De La Hoya vs Pacquiao The Talk of the Boxing World
Saturday's Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao has turned into one of the most hyped fights of 2008.
At a time when mixed martial arts continues to gain popularity, the fight between two of the world's most popular fighters has provided the sport a need publicity boost.
Organizers in Las Vegas have even referred to the fight as recession-proof as loyal fans make their way to Las Vegas. Former US Olympian De La Hoya will draw plenty of American fans to the MGM Grand Garden Arena while Pacquiao will draw a sizable contingent from his own country of the Philippines.
The HBO pay-per-view is scheduled to begin at 9 pm EST. The time of the Pacquiao vs De La Hoya is around 11:15 EST.
Pay-per-view sales for the fight are strong and will likely surpass the record 2.4 million PPV buys for 2007's Oscar De La Hoya fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“This is a fight that attracts everybody,” Arum said. “Hispanics and Filipinos. Boxing fans and the non-boxing fan. Women, people who normally don’t follow boxing. They’ve always been intrigued by Oscar, and now they’re also intrigued by this exciting character from the Philippines.”
Still, Arum demurred on offering a prediction on how many pay-per-view sales the fight will generate.
“You really can’t tell,” he said. “Anybody who makes predictions in this economy is the same type of person who would decide to build buildings hoping the bank would finance them.”
The result of the fight is equally difficult to predict, although most boxing insiders say that De La Hoya's size advantage over Pacquiao make him the odds-on favorite. The 5'6" Pacquiao had to pack on weight to fight De La Hoya, a transition that might negatively impact the Filipino's agressive style.
Pacquiao won his first title fighting at 112 pounds. Earlier this year, Pacquiao fought and won at 130 pounds and 135 pounds. Against De La Hoya, Pac-Man will weigh in at around 147 pounds. If Pacquiao defies the odds and wins on Saturday, he will have fought and won at three dfferent weight classes in one year, one of the most amazing transformations in boxing history.
"It's a big accomplishment if I win this fight," Pacquiao said. "It's going to be boxing history and a big honor to my country. To fight in three divisions in one year, that's amazing. To win the fight is really good for me and a really big honor to my country."
UPDATE: Pacquiao won the fight after De La Hoya refused to come out for the 9th round. Click here for NowPublic's recap of the fight.