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Giving Pacman a lesson

The Eye by Joseph LariosaBy Joseph G. Lariosa
If he were not a boxer, Oscar De La Hoya would have been an architect or a draftsman.
But because he has a boxing pedigree (his grandfather, Vicente, his father, Joel, and his older brother, Joel, Jr. were boxers), Oscar aspired to become an Olympic gold medalist when he was in the sixth grade, a dream he would realize when he won the boxing gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
But as his professional boxing career-turned promoter took off and picked up steam, he tried to lure a promising Filipino boxer named Manny Pacquiao to join his corner for his Golden Boy Promotions.
While Oscar was able to sign Mr. Pacquiao up in his stable, Mr. Pacquiao took a sudden about- face and spurned their contract and signed up with Golden Boy’s rival, Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions.
This is a traumatic incident in his promoter’s career that the ten-time world champion just cannot forget.
When he relented to the taunts of some of Team Pacquiao’s people that Oscar is beatable by Manny, Oscar used Manny’s snub of his contract to reinforce his motivation to fight the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
In his upcoming fight with the 31-year-old Manny Pacquiao on Dec. 6, 2008 at the 12-round, 147-pound welterweight bout dubbed as “Dream Match” at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oscar wants also to be a teacher – to teach Manny a basic lesson in good manners and right conduct – that if you agree with someone, you have to abide by that agreement no matter the cost.
De La Hoya believes by beating Pacquiao, the four-time world champion, Oscar will have the last word — that Manny will learn from his mistake.
At the press conference at the penthouse of Sears Tower in Chicago , Illinois last Thursday (Oct. 2nd ), De La Hoya and Pacquiao were seated so near each other yet there never was an instance that they ever looked eye to eye to each other nor talk to each other.
Because Oscar believes that respect is earned and not served in a silver platter, no matter how he tells Mr. Pacquiao of his mistake, Manny will never listen to him – until Oscar can beat Manny.
De La Hoya said he is “looking to get his revenge in this fight. This fight is personal for me. When he (Manny) signed that contract with (his) Golden Boy Promotions and the next day, he signed with Top Rank (promotions),” it only meant that Manny did not respect him, he suggested.
“When you look into my eyes, and you give me your word of honor (palabra de honor) and you go back to it,” it is not a sign of respect for him, he said.
“This is like a revenge for me. In boxing, you look for a knockout” to send your message. “This is my motivation in this fight,” he explained. It appears that De La Hoya is going to have allies from about 135 disgruntled Filipino boxing fans in Chicago’s suburbs of Northbrook, Illinois, who were disappointed when they were stood up by Manny at a “meet-and-greet” and concert event dubbed as “A Night With The Champ” Thursday night coinciding with the press conference of Manny and Oscar early in the day.
In a telephone call from Houston , Texas to his fans at the Radisson Hotel in Northbrook , Manny told his fans, “Talagang gusto ko pong magpa-iwan kanina, ako’y walang magawa. Bantay-sarado sa akin si Bob Arum.” (I really wanted to stay behind earlier. But I cannot do anything. I was closely guarded by Bob Arum (his boxing promoter).”
One of the performers, Lito Camo, who was to sing with Manny at the concert, joked and told Pacquiao over the cell phone that was phone-patched to a microphone, “Sabi ng mga kababayan mo sana hindi ka na raw sumakay sa eroplano. Dapat nagbarko ka na lang/.” (According to your countrymen, you should not have boarded the plane. You should have just boarded a ship.) It was followed by laughter and Manny hung up the phone without even apologizing.
If Manny had a contract with the concert organizers to appear in the concert, why did he not tell Mr. Arum of his commitment? Why did he let his fans go to the hotel, waste their time, gasoline and money when he knew that he could not make it?
I remember in the Philippines when movie goers were not able to watch the movies they paid for, they would be screaming “posporo (match), posporo (match),” suggesting to burn the movie house. Other moviegoers would destroy the chairs of the movie house in disgust because they felt that they were had.

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