HATTON’S KO LOSS SEALS DE LA HOYA’S HUMILIATION
By Alex P. Vidal
SAN DIEGO, California — Unknown to most boxing fans, Oscar De La Hoya, more than anybody else, shared the humiliation of British fans who mourned the brutal fall of Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton in the “The Battle of East and West” 12-round duel for the International Boxing Organization (IBO) light welterweight crown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 2. The 1992 Barcelona Olympics gold medalist, who now manages the Golden Boy Promotions in fact did not show up during the post fight media conference as he “accompanied” Hatton (45-2, 32 KO’s) in the hospital where he was rushed after having been brutalized by Manny Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KO’s) in two rounds. De La Hoya, who was himself waylaid by Pacquiao on December 5 last year in the same arena, reportedly “lost his face” after he didn’t give the 30-year-old Filipino southpaw a ghost of a chance to beat Hatton despite the Filipino ring warrior’s reputation as “giant killer”. Even after Hatton was given a clean bill of health by doctors in the hospital, De La Hoya did not anymore speak to the media for his much-awaited post mortem message He was reportedly shocked and humiliated and stayed at Hatton’s side for few minutes in the Las Vegas hospital. It was his chief executive officer Richard Schaeffer who did most of the talking to media and who justified his sudden disappearance. In the final press conference before the rumble, De La Hoya valiantly told pundits, “If I fought Ricky Hatton last December 5, he would have knocked me out”. He wanted to tell fight fans Pacquiao’s 8th-round TKO win over him was fluke. De La Hoya, whose left eye was nearly swollen shut, surrendered on his stoll at the start of 8th round and did not go down like Hatton who was bludgeoned by a single wicked left and fell like a deck of cards. If it was Hatton who fought him that night, the flamboyant De La Hoya believed he would have been blown to bits by the slugger from Manchester. After the quick stoppage of Hatton, Pacquiao, unmarked and unfazed, made the now retired De La Hoya eat his words the second time around. De La Hoya has run out of alibi and many fight fans are now convinced De La Hoya was really mauled black and blue by the smaller Pacquiao last December 5 no matter how his publicists offered excuses that the heavier De La Hoya could not meet the 147-lb weight limit in the card dubbed “Dream Match” the reason why Pacquiao had a field day peppering him with howitzers in the face. Despite the embarrassment, De La Hoya reportedly agreed to ink another deal with Hatton in the future–this time as co-promoters. Hatton announced he will shift career from prizefighter to boxing promoter like De La Hoya and hinted the possibility of taking in some world-ranked Filipino fighters in order to add luster to his future cards in the United Kingdom.