Photos – GEORGE GARCIA
GUNFIGHT AT THE NO CHANCE SALOON
The title of this article implies what I think of Manny Pacquiao’s chances in his upcoming December 6th fight with The Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya, and that is, he has absolutely ‘no chance’ to win.
This supposition is based on the same theory I had when I picked Antonio Margarito to not only beat Miguel Cotto, but to knock him out. The reason: Margarito was simply too big, too strong, and had the greater punching power. I broke down the fight, looking for someway for Cotto to win, hard as I tried, I came up with the same conclusion, there was no way Miguel could win.
I have done the same with Manny Pacquiao. Manny is a very fierce warrior, he has the heart of a lion, but these ingredients will not be enough to offset all of the advantages Oscar will bring to the fight. For starters, Manny will be giving away four inches in height, maybe five, he will be giving away six inches in reach, with Oscar’s educated left jab, how is Manny going to get inside the jab? Oscar knows that everything comes off the jab, mainly his money punch, the left hook, he was controlling the Mayweather fight as long as he was using the jab, I feel he decided to go for the knockout after the eighth round, electing to get away from the jab. Did he lose the fight because of it, I am not sure he lost the fight, it was close, but had he stuck to the jab, I have no doubt he would have won the fight.
Freddie Roach, Manny’s trainer, has said that Manny is going to take it to Oscar, big mistake, ask Ricardo Mayorga. Oscar is a great counterpuncher, therefore he likes an opponent to come to him, Manny has never been hit with the power Oscar possesses in a lethal left hook that will surely come off the left jab sometime during the fight, you can make book on that.
Case in point: Manny Pacquiao was knocked out twice in the 3rd round earlier in his career when he was fighting at the flyweight limit of 112 pounds. Rustico Torrecampo first turned the trick on 2-9-96, Manny was then KO’d by champion Medgoen Singsurat in his bid to win the WBC Flyweight title on 9-17-99.
I know that a lot of knowledgeable boxing people are not aware of Manny’s early KO’s, I learned early on that once the chin has suffered a knockout, in this case, two, the nerves in the chin may suffer from the effect of the blow, neck exercises help to a certain degree, but they cannot strengthen the nerves that may have been damaged due to the severity of the KO.
As in the case of Roy Jones, as an amateur, he suffered a KO defeat; he was gifted with such boxing brilliance that he was able to overcome his very early defeat. Roy Jones, in my opinion, is the greatest fighter to come down the pike since the incomparable Sugar Ray Robinson.
When I first saw Roy Jones fight, I could not believe what I was seeing, the amazing things he was able to do inside a ring. Since the age of nine, when my brother Phil first took me to the original Main St. Gym, I have seen them all come and go, Roy Jones was truly magnificent, he was one of a kind inside the squared circle, the Roy Jones you see today is a mere caricature of what he once was.
Losing the ability to avoid his opponent’s punches as he once amazingly did, Roy Jones was knocked out in back-to-back fights, after beating Antonio Tarver in a 12 round fight on 11-8-03, he was knocked out by the same Antonio Tarver in two rounds on 5-15-04. Four months later on 9-25-04, the chin again gave way in being KO’d by Glen Johnson. It is my sincere belief that the ‘primo’ Roy Jones that once was, would have handled both of these fighters with his spectacular way of winning.
The point I am making is that eventually, the chin that has once suffered a knockout, can very well one day fall prey to the landing of a heavy punch, this theory does not apply to all fighters, some are not affected at all. It would be for these reasons, that for the very first time, I sat back in watching a Roy Jones fight, in this case, his fight with a younger, talented Joe Calzaghe. I knew that the only slim chance Roy had to win was to catch Joe early, if not, I felt that he would be subjected to a beating over 12 rounds at the hands of a champion in the prime of his career. What I had thought came to pass. Joe Calzaghe, as great a fighter as he is, had better give thanks that he never had to fight the greatness that was…Roy Jones Jr.
The Roy Jones of today, losing the God given talent of outsmarting an opponent in a way few fighters can only envision, has signaled the end of a fabled, brilliant boxing career.
In my many years in boxing, I find it sad when a fighter does not know when its over.
The analogy I like to make: “You can’t tell a drunk he’s drunk, and you can’t tell a fighter it’s over.” The saddest thing I ever witnessed in boxing was when on 7-9-62, I sat in the audience at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles and watched the magnificent Sugar Ray Robinson, who was far beyond his prime; lose a 10 round decision to Phil Moyer. Moyer had Sugar Ray in trouble in the 3rd, 5th, 9th, and 10th rounds, without the weapons he once so admirably possessed, the fighter who the phrase “best pound for pound fighter” was coined for, and who is universally regarded as the best fighter ever, kept on fighting until 11-10-65, three years after losing to Moyer. Sugar Ray won his first amateur title in the year 1939. His amateur record was an amazing 85-0 w/60 KO’s, 40 in the 1st round. Boxing was so much a part of him that he was unable to see the handwriting on the wall. And so it is with so many fighters, including Roy Jones and Evander Holyfield.
Manny Pacquiao has risen to remarkable heights, even to the point that he will enter the Oscar fight as the best pound for pound fighter in boxing. That particular title will not help him when he steps through the ring ropes on Dec. 6. One has only to look back on Manny’s record to realize that on 6-28-08, after stepping up from 130 pounds to win the WBC Lightweight title from David Diaz on a 9th round TKO, he is now being asked, after only one fight at 135 pounds, to go up to two more divisions to engage Oscar at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds. Oscar on the other hand, will be coming down from the jr. middleweight division of 154 pounds. Manny will attempt to put on 12 pounds in order to make the required weight, already muscle and bone at 135 pounds, it will not be a natural 12 pounds he will put on. At the weigh-in, Oscar will make 147 easily; he will then by fight time, have put on 7 pounds or more, returning to the comfortable jr. middleweight limit of 154 pounds, whereas, with Manny having to struggle to make 147 pounds, you will have a jr. middleweight versus a blown up jr. welterweight.
I was raised on the old adage, “A good big man will always beat a good little man.”
It is a well known boxing fact that the higher a fighter goes up in weight, in this case, two divisions, the less power he carries with him.
Freddie Roach has gone on record as saying that Manny will knockout Oscar, I have no clue where Freddie is coming from, Manny could not stop Juan Manuel Marquez in 24 rounds, both Marco Antonio Barrera and Erick Morales have gone 12 rounds with Manny, I know that Manny stopped both of them in other fights, but the fact remains that the three of them went the 12 round limit with Manny at 130 pounds.
Now putting it in perspective, can you in your wildest dreams, picture Oscar De La Hoya fighting Marquez, Barrera, or Morales? Keep in mind, aside from his stoppage by Bernard Hopkins, that Oscar has never taken a beating in the ring; he has never even been staggered, so how in the world is a blown up jr. welterweight going to knock out Oscar De La Hoya? Lest we forget, Oscar was in the fight with Bernard Hopkins until a vicious body shot put him down late in the 9th round, and that was at the ‘160’ pound middleweight limit.
Oscar has been in with the much bigger, better, and heavier punchers than Manny Pacquiao, again putting it in perspective, can you imagine Manny Pacquiao fighting Antonio Margarito, Sugar Shane Mosley, Vernon Forrest, or Miguel Cotto? Of course not, I hate to think what any of them would do to a much smaller blown up jr. welterweight. But then, Manny is fighting in their weight class.
Have fight people forgotten that Oscar has won championships in six different weight classes, or the great fighters Oscar has fought? I have not. They are not, in any way, to be confused with a smaller Manny Pacquiao.
To further illustrate my point, on 3-24-01, Oscar fought the warrior with boxing’s biggest heart, Arturo “Thunder” Gatti. Arturo had to come up from the jr. welterweight limit of 140 pounds, he was coming up 7 pounds opposed to the twelve pounds Manny Pacquiao is required to make against Oscar, Arturo put up a gallant fight against the much bigger, stronger, heavier-handed, Oscar De La Hoya, but as hard as his warrior heart would permit, it was obvious early on that Oscar was much too big for him in every way. Arturo, one of the most exciting fighters the sport of boxing has ever known, gave everything he had and more, but to no avail, he was brutally destroyed in five rounds by Oscar. The Arturo Gatti Oscar fought seven years ago; I would pick in a heartbeat over the Manny Pacquiao of today.
If by some mysterious stretch of the imagination, Oscar were to lose, it would be the biggest upset in all my years in boxing, dating back all the way to when I was nine years of age. It is not going to happen, just as in the Gatti fight; Oscar will emerge victorious by way of knockout. One has only to remember that if Manny can get knocked out twice as a flyweight, what is going to happen when he gets hit with a huge left hook from a much bigger jr. middleweight…case closed.
I have been blessed in my years of boxing, having been a fighter, trainer and a manager, plus having the proud distinction of co-owning the gym of my youth, the legendary, world famous Main St. Gym, and later, being on the radio for twelve years with my own radio boxing show, “Ringside LA with Johnny Ortiz.” It was the first call-in radio boxing show ever heard in the Los Angeles.
In closing, please let me make one thing clear, I am in no way trying to diminish the greatness Manny Pacquiao has shown in becoming boxing’s pound for pound champion, at the same height, the same natural weight, and the same strength, this would be a ‘pick em’ fight, but realistically, that my friends, is not the case.
I have been in Oscar’s corner since he turned pro in 1992; the same year I began my radio-boxing career. I remember quite clearly when a lot of boxing’s so-called experts were quick to say that Oscar De La Hoya would be nothing more than a “Flash in the Pan,” I in turn, was quick to say that Oscar De La Hoya would achieve greatness in boxing. Like him or not, his career completely validates my prediction,
Oscar is the biggest thing in boxing, and has been for quite a good number of years, pretty good for a “Flash in the Pan” I’d say. Oscar has been very good for boxing, he has fought all comers, now as he rounds the bend, his best years behind him, he has built an empire in a business career that knows no bounds.
Being the astute businessman that he is, he can pick and choose, the Pacquiao fight will be a huge moneymaker, all who have fought Oscar were rewarded with the biggest payday of their careers.
Oscar De La Hoya has given his all in a boxing career that will be hard to equal, he deserves everything he has accomplished and has earned the right to go out on top, there is nothing more to prove.
On 2-4-09, Oscar will turn a relatively young 36, he has always been a well-conditioned fighter, he doesn’t drink, never did drugs, knowing how essential it is for a fighter to be the best he can be physically. Enjoy him while we can as he gets nearer to the end of a career that fighters can only dream of.
Boxing will miss The Golden Boy; we will not see his like again. As I have said numerous times, I came to the dance with Oscar; I will be leaving with him. This may well be my last boxing article; it seems only appropriate that I end it about my friend, “The Golden Boy”…Oscar De La Hoya.