Monday, December 8, 2008

THE DREAMS COME TRUE, THE LEGENDS END

Rocky Marciano had looked up to Joe Louis. At a youthful age he would pin his ears back to the Brown Bomber's fights in the radio, daydreaming about someday boxing against him for the world championship. When that moment finally came on October 26, 1951, Louis was an out shaped boxer with worn-out legs. He was past his zenith. Marciano knocked Louis out in the 8th round of their celebrated fight. When asked what was his most threatening fight, astonishingly, he always said it was his confrontation with Joe Louis. The aging 'Brown Bomber' was his childhood hero. Marciano had to overpower a 'mountain' of unwillingness before he finally knocked Louis out of the ring. Marciano wept when he knocked out the person he idolized. Marciano was the only heavyweight boxing champion to retire undefeated.
Oscar Dela Hoya has won his first title before Manny Pacquiao ever set his feet in the ring. Pacquiao, who began his professional boxing profession at the young age of 16 fighting at 106 pounds, moved up two weight divisions from where he last fought, at lightweight just to make the "Dream Match" a reality. Unlike his previous fights where he was the top choice to win, it was the other way around. Boxing analysts for the most part of the promotion of this momentous fight favored the Golden Boy and branded it as a "mismatch duel". Jose Sulaiman, the WBC President said it would be a fight between a pachyderm and a hobbit horse. There was a total uncertainty and skepticism on Manny's capacity to subjugate the Olympic gold medalist and the ten times world champion in six different weight classes. When both fighters entered the ring last Sunday at MGM Hotel, Pacquiao seemed too self-assured and unperturbed in affixing his name in boxing history while Dela Hoya was sweating and tense because of the enormous pressure of being anticipated to win a fight against the much smaller man. As the bell rang to start the fight, the place was in pandemonium.15, 000 spectators roaring mostly in favor of the Golden Boy. Round after round Manny whip and fumed De la Hoya from pillar to post side stepping the Golden Boy's dreadful jabs and hooks frustrating the Golden Boy's game plan with his speed and footwork. Nobody believes that Manny would do the things he did in the ring in this fight. At the end of the eight round, Dela Hoya looked like a badly beaten man. What was publicized as "The Dream Match" quickly turned into "Oscar's Nightmare" as Manny Pacquiao gave the Golden Boy the beating and pounding of his lifetime after seven rounds. Just as the ninth stanza begins, Dela Hoya's trainer, Nacho Beristain flapped the white flag. Oscar then stood slowly from his pew, limped towards Pacquiao corner, gazed at his one time trainer Freddie Roach who masterminded the "can't pull the trigger affair", and quipped a straightforward declaration: "You're right. I do not have it any more."
When Rocky Marciano knocked Louis out in the eight rounds, everyone in the multitude seemed to turn against him. Louis' angry supporters were actually in tears; others were cursing at him. When Manny beat Dela Hoya into retirement in the opening of the ninth round boisterous euphoria rang in all corners the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Even Dela Hoya's admirers and Mexican crowd exalted the pound for pound king in jubilation.
During the post fight press conference Oscar was not around. The beating was so severe that he was taken to the hospital for "preventive measures". Many believe that Pacquiao switch off the shining stars that light Oscar's glorious boxing career. As what many and Dela Hoya himself thought would be a graceful exit to the sports he loves most, it turned out to be a bitter swan song for the legend Manny idolizes. Manny fulfilled his long time dream.When told that Dela Hoya was in the hospital, Pacquiao actually rub out a tear from his eye. And he said: "Oscar was my idol . . . he is still my idol".

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."

1 comment:

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