Boxing Report: Pacquiao Dominates De La Hoya En Route to 8th TKO
By Gabriel Montoya at ringside for (Dec 7, 2008) Photo © German Villasenor, DHB  
You couldn’t ask for a more packed (15,001 to be exact), more raucous and electric atmosphere tonight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here in Las Vegas, NV for the “The Dream Match” between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao. The stars (and seemingly every beautiful woman on the planet) came out in droves along with legendary fighters of all eras for boxing’s biggest fight since De La Hoya vs. Mayweather. Pacquiao came into the thunderous strains of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” as the crowd went nuts for their man. Wearing a velvet burgundy robe and looking intense and focused,
De La Hoya entered to the familiar strains of a mariachi band playing as the crowd got to their feet to cheer on “The Golden Boy.” The stage was set, the build-up was complete. It was now time to “get ready to rumble.”

The many questions regarding the multiple intangibles and traits of both fighters were immediately answered as both men came to center ring. Pacquiao circling, constantly moving his upper body and pumping his jab. De La Hoya plodded forwarded cautiously laying out his jab without its usual snap. Despite his size and reach advantage, De La Hoya appeared to bend down and negate his advantages to get at the smaller Pacquiao. A jab from Pacquiao landed sharply with no counter from De La Hoya. Then the two men came into a clinch and Pacquiao seemed to push back De La Hoya with seemingly little trouble. Pacquiao would land a lead left and De La Hoya seemed to take it well. Body shot by Pacquiao followed by a circle right then another shot. De La Hoya seemed to be waiting to get off his shots but fro what remained unclear. Pacquiao seemed to sense his speed and reflex advantage and began t get braver landing lead lefts and an uppercut. De La Hoay flurried as Pacquiao paused on the ropes but he easily circled off them and answered back. Then Pacquiao got off a lead left. Then another. And still another. He eluded the vaunted De La Hoya left and customary ten second flurry that won De La Hoya so many rounds in the past. A very clear round for Pacquiao and the beginning of a disturbing trend for De La Hoya.

Round two saw De La Hoya try and impose himself on the smaller man with a flurry but Pacquiao came right back and quelled that with a combination of his own. A right by De La Hoya landed but Pacquiao took it well. De La Hoya continued to jab top find the range but the snap and speed of his shots wasn’t there. Jab and left by Pacquiao. Another lead left. They traded body shots but it seemed that Pacquiao was getting all his leverage on his shots while De La Hoya was throwing wild, sloppier shots. An uppercut from Pacquiao got the crowd on its feet. The momentum was already in Pacquiao’s favor as he landed at will.

Pacquiao began getting to Oscar’s body more and more in the third round though his pace slowed a hair. Counter punching and movement from Pacquiao kept Oscar honest as he circled and attacked the older, slower fighter.

Round four began with a hard exchange at center ring. Pacquiao followed up with two solid left hands that landed with a thud on a swelling De La Hoya left eye. A right hand from Oscar landed with little effect but instead were answered by two left hands and a flurry from Pacquiao. It was the beginning of yet another shut out round for the Filipino superstar.

The rout was on as Pacquiao began to unload the kitchen sink in the middle rounds. Uppercuts, lead lefts over and over again, and occasional right hands all landed with regularity for Pacquiao. Increasingly, Oscar looked discouraged and beaten as he was circled and picked apart more and more by Pacquiao. More and more, the combinations flowed from the smaller man. A right hook, uppercut got the crowd on his feet and it began to look as if a stoppage win for Pacquiao was not out of the question.

The seventh round was by far the most brutal of Oscar De La Hoya’s career. Seemingly out of gas and with no answers for the speed, power, and vicious assault of Pacquiao and with a badly swollen eye to boot, De La Hoya lay on the ropes and took his beating like a man. Pacquiao cautiously opened up on De La Hoya looking to finish things. A seemingly endless combination of punches followed as Oscar moved from one set of ropes to another, taking shots left, right and any which way Pacquiao could land them with no answer. A 10-8 round if ever there was one.

In the eighth round, De La Hoya again went to the ropes and Pacquiao went right for his body with a two punch combo. De La Hoya landed a right hand but Pacquiao answered right back with yet another flurry. Pacquiao attacked cautiously, avoiding a potential Rope-A-Dope. As Oscar tried to step forward to attack but a hard left hand snapped him back to the ropes and Pacquiao yet again unloaded the kitchen sink. De La Hoya threw a five punch combo near the bell but Pacquiao ripped him back with a combo of his own to punctuate a brilliant performance.

In the end, it would be trainer Nacho Beristain, brought in by Team De La Hoya to solve the puzzle of Pacquiao, who would call a halt to the action before the ninth began. “I had to stop the fight,” he said afterward. “I couldn’t risk anymore. There was nothing else to do.” It was an improbable ending to a surprisingly one-sided fight.

“The media is never wrong,” Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said afterward. “They said it was a mismatch and it was a mismatch.”

Following the fight, De La Hoya would give credit to Pacquiao. “He was the better man tonight. What can I say?”
De La Hoya would skip the post fight press conference and take a precautionary trip to the local hospital following the bout.

Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach was excited afterward. For him the bout was a personal vindication following a broken promise from De La Hoya to finish his career with the trainer.

“I said that Oscar couldn’t pull the trigger because I knew we would keep the action in the center of the ring. Oscar didn’t know he was coming or going. At the end of the seventh, I told Manny to keep boxing for the first minute of the next round. After that take it too to him. Don’t carry him. It’s your job to knock him out. Go do it. Once we took Oscar’s left hand away from him, the fight was over.”

A respectful Pacquiao was thankful and humble in victory. “Thank you to God and the Filipino people for giving me the support and the power to win this fight. I would like to thank Oscar for giving me this opportunity. He’s still my idol. Nothing personal. It’s about making people happy. It isn’t about Filipino vs. Mexicans. It just happened that during my time, there were a lot of Mexican fighters. It’s not my intention to fight all the Mexican fighters. I love Mexicans.”

Gabriel at: .

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