De La Hoya likely doneFor Manny Pacquiao there was a call from his president and the overwhelming gratitude of a country that finally has something to celebrate. For Oscar De La Hoya there was a trip to the hospital and the grim reality that all fighters must eventually face.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — For Manny Pacquiao there was a call from his president and the overwhelming gratitude of a country that finally has something to celebrate.
For Oscar De La Hoya there was a trip to the hospital and the grim reality that all fighters must eventually face.
One fighter is on the verge of becoming boxing’s next superstar. The other will have to be content with the fact that his bank account is fat even if his reputation is permanently soiled.
Pacquiao likely will go on to even greater things, with big fights and even bigger money still to come. Assuming he has any brain cells left after the beating he took Saturday night, De La Hoya will go on to a life as a businessman and forget any thoughts of returning to the ring.
“His close friends and family should tell him it’s over,” trainer Freddie Roach said. “I don’t want him to end up with some disease like Parkinson’s. He’s very clear minded right now, but that could change.”
Fighters seldom listen to such talk. They always think they have one fight left in them, and they almost always fight one fight too many.
Unfortunately, those final fights can be costly to their health, as Roach knows only too well.
Roach trained De La Hoya for his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., where he saw for the first time that De La Hoya couldn’t throw punches when he spotted an opening. In the opposite corner this time, he watched his fighter give De La Hoya such a beating that he quit after eight rounds of getting punched in the face.
More significantly, Roach has Parkinson’s himself.
No one knows for sure, but it’s likely he got it from being punched in the head way too many times. He, too, was told to quit, but fought five more times after that and took a beating in four of them.
“I hope Oscar has enough sense to call it a day,” he said. “I know he doesn’t want to go out like this but if he doesn’t go out, he might go out really, really hurt.”
De La Hoya was noncommittal in the ring right after the fight, saying he wanted to continue fighting but is worried that the reflexes may not be there anymore. They certainly weren’t against Pacquiao, who was able to score at will mainly because De La Hoya couldn’t pull the trigger on his punches as he came inside.
Pacquiao was so dominant he won every round on two ringside scorecards and all but the first round on the third. The seventh round was such a massacre that Pacquiao was credited with landing 45 punches to De La Hoya’s head while getting back only four in return.
De La Hoya tried desperately to land a big punch in the final round, but his body wouldn’t do what his mind was urging. His promoter and business partner Richard Schaefer began yelling to the corner to stop the fight, while his wife ran over to urge them to do the same.
In the end it was De La Hoya who simply declined to come out for the ninth round. If his career is indeed over, it ended ignominiously with him on a ring stool, unwilling to take a beating any longer.
“My heart still wants to fight, that’s for sure,” De La Hoya said. “But when your physical doesn’t respond, what can you do? I have to be smart and make sure I think about my future plans.”
Those plans should include helping run his thriving promotion company and various businesses and stop trying to con people that he is anywhere near the fighter he once was. That worked for years, but the real truth is that De La Hoya hasn’t been that fighter for years, as evidenced by the fact he has won only three of his last seven fights and was stopped in two of them.
He’s been the most popular and marketable fighter around, able to get people to part with their hard-earned money for $1,500 ringside seats and $54.95 pay-per-views. But his toughest act should he continue to fight would be selling himself again after being thoroughly dominated by a smaller fighter who was fighting at 129 pounds just nine months ago.
Indeed, the new pay-per-view star could be Pacquiao, who took advantage of his opportunity to win over a lot of new fans with his impressive win. Pacquiao is likely to face England’s Ricky Hatton next at 140 pounds, and there are a number of other attractive fights out there for him.
His mere appearance in the ring Saturday night brought the Philippines to a standstill. There was less traffic on the street, and the entire nation held its breath as they watched him conquer his biggest opponent ever.
The nature of boxing is that one man wins and another man loses, and this night was no exception.
It’s not often, though, that one wins so big and another loses so much.