Saturday, June 10, 2023  |


Fan Polls: Event of the Year

Fighters Network


Manny Pacquiao-Oscar De La Hoya: 66 percent
Antonio Margarito-Miguel Cotto: 31.5 percent
Floyd Mayweather Jr. retires: 2 percent
Shane Mosley admits using steroids: .5 percent

Today’s poll: Prospect of the Year
To vote, go to Yahoo! Sports’ boxing page

Note: These are not the official RING awards. Those will be announced on Jan. 27 in the magazine.

The Oscar De La Hoya-Manny Pacquiao fight on Dec. 6 in Las Vegas was derided as a mismatch between a full-fledged junior middleweight and a little guy who had never fought above 135 pounds. Some suggested it should never have been made.

However, from the beginning, it seemed the fans were intrigued in part because of a variety of plotlines.

Was Pacquiao, the No. 1 fighter pound-for-pound in the world, simply too small for De La Hoya? What would happen the first time the bigger man landed a significant punch? Could Pacquiao hurt De La Hoya, who is known to have a great chin? Would Pacquiao lose quickness at 147 pounds?

Was De La Hoya, at 35, on the decline? Was his listless performance against Steve Forbes in his previous fight an aberration or a bad omen? Was he quick enough at this point to cope with Pacquiao’s hand and foot speed? Was the sport’s biggest star ripe for an upset?

These questions, good-spirited trash talk between De La Hoya and Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, and the infectious passion of the fighters’ ethnic communities – Mexican-Americans for De La Hoya, Filipinos for Pacquiao – created a palpable buzz.

Thousands showed up at stops along a nationwide publicity tour to cheer for their favorite sons. The open-to-the-public weigh-in in an MGM Grand theater the day before the fight was packed with wild fans.

And, in the ultimate test, HBO reported that a healthy 1.25 million people bought the fight on pay per view – the biggest buy rate of the year and only the fourth non-heavyweight fight to exceed 1 million – in spite of a struggling economy.

Obviously, a lot of people were sold on the fight.

“Boxing fans across America showed tremendous support for this event and we're pleased that they tuned in,” said Mark Taffet of HBO pay-per-view.

Fittingly, the fight also turned out to be historic – but for reasons only a few predicated beforehand.
Pacquiao pummeled his favored opponent for eight full rounds, after which an all-but-helpless De La Hoya surrendered to the reality that he was taking a terrible beating and had no chance to win.

It was a career-defining performance by Pacquiao and perhaps the end of the line for De La Hoya, a true passing-of-the-torch from a fading star to another who burns bright at the moment.

Pacquiao provided one last poignant moment at the post-fight news conference, which De La Hoya missed because he went to the hospital. Pacquiao said that De La Hoya was his idol going into the fight “and he’s still my idol.”

A perfect ending to an unforgettable event.