De La Hoya, Pacquiao Set to Battle on December 6
The legal wrangling and cryptic statements to the press are now over. Last Thursday (August 28), Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquaio formally announced plans to meet on December 6 for a super fight to be contested at the welterweight limit.
The bout was supposedly dead not even two weeks ago, and is now projected to gross more than $100 million.
In a teleconference call with media, both fighters explained their reasons for finally accepting the contest.
I am older, Im bigger and hes younger and the pound-for-pound champion. But when people started saying Manny can beat you, Manny can knock you out and Freddie Roach started saying, Oscar cant pull the trigger anymore, it started to become a challenge to me, Oscar stated. And now, it is very personal, especially when Manny Pacquiao beats all the legendary Mexican fighters. To me, its a challenge, especially because people are talking about Manny Pacquiao can beat me. Well see Dec. 6.
For Pacquiao, the Filipino star sees the fight as one that will secure his legacy as an all time great fighter.
This is my greatest challenge. When I take that walk to the ring to fight Oscar, I will carry all the people of the Philippines, the entire country, on my shoulders, an impassioned Pacquaio revealed. I promise I will fight with all of my heart and that I will give everything I have. Like my trainer Freddie Roach says, I have what it takes to win the biggest fight of my life.
Pacquiao is coming off an impressive stoppage of David Diaz in June at 135 pounds, while De La Hoya won lopsided albeit lackluster decision over Steve Forbes at welterweight in May.
Pacquiao will jump two weight classes to the welterweight limit of 147 pounds and also concede four inches in height. Ever the strategist, the Golden Boy made sure to secure the bout with 8 ounce gloves which normally benefit punchers and larger fighters.
As expected hardcore fight fans have expressed their dissatisfaction with this fight taking place over more deserving challengers in each fighters weight class (Nate Campbell, Antonio Margarito etc). But we all know like every other mega fight well be glued to the TV come December 6, especially after the inevitable blitzkrieg of promotion through such vehicles as HBOs 24/7 series.
The one good thing I can see coming out of this is that if Manny can pull off the upset, its a sure bet that Floyd Mayweather would come out of the retirement to face him. Freddie Roach is on record as pushing that bout as well should Pacquiao take out the Golden Boy. Lets keep our fingers crossed.
Calderon Retains Light Flyweight Title
Pound-for-pound elite Ivan Calderon again turned back his toughest challenger Hugo Cazares in controversial fashion, securing a technical decision due to an accidental clash of heads in the seventh round.
Calderon bagged the early rounds with his usual superb defense and counter-punching. In many instances Cazares was visibly frustrated and resorted to rushing Calderon in hopes of landing a home run shot.
Cazares started to gain some traction in round six, landing some thudding shots to the head and body.
Unfortunately, an accidental head butt opened a nasty, blood spurting cut on Calderons forehead.
In accordance to the rules the bout went to scorecards, which all favored Calderon 67-66 and 68-68 twice.
Due to the controversial nature of this bout, it would not be surprising to see these two lock horns again.
With the win Calderon retains the WBO 108 pound title and ups his record to 32-0, 6 KOs. Hugo Cazares falls to 26-5-1, 19 KOs.
Margarito-Clottey II Targeted as November PPV
With De La Hoya officially off the market, disgruntled welterweight champ Antonio Margarito now has to focus back on defending his crown against the talented top 10 of his division.
However, Margarito couldnt resist some parting shots at the man hes been calling out since defeating Miguel Cotto last month.
How is it possible that Oscar is going to fight with a fighter who used to be a flyweight? Margarito fumed to boxingscene.com. This is all about money. There is no title at stake. He fights him, but he doesnt dare fight me. I dont want to see the fight. Honestly it doesnt interest me. Oscar deserves no respect.
Ironically, Margarito only called out De La Hoya for money, the same reason he is deriding Oscar for. But all is forgiven since the champ will likely be facing tough Ghanaian Johsua Clottey this November.
In their 2006 bout, Clottey dominated Margarito in the early rounds with exceptional lateral movement and stinging counterpunching.
But a hand injury at the end of the fourth round handicapped Clottey against a surging Margarito who overtook the second half of the bout and secured the decision. Since then, Clottey has been adamant that he wouldve cruised to victory without the injury.
Margarito has improved significantly since that fight, particularly the fact hes shortened his previously wide, looping punches. The bout with Cotto is a clear example of this, as Antonio secured the first knockdown with tight left and right uppercuts on the inside.
This fight will be competitive, but Clottey is too defensive minded and routinely lulls into periods of inactivity. Expect Margarito to take a clear decision which hopefully leads to showdown with Paul Williams early next year.
This past Saturday (August 30) saw two heavyweights make comebacks in hopes of making noise in their woeful division.
Former WBO champ Lamon Brewster scored a 5th round KO over journeyman Danny Batchelder, picking up the fringe NABA heavyweight title. The bout marks Brewsters first since being stopped by Wladimir Klitschko last July.
Towering 7-foot tall Nikolai Valuev again prevailed over former titlist John Ruiz, taking a lackluster decision to pick up the vacant WBA heavyweight title. The Russian giant used his awkward jab to keep Ruizs mauling tactics at bay, winning with scores of 114-113, 116-113, and 116-111.
HBO Hosts War on September 6
Mark your calendars for this weekend, the lightweights are going to war.
Juan Diaz and Michael Katsidis are set to do battle in a must-win bout for both men. Diaz is coming off a decisive decision loss to Nate Campbell in March, while Katsidis is trying to rebound from a heartbreaking KO loss to Joel Casamayor.
Both men come forward and through tons of shots. Expect fireworks from the opening bell in a bout which likely wont last the distance.
Since Diaz is the more skillful and less reckless fighter, he should have the edge but who knows the condition of both men after the beatings they took in their last bouts?
Above all, make sure you see this fight on Saturday night.
Barrera Signs with Don King
Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera has signed a five year deal with Don King just two months after severing ties with Golden Boy Promotions.
Barrera has already made his intentions known that hell be moving to the lightweight division. There he may serve as an opponent for stablemate Nate Campbell pending Campbells successful defense later this month against Joan Guzman.
At 34, Barrera has been engaged in classic wars for over a decade. Its difficult to fathom hell actually fight out the full five years on this contract.
Throwback Fighter of the Week: Donovan Razor Ruddock
Todays heavyweight division could sure use an exciting power puncher like Razor Ruddock.
Nicknaming his lethal left hook The Smash, Ruddock most notably used this punch to devastating effect against contender Michael Dokes in one of the most memorable KOs of the 90s.
Ruddock is most famous for his two entertaining grudge matches with then comebacking Mike Tyson. In the first bout Ruddock stunned Tyson with a hard uppercut in the sixth before being stopped in the next round. Ruddock faired worse in the rematch, getting dropped twice in route to losing a decision.
Despite the respect he gained from those fights, he continued to come up short against top tier opposition. In 1992, he was blasted out in two rounds against Lennox Lewis in a minor upset. In 1995, he was dominating Tommy Morrison before getting caught with a left hook and stopped.
He continued fighting through 2001, winning all his bouts but never again facing the elite. Razor Ruddocks final record stands at 37-5-1, 28 KOs.
Ruddock Vs. Dokes
Ruddock Vs. "Bone Crusher" Smith
Ruddock Vs. Mike Tyson