Mailbag: De La Hoya-Pacquiao Top 10

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  • Oscar De La Hoya
    Oscar De La Hoya
    American boxer

Before I get to your questions and comments on Manny Pacquiao's surprisingly easy victory over Oscar De La Hoya on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, here are my top 10 random observations about the card and the promotion:

• 1. Indications are that the pay-per-view result will be around 1.5 million buys, which is a phenomenal number. It's a tribute not only to De La Hoya's ability to sell, but it points out the widespread popularity that Pacquiao has obtained. This guy isn't popular just among his countrymen in the Philippines.

• 2. If Floyd Mayweather Jr. comes out of retirement to fight Pacquiao next year, he won't find the going as easy as he may think. Mayweather is outstanding, but so, too, is Pacquiao.

• 3. De La Hoya trainer Nacho Beristain should have stopped the fight at the end of the sixth round. He let the Golden Boy take far too much unneeded punishment. And though Beristain later said he stopped the bout, it was clear De La Hoya himself did it.

• 4. De La Hoya would be foolish to consider another fight, even a so-called farewell fight against an easy opponent. His health isn't worth it. He looked mediocre against Steve Forbes in May and worse against Pacquiao on Saturday. Boxing is far too dangerous of a sport for someone who has clearly reached the end of the line, as De La Hoya has.

• 5. Former world champion Alexis Arguello was certainly prescient in May, when after De La Hoya's one-sided (on the scorecard) win over Forbes, he told me in a private interview, "That was a big, significant drop."

• 6. It was hard to believe Pacquiao is the same guy I watched lose in the same ring back in 2005 to Erik Morales. The work trainer Freddie Roach has done with him is beyond incredible.

• 7. Ricky Hatton is Pacquiao's likely next opponent. And he's going to learn very quickly that, "There's only one Manny Pacquiao."

• 8. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and attorney Stephen Espinoza were way out of line Friday when they threatened to pull the credentials of journalists who were listening in during a dispute with the Nevada Athletic Commission over the way De La Hoya's hands were wrapped. The meeting was held in the media center; if they wanted privacy, there were many places they could have gone that were off-limits to the media and they wouldn't have looked like bullies. Schaefer was also wrong for telling a Los Angeles Times reporter that if the reporter kept asking questions about undercard fighter Victor Ortiz's bankruptcy, which led to his signing with Golden Boy, he would get very angry. The crumbling (and toothless) Boxing Writers Association of America should take the matter up, but you can guarantee that won't occur.

• 9. Saturday's undercard was so bad, it rivals the Nov. 8 one underneath the Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones Jr. fight in New York as the worst of the year. No matter how good a main event is, the public deserves more than that dreck. And the non-televised fights were about as one-sided.

• 10. One of the shocks of the post-fight Saturday was that no one from HBO felt it necessary to speak publicly. You can rest assured that if De La Hoya had won, one of the many vice presidents in attendance would have been at the microphone speaking.

And with that, it's time to address your questions and concerns in this week's reader mailbag. My answers are in italics.

Manny's future

There can be no more questions on who is the pound-for-pound king right now, but what are the possible fights in Pacquiao's future? They say Hatton may be next, or maybe be a third war with Juan Manuel Marquez, but what other options are there? Mayweather may come out of retirement, but by the way Floyd ducked decent competition before, I don't think he will risk his unbeaten record against Pacquiao.

Maide Evangelista

Pacquiao convinced me beyond any doubt that he is the No. 1 boxer in the world. Unless Mayweather comes out of retirement – which I'd expect, given the financial bonanza he'd reap from such a bout – Pacquiao plans to fight at 140. There are a ton of great fights for him there, including Hatton and Marquez. But he'll be able to pick and choose bouts from 135 through 147, opening a lot of possibilities for him. Another guy to watch as a future opponent is Edwin Valero, who is reported to be making great progress working with trainer Kenny Adams.

Eat your words

You're one of those who branded the De La Hoya-Pacquiao fight as a money-making farce. Care to comment on that now?

Joel Soliman

Clearly, my prediction was way off base, but I didn't believe Oscar would be so far gone. That's not to take anything away from Pacquiao, but the big issue in my eyes prior to the fight wasn't answered. I didn't know how well Pacquiao could handle a punch from a big man and hard puncher like De La Hoya, but De La Hoya never landed one. But Pacquiao's footwork and movement were much improved and contributed to the problems De La Hoya experienced.

Manny and money

If Pacquiao and Hatton fight next year, I think it will be a fight of the year candidate, with Pacquiao stopping Hatton late. The thing that bothers me most is, I think Pacquiao has a much better chance against Mayweather than most of us think. I just finished watching the Mayweather-Zab Judah (southpaw with speed and power like Pacman, but Judah doesn't have the heart) fight. I think Pacquiao stands a chance of beating and outboxing Floyd. I also watched Mayweather-Hatton and Pacquiao-Marquez II. I think a Mayweather-Pacquiao would bring out the best in each man and give us one hell of a fight for sure. What do you think?

Mel Donaldson
New York

I agree completely. I'm not ready to pick Pacquiao over Mayweather yet, but it would be a dogfight and I can't imagine having said that a year ago. Your analysis in all regards is spot on, Mel.

Horrible undercard

Golden Boy Promotions should offer whoever bought the fight on Saturday a refund. Not only did we see Oscar do his best impression of a punching bag, but the rest of the card was horrible. The Juan Manuel Lopez-Sergio Medina fight was even worse. Medina wanted no part of Lopez and should not have even shown up. Golden Boy Promotions will never get $54.95 out of me again.

Thomas Garcia
Culver City, Calif.


Another unhappy customer

I think Golden Boy Promotions has been doing this for too long. They are all about showing off their fighters rather than putting on a good show. The only thing worth $55 was the significance of what happened in the main event. Other than that, this was the most disappointing card I've ever paid for. Do you see Golden Boy continuing to put on these extreme mismatch cards? If they do, I will not be paying for them.

Jesse Guerrero

Unfortunately, Jesse, I think you'll continue to see these kinds of cards, where they save as much money as they can on the undercard. Given the enormous numbers they've done on pay-per-view in this fight, they have no reason to change. They'll only do so when the fans make their feelings known en masse. Fortunately, I think there will be far fewer pay-per-view shows in 2009.

Safety first

Prior to the Pacquiao-De La Hoya fight, I wrote you stating that the only reason why Oscar was taking this fight was because it was a big money bout and that I believed that in his opinion, he saw it as a fairly safe fight. He thought he was simply too big for Manny, as did most of the boxing public. I also stated that when it was all said and done that Manny Pacquiao would not only win, but win by way of sensational knock out. De La Hoya has made a career of taking fairly safe fights against either smaller or shot opponents because of the huge paydays. Genaro Hernandez, Fernando Vargas and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. come to mind. When he did step up his quality of opposition, as in Pernell Whitaker, Ike Quartey and Shane Mosley, he either lost or won by controversial decision. Manny has done the complete opposite and it has benefitted him greatly. He has fought the best possible opposition and, with the exception of the first Erik Morales fight, not stumbled. My opinion is Manny Pacquiao is one of the greatest fighters ever, pound-for-pound, but Oscar De La Hoya is not even close. What do you think?

Joseph Furr
Stanley, N.C.

I agree with a lot of your statement. I think when Pacquiao's done, he has a chance to be remembered as a Top 100 pound-for-pound fighter. As I said in last week's mailbag, I don't believe De La Hoya is there. De La Hoya did have clear victories over excellent fighters in their primes (Rafael Ruelas, Ike Quartey and Vargas), but your point about many of his opponents is well taken.

Manny as a welterweight

Manny looked very impressive at welterweight, carrying over his speed and power. This just makes me more impressed with him and Juan Manuel Marquez. I thought Marquez won the rematch with Pacquiao and I believe 80 percent of the people watching felt Marquez won, also. After Manny's performance, Marquez's stock must rise as well. And my other thought and question for you is how would Pacman fare against Miguel Cotto or Antonio Margarito? I would say that Pacman would lose easily because his performance looks better because Oscar was a shot fighter.

Chris C.
Waterville, Maine

I just don't see Pacquiao ever facing Margarito or Cotto, because of the size/strength factor. And I agree with your assessment that Oscar was shot. That's not to say that Manny wouldn't have won regardless, but Oscar made it easier for him. Of course, Marquez's stock rises in this scenario and that will only increase interest in a third fight between them.

What caused Oscar's slip?

I was lucky enough to watch the De La Hoya-Pacquiao fight Saturday and I felt that Oscar looked terrible. He spent a lot of time just standing there. I have never been his biggest fan, but I saw him fight Mayweather and I thought he looked pretty good in that one. What happened in the last 19 months? I didn't see the Forbes fight, but it really seems that Oscar has lost it. Was it Pacquiao's style that made him look so bad, or is it over for Oscar?


There is an old saying in boxing that sometimes a fighter gets old overnight. We saw that with De La Hoya, though there were plenty of signs of his decline in the Forbes fight, which I noted in my column after that bout. Saturday's result was a combination of Pacquiao being outstanding and De La Hoya having nothing left.