December 7, 2008 will see another holiday in the Philippines. Unnerving, bloody and frightening – an ending of an episode I saw in my vision.
THE DREAM MISMATCH
In a few days from today, the actuality of the ‘dream match’ will soon unveil. Whether this reverie can live up to the golden platter of expectations as the media hype suggests, it could be the other way around. It could turn out to be fits of nightmare of a mismatch that will linger into the inner fancies of pundits in the so-called sweet science.
Oscar and Manny are living legends – they are top recipes to a dream date. But from the very beginning, the Pacquiao–Dela Hoya match has been seen as a bizarre concept, a morbid joke in fact.
Mismatch? Probably yes, maybe not… But then, that’s what makes the bout very interesting.
Albeit they are giga-champions, they don’t suppose to belong in the same circuit. Pacman is too small while Dela Hoya is obviously huge. Note that when Pacquiao had his 1995 light-flyweight debut as nobody in the boxing world, De La Hoya had already been preparing for his third defense of a lightweight title. In other words, while the Pacman was about to start tasting the impact of real fists camouflaged in leather, Dela Hoya had already been a world champion in two weight divisions. They were then 30 pounds apart; they were 30 pounds apart a few weeks ago when the match-up was announced!
Yet at a catch weight of 147 lbs, (the limit in the welterweight), the dream is about to become real. Manny has to climb up while Oscar to slide down from their respective weights. But Oscar has always been much bigger than Manny, and “it’s tricky to estimate or underestimate the end-effects on their respective physique even if both have to weigh no more than 147 pounds at the weigh-in time”, as one sports columnist said.
Will the pint-sized Pacquiao shock the intimidating frame and height of De La Hoya? On the other hand, can De La Hoya bulldoze & flatten his tiny opponent easily? The possibility that Pacquiao could be badly hurt has become a streaming denigration as the match was being pursued. Obvious as it is; the reach and height advantage, superior technical skills and overall ring savvy, made the odds favour immensely for a Dela Hoya victory!
Immortalized in 44 fights (39-5 with 30 by KO’s), De La Hoya has defeated seventeen world champions (and former champions) and has won ten world titles in six different weight classes. From Lightweight (135 lbs) to Middleweight (160 lbs) range, Oscar had fought the best, the most fearsome and the biggest names in boxing in these weight divisions.
Pacquiao, (47-3-2, 35 KO’s) on the other hand, is a rampaging hurricane terrorizing the light-flyweight to lightweight divisions. Currently acknowledged as the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, the Filipino fireball has likewise achieved his own immortality over lighter and smaller boxers. The southpaw piston has a number of truly astounding victories on his record, but then his last fight at 135 pounds was just where Oscar started.
Skepticism and intrigue have it that the match could be a making of a grand script – in a theatrical circus that is counter-productive to the sport. Highly marketable even in these financially beleaguered times, skeptics say the mismatch could only be for the money – and lots of it… mind boggling as it is.
Generating the richest payday & pay-per-view revenues, Oscar, the Golden Boy, has been dubbed as the most popular boxer in recent history. De La Hoya, the only guy capable today of drawing at least 500,000 pay-per-view buys regardless of who the opponent is. But Pacquiao is the most exciting fighter in the world – he too has his own PPV following. A De La Hoya victory means more profitable work schedules at least for one year more. A Pacquiao victory means the end of Oscar’s mega-buck heydays and eventually his retirement as a prize-fighter.
But Filipinos love to play underdog. Trusted by his countrymen to crush Oscar, the guy Pacquaio outmatched in size, weight, height and reach; it would be pleasant to see how the diminutive countryman beat one of the best in the heavier divisions. Note that ODLH happens to be the biggest name in the sport. Beating Oscar will put the Pacman on top of the world!
Pacquaio had already surpassed Elorde’s achievements when he successfully grabbed the WBC Lightweight World Championship past David Diaz via a stunning knock-out. Now, it would be more than stardom. It would be for the more grandeur in the chronicles to come by future generations.
In the meantime, Pacquiao must have been honored to have with him Dela Hoya in the ring. In Pacquiao, the challenge to overcome the bigger challenge must have been the other motivation. On the other hand, Oscar, wanting an explosive performance prior to his eventual exit, chose the best of today’s fighters in a smaller & beatable Manny Pacquiao. To Oscar, Pacquiao fits the qualification perfectly.
CAN OUR PACMAN DO IT..?