Joey Gamache (right) has put the beating he took from Arturo Gatti behind him and has become a promising trainer. Here, he works with Kermit Cintron. Photo / fightwireimages.com
If anyone knows about substantial size differences in boxing, it's Joey Gamache.
Gamache was outweighed by as much as 15 pounds at fight time when he fought Arturo Gatti in 2000 and took a gruesome beating, which many attribute to the vast weight difference. Gamache was hospitalized and never fought again.
Like many, the two-time world champion thinks the natural size difference between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao is too great for Pacquiao to overcome.
However, he implied that De La Hoya-Pacquiao is not the same as Gamache-Gatti.
“De La Hoya has to come down to 147. I don't know the last time he had to do that,” said Gamache, who is not associated with the fight. “The point is they both have the time to go up (Pacquiao) and down (De La Hoya) in weight.
“Maybe they'll be close to the same weight (at fight time).”
And if not?
“Hopefully the corner will see he's overmatched and know what to do,” Gamache said.
In the end, though, he thinks De La Hoya's natural size will be the difference.
“I feel he's too big, too strong, and he has the technical skills too,” Gamache said. “He's a smart fighter. I just think it'll be too much for Pacquiao.”
Gamache, always considered a cerebral fighter, has become a rising young trainer. He works with Emanuel Steward.
More Gamache: Gamche's father and longtime boxing trainer, Joe Gamache Sr., was at ringside when his son fought Gatti. He has more reservations about De La Hoya-Pacquiao.
“I love De La Hoya,” the elder Gamache said. “He fought anyone and everyone. If he wants to go out on a high note, though, he should fight (Antonio) Margarito. Pacquiao already jumped up a weight division to lightweight and now he's jumping to 147? That's a big jump.
“He's an extraordinary fighter but I don't know if he can bring his power up with him.”
To this day, Joe Gamache Sr. believes the scales were tampered with. And his son filed a complaint against the New York State Athletic Commission over the weigh-in, citing recurring migraines as a result of the beating.
Gamache and Gatti weighed in at 140 and 140½, respectively, a day before the fight but Gatti reportedly weighed 160 at fight time. Gamache said he gained five or six pounds.
“My son could've died,” said the elder Gamache. “He suffered a concussion. He was throwing up at the hospital. He was as sick as could be. Joey sparred with tough guys like Vinny Pazienza, Alexis Arguello, Hector Camacho. They never banged him like that.”
My take on De La Hoya-Pacquiao: Too much is being made of the weight difference.
Take a look at boxing history. Hall of Famer Mickey Walker jumped from welterweight to middleweight (two divisions by today's standards) to lightweight (two more) and then to heavyweight (two more) and continued to succeed.
For example, Walker drew with future heavyweight champion Jack Sharkey even though he was outweighed by 29 pounds.
Henry Armstrong, another Hall of Famer, held titles in three weight classes simultaneously — that'six weight classes today. And he drew with World Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Ceferino Garcia in a middleweight title bout even though Armstrong was outweighed by 11½ pounds.
And it's no stretch to compare Pacquiao with Walker and Armstrong. He isn't quite at their level but he is one of the most-accomplished fighters of his time and a certain Hall of Famer.
The point is: Relax and enjoy. This is a huge promotion because the fans are into it, which is good for the sport. And, frankly, I'll be surprised if Pacquiao gets hurt; he's just too good.
Dundee on board: Legendary trainer Angelo Dundee is still at it at 87. De La Hoya has hired the mentor of Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard to work with him for a few days at his Big Bear training camp as the fight draws near.
Dundee will break down video of Pacquiao and provide any helpful hints he can.
“I look for little mannerisms that (Pacquiao) innately has and how to exploit them,” Dundee said. “Take Marvin Hagler (before he fought Leonard). How did I know he was a natural right-handed? I saw him sign an autograph. I knew then he was a right-hander who fought southpaw.
“And I noticed that Hagler took a little step before he punched. I told my guy, 'When he takes that step, stick him.' Those are the kinds of things that you pick and can help in a fight.”
Dundee doesn't buy into the concern over the size difference in the fight. He thinks it will be De La Hoya's ability that will make the difference.
“I'll tell you why,” he said. “Oscar has fought every type of Mexican fighter, short guys, tough guys, aggressive guys. What is Pacquiao? He's a tough, aggressive guy who throws punches nonstop. Oscar is used to fighting that type of guy.
“I tell you, Oscar has the tools to do a real number on Pacquiao.”
More Dundee: Dundee's association with De La Hoya is only the latest chapter in a career that has spanned more than half a century. The other chapters are in his book “My View from the Corner,” released last November.
Dundee, with help from prolific author and boxing historian Bert Sugar, provides an entertaining inside look at the lives and careers of himself and his famous pupils. He gives the reader fresh insight into Ali, for example, revealing a young boxing hopeful obsessed with absorbing knowledge.
One dramatic revelation was Dundee's disappointment that Leonard never stepped in when Dundee clashed with Leonard's advisor, Mike Trainer. Dundee and Leonard remain friends.
“Hey, we made a pretty good team,” Dundee said. “And we had a lot of fun doing it. I just felt he should've stood up for me a little bit more. It hurt.”
Boxing fans who haven't read the book will devour it.
One more Dundee: Dundee, one of the sport's true nice guys, has always had a good relationship with the media.
“I've been talking to the media from Day 1 for what it did for my fighters,” he said. “If they wrote about your fighter, you got action. If they didn't, you were in trouble. The worse thing in our business is silence.
“There's a problem now with the Russian fighters. They're nice guys and good fighters but they don't speak English.”