Monday, December 8, 2008

Heavyweight

The Dream Match was how the De La Hoya – Pacquiao welterweight boxing match was regarded. Dream Mismatch would have been more apt. That said, it’s more of waking-up-to-reality for De La Hoya and his fans and supporters as well going into the fight as the favorite. With the deemed 'mismatch' going the other way around, it would have been regarded as an upset. In such a shake-up, the loser would have been upset… But no, seemingly preserving his 'golden' name, Dela Hoya conceded defeat early on. Yet, was it really like that to begin with?
Pacquiao’s admittance of his admiration for the more celebrated De La Hoya could probably be more of the reason why it was a dream match for the Pacman in the first place. How about for De La Hoya? Was it because despite of his expected loss, being the bigger star assured him of a heftier purse?
Like the “Mexicutioner” (a title even the Pacman doesn’t like), I’ve always been a fan of the Golden Boy. I cannot see myself cheering for him though in a moment he’s up against the Philippine’s Champ. Nevertheless, after his loss, he has proven why he’s still worthy of admiration.
Foremost, even before the 12-rounder bout was over, he gentlemanly acknowledged his opponent’s capacity as the better fighter. He then continued in his post-fight interview that Manny Pacquiao is indeed the best. Moreover, he humbly confirmed his weakness as assessed by his one-time trainer and Pacquiao’s long-time and current coach Freddie Roach. Furthermore, in a brief exchange of pleasantries just after the match and while still in the ring, after The Pacman expressed his admiration for De La Hoya as his idol still no matter what, the 10-time world champ openly insinuated that it’s the other way around now…
Now, that’s truly respectable of someone who was decisively pounded like never before given his stature as well as his record as a boxer.
What about as a businessman?
As a promoter, he has likewise done something noteworthy for (his) business. He might have lost the fight but he has promoted it the way it was supposed to with its expected results cashing in for all it’s worth. Why even stage a fight with, comparatively, a very formidable opponent if you know your chances of winning will most likely go the other way? A good businessman and an intelligent aging boxer that he is, he knew that for a fact.
Right from the start, De La Hoya’s intention of getting Pacquiao to be his supposedly top draw for his Golden Boy Promotions (that rather ended up in a legal battle sending the southpaw to Bob Arum’s Top Rank instead) indicated his recognition of the Pacman’s dominance with a corresponding drawing power. Thus, an opportunity to pit two boxers with assured large following was conceived. They marketed it as a good match against a champion for the possibly last fight for the former champion himself.
To corroborate their seemingly simulated seriousness, top trainers were hired. Psyching up was articulated to inject some dramatic twist into it for an inviting awareness. The ‘David and Goliath’ touch instilled interest among boxing enthusiasts, deeming it as a hypothetical mismatch however belittling whom…
By riding-on with the assumed one-sided inclination as a challenge, De La Hoya’s camp further hyped up the rivalry with such reputed confidence to stir up the excitement…
Came fight day, the expected yet more lucrative realization set in –Pacquiao, the supposed underdog, pummeled a bigger opponent, one with the sport’s more lustrous identity – its golden name may have, for a moment there, lost its luster yet maintained his status as indeed a heavyweight in an arena where his most recent ‘demolisher’ has weighed in to prove he’s as heavy or possibly heavier… If Manny Pacquiao lost, that would have been an upset... “Show me the MANNY!”
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