Do you remember where you were that glorious day in December, 2008 when Manny Pacquiao surprised doubters and forced Oscar dela Hoya to retire in eight rounds?
Man, that was unforgettable.
I thought Manny was crazy for taking on the Golden Boy. I thought Freddie Roach was crazier when he said Manny could knock him out. One congressman even tried to have the fight stopped, saying it was such a mismatch.
It turned out critics were sort of right. It was a mismatch all right, but the other way around.
Later, we’d learn that Oscar seemed to have taken the fight lightly and things off the ring weren’t kosher for him, either. Remember the pictures of him wearing stockings that spread? He first said they were photoshopped, only to admit a couple of years later that they were real.
That was the Golden Boy’s last fight and I thought, like all retired boxers, he had gotten over the fact that he got pummeled into retirement. But I guess this new normal in sport has a lot of retired guys dusting off their gloves, thinking of giving it one more go.
Fifty-somethings Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. started it a year ago, and Oscar wants to have a go.
He announced his comeback a few months ago, and to be honest, I thought that was just wishful thinking. However, a few days ago, he announced that he would be fighting again in July, giving him more than three months to get back in fighting shape.
And he had to take a dig at Pacquiao too, saying Manny couldn’t take him down despite being drained and all. I guess he’s entitled to that point of view, but we all know how Pacquiao beat him from pillar to post and at point, seemed to have held some punches. He wasn’t knocked down, for sure, but boxing isn’t all about knockdowns or knockouts.
Oh, by the way, Oscar’s comeback will be different from that of Tyson, who fought a fellow retired fighter in Roy Jones. Oscar said he will be fighting a UFC fighter, shades of Floyd Mayweather’s lucrative fight with Conor McGregor.
A lot of boxing purists will scoff at this latest money grab, of course, and they should. Instead of making fights that will boost the sport, we are having another “how will a boxer fare against an MMA artist fight.”
As for me, I hope this time around, Oscar dela Hoya will be in the fight more than he was the last time he fought in the ring.