Manny works out at the Wild Card gym.
The Golden Boy is predicting that he can knock out Manny Pacquiao in five rounds or less in their blockbuster fight on December 6 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Reacting to Pacquiao trainer Freddy Roach’s comments that Manny will put De La Hoya away by knockout in nine rounds, Oscar said:
We’ll catch him in five so we don’t go that far. I think whoever catches who first is going down.
De La Hoya was interviewed in his isolated training camp in in Big Bear, California where the high altitude is helping him build up his wind, critical in a drawn-out fight with a younger, aggressive fighter. In contrast, Pacquiao is at Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Gym, right in the heart of Hollywood. Not good, as Pacquiao is notoriously prone to distractions. With barely three weeks to go before fight day, he has to sustain his focus.
And while I’m rooting for Pacquiao, De La Hoya has a clear advantage over the smaller man, despite the age differential.
The added poundage from moving up two weight classes to make welterweight might slow Pacman down. Oscar might weaken from his reducing regimen by weigh-in, although he’ll bounce back by fight day, after being rehydrated. Bottom line, the weight difference of 15-20 pounds will remain in De La Hoya’s favor.
Pacman will likely employ hit-and-run tactics, avoiding squaring off against the bigger man. He’ll possibly go for body blows and combination shots to the head, once Oscar opens up. After delivering his punches, he’ll need to explode out of the clinch. This will be his most “defensive” fight, as he must be masterful in catching, blocking or parrying the expected flurry of sharp jabs from his heavier, longer-reached opponent.
De La Hoya will want to bring the fight to Manny and force him to trade punches. A close-in brawl will be to his advantage and he won’t allow Pacquiao to dance out of danger. And as he said, he wants to put Manny away early, as a marathon fight would be to the younger man’s advantage. Hence, his prediction that the fight won’t go beyond five rounds.
In the end, it will come down to heart, which both have plenty of. Manny will be fighting the biggest bout of his life, a “career-changing event”, as they say. Oscar will die fighting to protect the Golden Boy legend. According to De La Hoya, it will be an explosive fight, as both fighters don’t intend the brawl to go the full 12 rounds.
Meanwhile, the public response to what has been touted as the richest fight in boxing history has been less than overwhelming, in view of the sad state of the U.S. economy, prompting promoter Bob Arum to admit:
I’m sitting here biting my nails on a fight I thought was a slam dunk. I won’t get crushed but all I want to do is pull this fight off.
The U.S. financial crisis appears about to claim another victim.