“I Had No Idea How Special You Are”- Oscar De La Hoya Admits Manny Pacquiao’s Greatness, Compares Him With Ali, Mayweather

Published 10/03/2021, 10:30 AM EDT


Six-division champion Oscar De La Hoya came across a harsh reality when he faced Manny Pacquiao in 2008. Despite his valid physical advantages, ‘Golden Boy’ fell prey to Pacquiao’s impeccable prowess. And retired from his corner after round eight. Eventually, this turned out to be his last professional in-ring appearance.

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Thirteen years later, Manny Pacquiao has announced his retirement from professional boxing after losing a WBA title shot to Yordenis Ugas in August. Meanwhile, Oscar De La Hoya is reportedly eyeing his return to action. As it has seemingly urged the legends to cross paths in different directions, De La Hoya has expressed all his respect for Manny Pacquiao.

In a live social media interaction, Oscar De La Hoya looked back at his fight against ‘Pac-Man’. After hailing Pacquiao’s supremacy, he labeled a group of elites, where he put himself, Ali, ‘Sugar’ Leonard, Mayweather, and Pacquiao.

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Oscar De La Hoya said, “Manny Pacquiao when I decided to fight you, I had no idea how special you are. When you were throwing punches and never getting tired and displaying a special talent. Okay.”

“That night. No seriously, that night I knew that you are gonna be somebody that is different okay. And that difference puts you in a category of elite fighters. Like Muhammad Ali, like Sugar Ali Leonard, like Floyd Mayweather, like myself. “

Pacquiao is now all set to run for the upcoming presidential election in the Philippines. So, it assures an end to his in-ring journey. However, 48-yar-old De La Hoya can return shortly, and possibly face ex-UFC champion, Vitor Belfort, a fight that was scheduled to happen on September 11.

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When can Oscar De La Hoya return to the ring?

De La Hoya reportedly contracted Covid-19 ahead of facing Belfort in a Triller PPV. Former two-division champion Evander Holyfield stepped up at the age of 58 to replace De La Hoya under short notice. But he couldn’t last a round as ‘The Phenom’ Belfort knocked him with massive blows.

Oscar De La Hoya weighs in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for their upcoming fight on May 5, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two will meet for Mayorga’s WBC Junior Middleweight Championship tomorrow night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. (Photo by Ed Mulholland/WireImage)

While De La Hoya now seems steady for a return, he can come across an extremely tough challenge in ‘The Phenom’. Belfort’s massive physical frame and KO power can be demanding to outwork. That said, we are yet to hear an official confirmation from ‘Golden Boy’ regarding his comeback fight.

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Raj Sarkar

2490 articles

A senior boxing writer at EssentiallySports, Raj Sarkar is a mass media graduate who is currently pursuing his master’s degree in broadcast journalism. In addition to his current role, he has worked with the MMA team at EssentiallySports and has interviewed prominent fighters such as Ritu Phogat and 'The Red King' Rory MacDonald. He combined his bachelor's degree with his adoration for combat sports and has a combined 2000 plus bylines in MMA and boxing over the last two years.

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