De La Hoya-Pacquiao Fight Preview: Round One of Three

December 3, 2008

With the Oscar De La Hoya-Manny Pacquiao megafight only days away, our three-man boxing brain trust met up in order to breakdown the fight for our readers. Here’s the first round of analysis, as provided by Mike Elliott:


The one guy that has given Pacquiao trouble over the years is Juan Manuel Marquez. The secret to Marquez’s success was accurate counterpunching. Oscar’s hand speed and power might be better than Marquez, but not his accuracy. So given his superior gifts, does he then try to win by adopting the same counterpunching strategy as Marquez? Absolutely not. To win, Oscar must dictate the action.

Oscar doesn’t have to chase Manny because Manny will come forward. Still, Oscar should be the aggressor. Manny is at his best when he comes hopping forward at his opponent in that unique rhythm of his. However, the PacMan is not the same fighter when he’s moving backward. If Oscar comes forward and dictates the fight, Manny will be taken out of his game.

As the bigger man with the longer reach, Oscar must take advantage of his natural attributes. His jab is still one of the best in boxing, a truly fast and stinging punch. He must throw it constantly as in his recent fight with Stevie Forbes, doubling and tripling up on it. A stiff, world-class jab in Manny’s face will curtail his aggression and set up Oscar’s power punches. It will be the key to Oscar’s fight.

Another key will be Oscar’s neglected right hand. Everyone, Manny included, will be watching for Oscar’s famed left hook and “45” punch. Pacquiao will be constantly moving to Oscar’s right side in order to avoid that legendary left. Oscar must trust his right hand and let it go. It could win him the fight.

Historically, Oscar has had stamina problems in the latter rounds. In the Forbes fight he dealt with this issue by pacing himself and taking an occasional breather in the action. That would be a mistake against Manny because the PacMan’s punch output and energy could steal some rounds while Oscar takes his rest on the job. Instead, Oscar’s best strategy is to hope to slow Pacquiao down to his level with a focused body attack through 12 rounds.

Finally, Oscar must get off first on the exchanges. What turned the tide in the Mayweather fight was Floyd’s ability to get off first with right hand leads in the latter rounds. Oscar must win the exchanges by beating Manny to the punch and throwing combinations.


Historically, Oscar has had trouble with fast guys, rather than power guys. His success against power guys is well documented -- domination over Tito Trinidad for 8 of their their 12 rounds, knock-outs of Fernando Vargas and Ricardo Mayorga, and a gutty showdown with Ike “Bazooka” Quartey.

On the other hand, his difficulty with quick guys is pronounced, as he has struggled at times with Floyd Mayweather Jr., “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, and recently, Stevie “Two Pound” Forbes.

Manny should forget any attempt to emulate the Mayweather or Whitaker performances. Both of those guys gave Oscar trouble with their defense, and Pacquiao is not in their class defensively.

But Manny could draw inspiration from Oscar-Mosley 1. In that fight, Mosley outworked Oscar offensively down the stretch.

He also could take notes from the Stevie Forbes fight. In that fight, Oscar won most of the rounds, but often got caught cleanly as he was walking down the smaller fighter. Unfortunately, for Forbes, the shots were too infrequent, and Oscar walked through them.

Manny has more power than Forbes, and is faster. Oscar still should walk through his shots, but they will have more of an impact upon him.

But does merely being a little quicker and stronger than Forbes actually win Manny some rounds? No.

What will win Manny rounds, despite Oscar walking through the shots, will be punch volume. And the younger, ultra-energetic Pacquiao is capable of bringing such volume. A classic boxing performance -- hitting Oscar and then jumping out of harm’s way -- can win him rounds, and ultimately, the fight. He need not hurt De La Hoya to win. Outworking him will be enough.

Also crucial for Manny is closing the distance disadvantage that he has against Oscar’s reach. To do so, Manny must either commit to a long night of tough infighting, or opt for the more classic stick-and-move boxing approach mentioned above.

Defensively, Manny must be moving constantly to his left in order to avoid Oscar’s left hook. More important, he must force Oscar to win the fight with his right hand. One way the southpaw Pacquiao could do this is by throwing more left hand leads, rather than his signature 1-2, right jab, straight left combination. That way his right hand would be in position to block any left hooks.


Oscar by decision. Oscar walks through the shots, and forces the PacMan on his heels. The energetic PacMan rallies late, but it’s not enough. Overlooked is Oscar’s edge in trainers, as the Nacho Beristain-Angelo Dundee tandem is superior to Freddy “The Joke Coach” Roach. Turns out Oscar’s so-so performance against Forbes was due to Forbes being tough, rather than Oscar aging overnight, as youngster Andre Berto also struggled against Two Pound. Oscar proves he has a little left in the tank.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for TheDailySportsHerald

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