De la hoya vs. Pacquiao

When the most popular boxer in the world agrees to face the pound-for-pound best interest is certain to be high. So it comes as no surprise that the Dec. 6 showdown between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao has generated lots of buzz.But the excitement level that has resulted from this highly anticipated bout could not have been foreseen.

At 35 years old, De La Hoya showed signs of slowing down during his unanimous decision win May 3 over diminutive Steve Forbes. That bout was fought at a catch-weight of 150 pounds. Forbes, a former IBF super featherweight champion, had never entered the ring that heavy.

But his elusive style and constant pressuring made it a relatively action-filled fight. And though Forbes lacks significant punching power, he left a few marks on De La Hoya's face.

Pacquiao (47-3-2, 35 KOs) has won eight in a row and has beaten some of the best fighters in the world - including Juan Manuel Marquez, who is ranked No. 3 on The Star-Ledger pound-for-pound list. But Pacquiao has never fought anyone as big or strong as De La Hoya.

Pacquiao's ability to carry the extra weight and take De La Hoya's punches will determine how well he performs. To have any chance of pulling off the upset will require Pacquiao make adjustment to his fighting style. He will have to become more boxer than puncher.

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