Most people predicted that Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, current pound-for-pound welterweight champion was going to wreck Oscar “Golden Boy” De La Hoya on December 6th in Las Vegas. However, there were still people like me out there who wanted to see boxing’s most popular boxer do well. Not because he’s popular, but because of why he’s popular. De La Hoya is a likeable boxer, he’s been fighting since he was 5 years old and never really seems to be as arrogant as most boxers are, even though he was the first boxer to win world titles in 6 different division and owns his own boxing promotional company.
Pacquiao’s fans (especially those from the Phillipines) contest that Pacquiao is a “man for the people.” Pacquaio has poured tons of his money in the Phillipines and is responsible for sending hundreds of children to school (a chance he never got) and opening hospitals. When the Pac Man is in the Phillipines there are usually a couple thousand people sorrounding him, his properties there also compliment his status in his home land.
A Vendetta can fuel the flame in the ring.
While training for the fight De La Hoya stated that this fight was “very personal to me.” The Golden Boy was referring to the recent court case between him and Pacquao in 2007 over a contract deal in which De La Hoya thought he had signed Pacquiao to a seven-fight deal with his company Golden Boy Promotions that included a $300,000 signing bonus. Unbeknownst to De La Hoya, Pacquiao found a better deal with Top Rank and returned the signing bonus to Golden Boy and accepted Top Rank’s $1 million bonus and joined the Top Rank team. This really angered De La Hoya due to the rivalry he has had with Top Rank ever since he left their company to start his own. Plenty of Lawsuits and insults were exchanged between Golden Boy and Top Rank for several months until an out-of-court settlement was reached in June 2007 with Top Rank becoming Pacquiao’s primary promoter.
However, in the ring, none of this matters. What matters are the personal qualms that a boxer has with himself, trusted ones or his ego. Unfortunatly for the Golden Boy, these qualms hit the fan early and really seemed to have messed with him. The Golden Boy boxed weak and got pounded by Pacquiao, forcing his corner to throw in the towel in the 8th round. A loss that was unacceptable for a lot of Golden Boy supporters, including several boxers that are signed on De La Hoya’s promotional company, Golden Boy Promotions. Most notably, Ricky Hatton stated that he “could have cried” when he was asked about the fight.
Other boxers werent so sympathetic to De La Hoya’s situation. James Toney (who is set to fight Fres Oquendo (29-4) this coming Saturday) went on to diss De La Hoya for the way the fight ended and the way De La Hoya looked stating: “Ending it like he did, sitting on the stool, he better come back and redeem himself. He looked like a little sissy. I’ve been beat up. I never quit.”
Mayweather Sr. Rips ‘Nacho’
A boxer’s trainer is his guide. Its the one person he trusts more then himself when it comes to boxing. De La Hoya’s previous trainer, Freddie Roach (who called De La Hoya a “Prima Donna” during the weigh-in) opted to train Pacquaio, whom he he’d been working with for quite some time before the fight was arranged. De La Hoya, in an urgency to find a trainer chose Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, whom Flloyd Mayweather Sr. thinks is a horrible trainer. If you’re thinking “What does it matter what Sr. thinks?” – Don’t let that thought leave your mouth because you might want to know that Sr. has been De La Hoya’s trainer in all but 2 of his fights in the last seven years.
However, for some reason, De La Hoya chose to let Mayweather Sr. train Ricky Hatton for his fight against Paulie Malignaggi. Mayweather Sr. went on to declare that he is ready for the challenge to train De La Hoya to beat Pacquaio in a possible rematch stating the following:
“I believe Oscar could whip Pacquiao…Nacho Beristain didn’t do anything with Oscar…All Oscar had to do was catch Pacquiao’s right jab with his right hand and fire that hook over the top. About three or four times doing that and he would’ve taken that jab away, I guarantee you. He would’ve stopped him.”
So after pacquaio’s man-handling of De La Hoya, one can only wonder, “What is the Golden Boy going to do now?” The good news for De La Hoya is that his day job (head of Golden Boy Promotions) pays pretty damn well, and so does his night job. The Pacquaio, De La Hoya fight on December 6th was deemed the 3rd biggest selling non-heavyweight fight. The other two fights ranked above this fight were De La Hoya’s 2007 match against Mayweather and his 1999 bout against Trinidad. So, I think it’s safe to say his day job doesn’t pay too bad either.
Richard Schaefer, the De La Hoya’s friend and business partner stated today that the Golden Boy is out of the hospital with no broken bones and is returning to Puerto Rico to finalize his probable decision to retired. We can only hope that he listens to Mayweather Sr’s offer to help and gives this boxing thing another try.