Friday, October 20, 2017
Fools Gold: The Emperor is Naked
Published December 11, 2008

LAS VEGAS-Man was I ever wrong and I've heard it loud and clear from Dave Smith of AM 830 whom I lost a Ruth Chris House steak dinner to, from James Wimberley who brutally let me have it after the fight, from Dane Suttle's text message, Evan and Jason who acted as if my choice of Oscar De La Hoya over Manny Pacquiao would prevent Barrack Obama from actually becoming President and I'm sure others who have no way of reaching me.

I check out the odds at the Race & Sports Book at the MGM Grand and thought long and hard about which round Oscar would knocked out Pacquiao and because 9.5 was just too short of a price and the overall 2-1 on De La Hoya winning was if nothing else weird I just didn't place a bet.

Often I ask myself a question before a big fight. What chance does this have of becoming a real lopsided stinker? Each time I came up with a De La Hoya blow out although all of the signs that would indicate otherwise were there.

Such as de La Hoya going down to the welterweight limit of 147 for the first time in seven years. De La Hoya having lost four of his last seven fights. De la Hoya being 35 years old and fighting against a 29-year-old action fighter.

But just like HBO and AEG who has this sweetheart love affair with The Golden Boy, I fell for his charm and wit. I figured that with all that money and smarts that he would not pick out a fight with anybody who had a chance of beating him.

However, I didn't anticipate that he would vastly over-train and come in at 145 when the limit was 147 and then on fight night only gain two pound and weigh in at 147 while Pacquiao gained five and a half pounds and was heavier at 148.

So, all of the indicators were there, just like betting a 4-5 favorite at the race track and the horse just looks so good you bet him without equating that he has ran poorly in each of his last seven starts.

De La Hoya has always looked good and even better before the fight, but was he really ever a great fighter?

Pacquiao swiftly moved up from lightweight 135 pounds where he knocked out David Diaz in nine rounds to de La Hoya where the Golden Boy couldn't make it past eight rounds.

And he did it emphatically, from the opening bell peppering Oscar red with right jabs, and then doubling up with right and lefts and then down stairs to the wrinkled rib section.

De La Hoya entered the MGM Grand Garden Arena to a chorus of cheers from the bi-partisan crowd of 15,000, but he left to a pelting of boos and insults from many who felt cheated by his performance or lack of there of.

Here was a fighter who has as many trainers in the past four years as the Raiders have had head coaches.

Here was a man who wasn't just a fighter but a marketing icon, a gatekeeper who ever corporate sponsor wanted to do business with.

For the past decade everything that he touched turned gold. From the statue next to Magic Johnson that was unveiled the week before the fight to his multiple relationships with network giant HBO and his partnership deal with AEG.

Then he plucked the wrong piece of fruit from the boxing tree. A Philippine warrior who had a whole country behind him, so much that warring fractions stop fighting with each other to watch Pacquiao fight De La Hoya.

Then they cheered as he beat him into retirement. Watching De La Hoya relenting into the corner in rounds seven and eight, taking one punch after another without responding. His left eye swollen shut and his body language saying that I have quit. Something that would embarrass any proud Mexican fighter. They would much rather die in the ring that go out like that.

But go out like that he must. There are no more events to be staged that he could even give a ticket to now. His fans feel cheated. Purchased gold, but got worthless metal in return. The emperor is naked all before the world to see. He is finished. Done. Dondotta!

His final chapter is a one sided affair in which the little guy was supposed to have no chance by instead dominated.

Oscar goes got as a forgettable tale of an overpriced gate attraction that did not live up to the billing, and his fans have adopted his enemy as if he is there own.

Categories: News (Sports)

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