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Pacquiao wins in 8th round: De La Hoya is Golden Boy no more

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Manny Pacquiaoby Tim Smith
NY Daily News, Dec. 7, 2008

LAS VEGAS - Oscar De La Hoya picked on the wrong little man when he chose Manny Pacquiao, a lightweight champion, as his opponent to make a return to the welterweight division after a seven-year absence.

Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs) administered the worst beating that the Golden Boy has ever suffered in his 16-year career. De La Hoya's corner asked referee Tony Weeks to stop the fight after the eighth round, giving Pacquiao an eighth-round TKO victory before a packed house at the MGM Grand Saturday night.

"Manny Pacquiao is a great fighter and he put on a great fight. He was the better man tonight," De La Hoya said. "I just couldn't figure out his style. I'm not shocked because at this stage when you face someone like Pacquiao, it's going to be a hard fight.

"My style is to go forward and boxing on my toes. He was waiting for me. My body seemed not to be able to respond. I didn't have the strength to stop him when he was coming forward."

With the disparity in height and size, it looked like De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KOs) was getting pounded by one of Keebler's elves. But Pacquiao exposed all of De La Hoya's weaknesses and flaws. Judge Stanley Christodoulou was the only judge to give De La Hoya a round. The other two judges, Adalaide Byrd and Dave Moretti, had Pacquiao pitching a shutout.

"I knew right away in the first round I had him. I controlled the fight. I was able to defend against the jab," Paquiao said.

After the fight, De La Hoya walked over to Pacquiao's corner and told trainer Freddie Roach, "You're right Freddie. I don't have it anymore."

Roach, who trained De La Hoya for his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., had said that De La Hoya was old and couldn't pull the trigger anymore. Roach said Pacquaio's speed would be too much for De La Hoya to handle, and he was right. It took De La Hoya's corner eight rounds to figure that out.

"I stopped the fight because I didn't want him to leave his greatness in the ring," said Nacho Beristain, De La Hoya's trainer. "He didn't have the strength to stop him. He came in very great condition, but he couldn't handle the southpaw stance."

Much had been made of the size difference between the two boxers. Pacquiao, who began his career at 106 pounds and had fought at his highest weight (135 pounds) in June when he won the WBC lightweight title against David Diaz, was jumping two weight classes to meet De La Hoya at welterweight. He weighed in at 142 pounds on Friday. The big question was whether Pacquiao would be able to stand up to the punches of a true welterweight and a man who had also campaigned at middleweight.

De La Hoya weighed 145 at the weigh in on Friday. It was his lowest weight since his last junior welterweight match against Miguel Angel Gonzalez in 1997. He weighed 146 pounds for his first fight against Shane Mosley in 2000 and his last fight at welterweight was against Arturo Gatti in 2001.

De La Hoya appeared gaunt at the weigh-in and looked like he might have overtrained for Pacquiao.

Pacquiao set a quick pace through the first couple of rounds, dictating the terms of the fight. He used his superior foot speed to buzz around De La Hoya and sting him with jabs and snappy combinations. De La Hoya's face began to redden by the second round. De La Hoya appeared slow and sluggish, unable to match Pacquiao's speed and quickness.

By the fifth round De La Hoya was showing the signs of a good, old fashion beating. His left eye was badly swollen from taking too many of Pacquiao's southpaw jabs.

Pacquiao pummeled De La Hoya in the seventh round, landing clean unanswered combinations, staggering De La Hoya. Referee Tony Weeks circled both fighters closely, carefully eyeing De La Hoya. It looked like Weeks was going to step in at any moment to stop it, but he didn't. No one would have argued if he had. After the round, Weeks and the ring doctor went to De La Hoya's corner to take a closer look. They allowed it to continue.

De La Hoya said he didn't know whether he was going to retire.

"Obviously we'll see what happens," De La Hoya said. "But tonight wasn't a good night."

Manny PacquiaoPacquiao dominates, stops De La Hoya in 8th round
By Tim Dahlberg,
Associated Press, Dec. 7, 2008

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Manny Pacquiao fought a lot bigger than he looked. Oscar De La Hoya simply looked old. Pacquiao dominated his bigger and more famous opponent from the opening bell Saturday night, giving De La Hoya a beating and closing his left eye before De La Hoya declined to come out of his corner after the eighth round.

The fight was so lopsided and De La Hoya looked so inept that it could spell the end for boxing's richest and most marketable star.

It was only the second time in De La Hoya's 16-year pro career that he was stopped in a fight, and it was made even more shocking because it came at the hands of a fighter who fought at just 129 pounds months earlier. At the age of 35 he seemed not only well beyond his prime, but unable to offer any answer to the punches that Pacquiao was landing almost at will.

De La Hoya's left eye was closed shut as he sat on his stool after the eighth round and the ring doctor, referee and his cornermen discussed his condition. De La Hoya offered no complaints when his corner decided he had enough, getting up from his stool and walking to the center of the ring to congratulate the victor.

"You're still my idol," Pacquiao told him.

"No, you're my idol," De La Hoya said.

Two of the three ringside judges scored all eight rounds for Pacquiao, while a third gave De La Hoya only the first round. The Associated Press scored every round for the winner.

De La Hoya was taken to a hospital for precautionary reasons after the fight.

It was lopsided from the beginning, with Pacquiao landing punch after punch while De La Hoya chased after him, trying to catch him with a big punch. Pacquiao was winning big even before the seventh round, when he was pounding De La Hoya against the ropes in his corner and catching him with huge shots that knocked him across the ring.

De La Hoya remained upright, but with one eye closed and his reflexes seemingly gone there was no chance he was going to land the big punches he would have needed to turn the fight around. Ringside statistics showed Pacquiao landed 45 power punches in the seventh round to just four for De La Hoya.

"He's just a great fighter," De La Hoya said. "I have nothing bad to say about him. He prepared like a true champion."

Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 knockouts) came up two weight classes to fight for his biggest purse ever, while De La Hoya dropped down to meet him at 147 pounds. Though De La Hoya (39-6) towered over Pacquiao and had a big reach advantage over him, Pacquiao had no trouble getting inside what few jabs De La Hoya threw to land his shots.

Pacquiao was credited with landing 224 of 585 punches to just 83 of 402 for De La Hoya.

"We knew we had him after the first round," Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach said. "He had no legs, he was hesitant and he was shot."

Roach trained De La Hoya in his last big fight a year ago and said De La Hoya simply couldn't throw punches when he needed in that fight. That was magnified even more against Pacquiao, who not only was as elusive as Floyd Mayweather Jr. but threw punches back that kept De La Hoya off pace.

"Freddie, you're right," De La Hoya told the trainer after the fight. "I just don't have it anymore."

If De La Hoya's career is over, it will be the end of a remarkable story that began when he won the Olympic gold medal in Barcelona in 1992 and went on to become the biggest box office attraction in the sport. But while he sold tickets, De La Hoya hadn't won a big fight in six years, and there were whispers long before the fight that he had nothing left.

"My heart still wants to fight, that's for sure," De La Hoya said. "But when your physical doesn't respond, what can you do? I have to be smart and make sure I think about my future plans."

De La Hoya not only dropped down to fight for the first time at 147 pounds in seven years, but actually came into the ring unofficially weighing less than Pacquiao. Both fighters got on scales in their dressing rooms and De La Hoya was 147 while Pacquiao was 148 and a half.

Pacquiao earned his biggest purse ever, a guaranteed $11 million, while De La Hoya was expected to make at least twice that in a fight by the time all the pay-per-view revenues are totaled up.

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