Pacquiao dominates De La Hoya

I’m not much of a boxing fan, but even I knew that there was a big fight on Saturday. It turns out Manny Pacquiao overcame a weight disadvantage to pound Oscar De La Hoya into a mercy stoppage.

In the end, it was a bruised, battered and utterly befuddled De La Hoya, 35, sitting with a blank look on his face as new trainer Nacho Beristain stopped the fight after much discussion before the start of the ninth round. It was a mercy stoppage and one that could have come from referee Tony Weeks during the seventh round, a classic example of a 10-8 round without a knockdown. Pacquiao battered De La Hoya in the round, landing 45 power shots, the most ever recorded by CompuBox in the 31 De La Hoya fights it has tracked.

De La Hoya might have been a shot fighter when he walked up the steps for battle, but Pacquiao, 29, the icon of the Philippines, also deserves credit for the upset in a fight many critics proclaimed as a mismatch. They thought it would be Pacquiao who would be annihilated because he had spent his career fighting in much smaller weight divisions before this leap to welterweight. The ironic thing is that the bigger guy entering the ring was actually Pacquiao. He weighed in officially on Friday at 142 pounds to De La Hoya’s 145. But on HBO’s unofficial scale on fight night, Pacquiao was up to 148½ and De La Hoya was surprisingly only 147.

Pacquiao’s domination earned him his third victory of the year in his third weight division. A former flyweight, junior featherweight and featherweight champion, Pacquiao won the junior lightweight championship by beating Juan Manuel Marquez in their March rematch and then moved to lightweight, where he won a title with a destruction of David Diaz in June. Pacquiao then made the jump to welterweight to face De La Hoya and surely locked up fighter of the year honors by completing his Henry Armstrongesque year.

Next up for Pacquiao likely will be junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton in the spring. For De La Hoya, let’s hope there is no next fight. If this is indeed the end for him, as it should be, he deserves our respect for a great career and a hearty thanks for the memories. He will be missed but he will not be forgotten.

It’s funny how all the pre-fight talk was about De La Hoya’s weight advantage, but it was Pacquiao that actually weighed in a little heavier just before the fight. Not funny like “ha ha” funny, but funny like “hmmm” funny.

Screw it – you know what I mean.

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