Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Manny vs Oscar: Dream fight or nightmare

LAS VEGAS -- Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao faces the biggest challenge of his career Saturday when he takes on Oscar de la Hoya in what could be a career-defining bout.

The bout between the Mexican-American "Golden Boy" and Pacquiao, who is reckoned to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world right now, has been dubbed the "Dream Match."

But given the disparity in the foes' natural weights, some have speculated it could turn into a nightmare of a mismatch.

Pacquiao began fighting professionally at 106 pounds, and has fought just once at lightweight -- weighing in at 134.5 pounds when he wrested the World Boxing Council lightweight crown from David Diaz on June 28.

He'll take on De la Hoya at the MGM Grand on Saturday at a compromise welterweight limit of 147 pounds -- which will be the lightest De la Hoya has been since his 2001 victory over Arturo Gatti.

"I feel very comfortable at this 147-pound weight right now," said Pacquiao, who nonetheless has made it plain he plans to go back to lightweight after the fight. "I've fought larger guys before. It's not a problem."

Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, admits he was skeptical of the whole idea at first.

"I honestly never thought it was possible," he said. “But then I saw Oscar with small guys and southpaws. He has trouble with both. So I pushed for it hard.”

"It's basically because of what it will do for Manny's life. It's the icing on the cake. It makes him a superstar," he said.

A hero in his homeland, Pacquiao stands to collect his biggest purse and make his biggest international impact in Saturday's fight, regardless of its non-title status.

"If I win this fight, I will have achieved my dream and mission in boxing, to put my name in boxing history after all these years," said Pacquiao, who brings a 47-3 record with two drawn and 35 knockouts to the bout. "This is the most important fight of my life."

Results have been mixed for fighters who jump up in weight. It turned out badly for Kelly Pavlik recently, but Roy Jones Jr., who started his career at middleweight, made a jump to defeat World Boxing Association heavyweight champ John Ruiz.

Like Roach, Pacquiao believes his speed will help him overcome De la Hoya's four-inch height advantage.

"He's getting slow and the power is not there any more," Pacquiao said of De la Hoya, who has won world titles in six different weight classes. "I think I'm faster than him."

And there is the question of whether coming down in weight will adversely affect De la Hoya.

In his last six fights, De la Hoya has a record of 3-3 and he has looked drained in the latter stages of each fight, absorbing myriad blows in the final rounds.

Some pundits have predicted his effort to make the 147 weight will exacerbate the problem, although his trainer for this bout, Mexico's Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain, says they have adjusted his training regimen to prevent a late-fight let-down.

"It's obvious that Oscar can't be the same fighter at 35 that he was at 20, but his preparation remained almost the same," Beristain told Agence France-Presse.

"Now we have corrected that error. We put more emphasis on physical conditioning so he can go the distance if necessary," he said.

Certainly Pacquiao's famously aggressive style will offer De la Hoya no respite.

Roach, who trained De la Hoya for his unsuccessful super welterweight clash with Floyd Mayweather in 2007, believes the American has weaknesses Pacquiao can exploit.

"I'm not saying we're not going to knock him out," Roach said. "If it happens, fine. We'll take it. What we're going to do is break him down round by round," Roach said.

"We're working on staying away from the jab and the left hook. The hook is a power shot. But Oscar makes a mistake with his jab. I'm not saying what it is, but I've seen it," said Roach.

De La Hoya has acknowledged Roach may have valuable insight into his style.

"It concerns me quite a bit actually," De La Hoya said. "He trained for Mayweather and although Mayweather and Pacquiao have different styles, he knows how I train."

As if the imponderables in the ring weren't enough, the match-up includes a tinge of personal animosity.

That stems from a seven-fight deal worth at last $35 million that Pacquiao signed with de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions in September of 2006, only to return bonus money two months later and stay with promoter Bob Arum.

"We signed the deal and he turned his back on me and he's going to have to pay on December 6," he said.(Agence France-Presse)

1 comment:

neal said...

A fight between the two seems very possible now that Ortiz . The fights and participants tenatively scheduled for the debut show from the new "Dreams" promotion.
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