Sunday, December 07, 2008

Oscar De La Hoya vs Manny Pacquiao

By Randy De La O

The saying goes "Never fall in love with a fighter because he'll break your heart every time". That sums up my feelings about last night's fight. Perhaps it was inevitable and inescapable. Oscar played the odds last night and lost. He had in front of him a 5' 6 1/2" giant of a man named Manny Pacquiao that took Oscar to a place he had never before been, a place he could never have envisioned for himself. It was a place called surrender. It is an unholy place.

I was as confident of De La Hoya's victory going into this fight as I have ever been. Despite the fact that I thought this fight was a no win situation for Oscar, I figured he would win the fight. I was caught off guard. Of course I thought the possibility of a Pacquiao victory existed. I have seen enough fights to know that in boxing anything is possible but not this.

My first inkling that things did not seem right was when I saw Oscar in his dressing room. His face seemed hollow and his skin did not set well on his frame. Still, I was confident, concerned, but confident. I saw no fire in his face when he was making the walk into the ring. A funny feeling came over me.

One minute into the first round, at least for me, it was foregone conclusion. Suddenly Oscar De La Hoya was an old man. The fact that he was facing a human dynamo, this relentless nightmare that is Manny Pacquiao, this human predator that would not be denied, had much to do with it but so too did Father Time. Still Oscar was showing some heart. He was taking his lickings and once or twice during the fight he mounted an attack but it was short lived, sporadic and unsustainable. He had nothing to offer in the way of defense or offense. Not an iota.

Somewhere during the fight, maybe the third round, I forget which because they all looked alike, I saw Oscar losing heart. There came a point when Oscar was just trying to survive. Where once Oscar De La Hoya was the hunter, relentless in his pursuit of his opponent, now he was the hunted, mere prey for the relentless Pacquiao, who was like a young wolf challenging the old wolf for his rightful place as the new leader of the pack.

It was painful for me to watch. I knew Oscar was going to fold. I saw it in his body language, I saw it in his eyes. I said out loud "Oscar, don't quit. Don't quit". At another point I turned to Ed Hernandez and said "I think he might quit on his stool". A round or two later, either the referee or the fight doctor asked "Are you alright? Do you want me to stop the fight? Can you continue? (I'm paraphrasing) Oscar just stared. His heart and spirit were gone. That he had enough of Pacquiao was evident. Age, weight loss, Manny Pacquiao, take your pick, all of them conspired in the total destruction of a fighter named Oscar De La Hoya. Unable to voice the words Oscar just stared but his eyes betrayed him, just as his once strong body betrayed him. His eyes, his body language and his overall demeanor told trainer Nacho Beristain everything he needed to know. He signaled to referee Tony Weeks to stop the fight and just like that the career of Oscar De La Hoya was over. It doesn't matter if he fools himself and fights again, it is over for Oscar De La Hoya. If you don't believe me ask the "Fat Lady" she was there last night singing.

My son Andrew called from Seattle last night after the fight to find out what I thought. We had two widely different opinions about the fight. He was disgusted with De La Hoya, once one of his favorites. His first words to me were "Dad, don't defend him!" He believes, as I'm sure many others do, and maybe rightly so, that Oscar didn't care if he won or lost, he made his money and took the easy way out. What it ultimately boiled down to is that Andrew believes Oscar would not continue and I believe he could not.

Whatever it was, only Oscar knows. He will play the fight over and over again, hoping for a different ending but the ending will remain the same. Oscar could not or would not come out for the ninth round. Time will not change that.

Never fall in love with a fighter, he'll break your heart every time. Every single damned time.


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brian said...

I missed the fight and I'll probably pass again when it's replayed.This isn't 'I told you so';I believed Oscar's weight loss compounded by "age" would be huge factors going into the fight.Saturday morning at my synagogue, a guy said he saw the weigh- in and that Oscar looked awful.I really don't think this proves that "it's over".Before this, his worst performances were at 160-and,with some conditioning/strength training,I think he could do much better than the last time around.

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