That’s according to Marco Antonio Barrera, twice vanquished foe of Manny Pacquiao. He considers the fight a disgrace and as a mere gimmick to line the pockets of both fighters to the tune of at least P100 million (to be divided 60/40 in De La Hoya’s favor). It’s one of the richest boxing purses in history.
Sour grapes ? Perhaps. Barrera recently bolted De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions due to money differences. But the cynics among us, and there are plenty, agree with him. Oscar is just too big, as I pointed out a few months ago. WBC president Jose Sulaiman pooh-poohed the whole affair:
What are they going to do? Stuff Manny with tamales and beans, and reduce Oscar in the steam bath to bring them together? It’s ridiculous. It’s absurd. It’s a fraud to the public. The only reason why the fight was made was money.
Sulaiman seems to have forgotten that Pacquiao isn’t Mexican and tamales and beans will likely just give him gas. But you get the picture.
Not surprisingly, Manny is coming in as the clear underdog, as the size differential is dramatic. Aside from heft (up to 20 lbs. more on fight night), ODLH has significantly longer reach. Manny may have an edge, age-wise, but that advantage is easily offset by Oscar’s wiliness and years of experience. It seems obvious that Pacman will be pummeled if he goes toe-to-toe against the Golden Boy. Which is what Oscar wants to happen.
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. He’d also want to put Manny away early, as a marathon fight would favor the younger man. In fact, he predicts that he can put Manny away in five. Pacman will rely on his speed and agility in dealing body blows to De La Hoya, before giving him a punch or two to the head and exploding out of the clinch. He’s got to stay away from Oscar’s deadly jabs. And his wicked left hook.
But like I said before, 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.
My fearless forecast: Manny by knockout in the later rounds (between rounds 9 to 12). Nothing scientific about it. Just rooting for the Pinoy underdog.
One noticeable thing though is that Manny appears more relaxed and confident. He’s smiling like the cat which swallowed the canary. Oscar seems tense and tight. This could bear on their psychological condition on the big night, with the more loose, adaptable and spontaneous fighter at an advantage.