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Round By Round

December 07, 2008|Lance Pugmire

As strong and fit as Oscar De La Hoya touted himself in the weeks leading into his Saturday night fight against the younger, faster, fitter Manny Pacquiao, I can't help thinking now about something the Golden Boy said after a strenuous

workout.

"I have a new best friend," Oscar told me one month ago. "Ice."

And he'll need to load up on the stuff today as he recovers from a one-sided beatdown handed him by boxing's best fighter, pound-for-pound, in the world. Here's a round-by-round look at what happened in the 24 minutes before De La Hoya's corner stopped the fight after the eighth round.

Round 1

Recap: With a capacity MGM Grand crowd of 15,001 worked up by the fighters' dramatic ring entries -- Oscar strode in wearing a burgundy robe pulled atop his head and Pacquiao had Queen's "We Will Rock You," blaring as he made the walk -- Pacquiao immediately showed that his speed was a decisive advantage, stinging the former 10-time world champion with quick lefts to the face, and ducking under any of De La Hoya's lefts, as planned by his preparers.

Pugmire's take: Pacquiao said it best, "I knew right from the first round I had him." And his trainer Freddie Roach added, "Oscar was hesitant from the first round. I knew there'd be a stoppage." Words of wisdom.

Judges: Stanley Christodoulou (De La Hoya, 10-9); Adalaide Byrd (Pacquiao, 10-9); Dave Moretti (Pacquiao, 10-9).

Round 2

Recap: Pacquiao snapped off a left-right to Oscar's head and back-to-back lefts to his nose. Oscar's jab was used, but it was soft, while Pacquiao was snapping his punches relentlessly. A stiff left by Pacquiao punctuated the one-sided start.

Pugmire's take: This is when you knew the Pacquiao speed would define the evening. Oscar looked like an old fighter, exactly as Roach had predicted when he talked about this happening to Sugar Ray Leonard and Roy Jones Jr.

Judges: Christodoulou (Pacquiao, 10-9); Byrd (Pacquiao, 10-9); Moretti (Pacquiao, 10-9).

Round 3

Recap: Pacquiao pumped in jab after jab to Oscar's face. Just as he worked on in training, he was masterful at ducking under Oscar's left and swinging for the body. Oscar's punches were wide, easy-to-avoid efforts, and a bump of swelling emerged at his left eyebrow.

Pugmire's take: Even those who picked Pacquiao (OK, I didn't) had to have been surprised by the 3-0 sweep. Oscar was supposed to be at his strongest early. He clearly wasn't.

Judges: Christodoulou (Pacquiao, 10-9); Byrd (Pacquiao, 10-9); Moretti (Pacquiao, 10-9).

Round 4

Recap: A good right by Oscar was quickly followed by two fast lefts by Pacquiao. The crowd, wanting badly to cheer for the man who has packed this place so many times, raised on a few nice punches, but Pacquiao ended the thought of a rally by pounding Oscar's body and smacking him with a left that rolled De La Hoya's head back.

Pugmire's take: Someone at ringside said Manny was teeing off "like batting practice." At this point, the outcome had only the suspense of when the bout would end.

Judges: Christodoulou (Pacquiao, 10-9); Byrd (Pacquiao, 10-9); Moretti (Pacquiao, 10-9).

Round 5

Recap: Oscar's left eye was swelling, and Pacquiao's fast punching was dominating. Manny went right-right-left in one sequence, scoring blows, then came back left-left-right. He wails on Oscar's body. De La Hoya pounded on Pacquiao's head with consecutive punches, but his fatigue was showing at the end of another Pacquiao flurry.

Pugmire's take: If you relied solely on body language and facial expression, you could tell the end was coming when Oscar nodded to Pacquiao with a beaten look on his face.

Judges: Christodoulou (Pacquiao, 10-9); Byrd (Pacquiao, 10-9); Moretti (Pacquiao, 10-9).

Round 6

Recap: The growing disparity in speed allowed Pacquiao to attack Oscar's body and head. He was now toying with De La Hoya, particularly with a jab-jab-cross combination and a late, great left.

Pugmire's take: It was now 6-0 on most scorecards and Oscar's rest after the round was spent alone on the stool for about 10 seconds. He was clearly a beaten-up 35-year-old man whom I can't see returning to the ring again.

Judges: Christodoulou (Pacquiao, 10-9); Byrd (Pacquiao, 10-9); Moretti (Pacquiao, 10-9).

Round 7

Recap: CompuStats recorded a staggering 45 power punches by Pacquiao in this most lopsided round. That's the most power punches De La Hoya has ever absorbed in 31 fights recorded by the punch stat company. Pacquiao swarmed De La Hoya with a barrage of blows in Oscar's corner, then did it again across the ring. Oscar's left eye swelled by the second and was closed by the end of the abuse, with a cut underneath.

Pugmire's take: Pacquiao entrenched himself as fighter of the year with this showing, and this successful move up in weight against the proud (but finished) champion deserves the comparisons to the great Henry Armstrong.

Judges: Christodoulou (Pacquiao, 10-8); Adalaide Byrd (Pacquiao, 10-8); Moretti (Pacquiao, 10-8).

Round 8

Recap: Pacquiao again corners De La Hoya with a sharp combination. De La Hoya's attempted jab was in vain. De La Hoya is clearly drained, and worse, he's wounded by a big Pacquiao left. A De La Hoya combination elicits a taunt from Pacquiao, who raises his arms, urging on the ex-champ and unleashing a final flurry at the end of the round. The blood under Oscar's left eye is flowing freely, and less than halfway through the break before the ninth round, trainer "Nacho" Beristain says the fight is over.

Pugmire's take: These were likely De La Hoya's final moments in the ring, and ring announcer Michael Buffer handled the carnage with dignity: "Tonight, we turn a page in boxing history."

Judges: Christodoulou (Pacquiao, 10-9); Byrd (Pacquiao, 10-9); Moretti (Pacquiao, 10-9).

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