card Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas: • Welterweights: Oscar De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KOs) vs. Manny Pacquiao (47-3-2, 35 KOs), 12 rounds • Junior welterweights: Victor Ortiz (22-1-1, 17 KOs) vs. Jeff Resto (22-2, 13 KOs), 12 rounds • Junior featherweights: Juan Manuel Lopez (23-0, 21 KOs) vs. Sergio Medina (33-1, 18 KOs), for Lopez's title • Super middleweights: Daniel Jacobs (12-0, 11 KOs) vs. Victor Lares (14-3, 3 KOs), 8 rounds|
Some complimented Hagler for handling the spotlight of his first major Las Vegas fight, and in recent years, Hagler has spoken proudly of the night he beat Duran. At the time, though, many thought Hagler's cautious approach undid his reputation as a destroyer. "The fight belonged to Duran, even if the decision didn't," Bert Randolph Sugar wrote in The Ring, referring to Hagler as "Marginal Marvin." Fortunately for Hagler, he fought several more times and erased the memory of his dull tussle with Duran. De La Hoya, though, is talking retirement. He might not make another fight to erase the memory of a subpar performance against a smaller fighter if he fails to impress. De La Hoya also should take note that the smaller fighter sometimes gets a break from the judges. For instance, most observers agreed that Sharkey and Hagler were disappointing in their bouts against Walker and Duran, respectively, but most disagreed with the closeness of the scorecards. Maybe the judges focused so much on Walker and Duran that they didn't pay complete attention to what the larger fighters were doing. Couple this with the fact that Pacquiao's electric style has impressed judges in the past, and there's reason to believe that if Pacquiao is still standing at the end of 12 rounds, the decision could go his way. Perhaps like Sharkey, De La Hoya will just laugh all the way to the bank. He's certainly done so in the past. He was doing it long before he introduced kangaroo meat into his diet. Don Stradley is a regular contributor to The Ring magazine.
James Drake//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images A cautious Marvelous Marvin Hagler, right, boxed his way to a unanimous decision over Roberto Duran and was criticized for it.
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