Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The End Of An Era

For those who don't follow the sport, boxing's biggest cash cow, Oscar De La Hoya, was soundly thrashed last weekend by Manny Pacquiao. While the possibility that the much smaller Pac-Man could defeat the Golden Boy always existed, it was discounted by most boxing experts. (This poll for example, had 17 boxing writers siding with Goldie, and 4 for Pacquiao. I'd like to claim that I did better, but unfortunately it isn't true. I did predict a competitive fight, but that was only in order to convince my neighbor to shell out for the Pay-Per View.) The possibility that Pacquiao might not only win, but deliver a brutal and embarrassing one-sided beating to his opponent, never even crossed anyone's mind. However, that's exactly what he did. With names like Barerra, Marquez, Morales, and now De La Hoya notched into his belt, Manny is truly his generation's Mexicutioner.

In a way, this turn of events has a certain irony to it. Oscar built much of his early career on the bodies of smaller, older, or hand-picked opponents. From the tattered remains of Julio Caesar Chavez to Arturo Gatti and Jesse James Leija, Oscar beat down a lot of smaller men. And yet, in the end, he lost two of his last three fights to little men. Having gotten in that little dig, I will be sorry to see him go. He also found the time to fight a lot of good opponents, and give us some entertaining events. I hope he has the good sense to retire with pride in a sure-fire hall of fame career.

On a related note, will this be the example that finally convinces aging fighters that dropping weight classes is a BAD IDEA? First Roy Jones dropped from heavy to light-heavy to promptly get schooled by Antonio Tarver. Then Chris Byrd dropped from heavy to light-heavy just in time to get knocked unconscious by a virtually unknown fighter. Now De La Hoya drops from middleweigh(ish) to junior middle, and then to welterweight and gets schooled and TKO'd by a guy who turned pro weighing 106 pounds. In all three fights, the men coming down in weight looked flat and lifeless. Remember guys, just because you CAN make a weight, doesn't mean you SHOULD.