MANILA, Philippines – Just a year ago, Manny Pacquiao facing Oscar de la Hoya appeared an improbable proposition.
But Pacquiao’s victory over his iconic opponent on Sunday (Saturday, US time) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas could not have been thinkable in a lifetime.
Pacquiao carried out his game plan to textbook perfection and perhaps closed a chapter in the history of boxing after he defeated the legendary de la Hoya after eight rounds on Sunday (Saturday, US time) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Active, methoidcal and simply dominant, Pacquiao took his time to trim down de la Hoya. His patience paid dividends midway through the match as de la Hoya’s left-side cheek began to swell.
When de la Hoya’s knees began to wobble and his eyes started to lose fire, Pacquiao went for the jugular. In the seventh, he cornered de la Hoya and pummeled him to the head and body. In the eighth, Pacquiao had de la Hoya by the ropes and pressed on the attack.
During the break after the round, de la Hoya’s side, wanting to avoid further humiliation, decided to surrender the match.
“I’m so lucky because I controlled the fight in the first round,” Pacquiao said. “That’s what we were working on everyday during training. Speed is the key to the fight. I used it in the fight.”
Pacquiao reached an all-new level of greatness after this one.
He climbed to 147 pounds to meet his boyhood idol and take a shot at the most lucrative deal of his career. After shredding de la Hoya, Pacquiao proved without a shadow of a doubt that he is boxing’s most prolific name to date.
“He deserves all the credit. He was the better man. He deserves all the accolades,” a dejected de la Hoya said. “He’s just a great fighter. I have nothing bad to say about him. He prepared well.”
Pacquiao has gone 3-0 this year, after decisioning Juan Manuel Marquez in April as a 130-pounder and bludgeoning David Diaz in June as a 135-pounder.
With his ward’s string of success, Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, called out de la Hoya, challenging him to take on Pacquiao.
But the prospect of a Pacquiao-de la Hoya bout didn’t sit well with the boxing community, with most of them saying the five-foot-10 de la Hoya would run over the five-foot-six Pacquiao in a mismatch.
“It proved I was right,” Roach said.
But then David brought in more than a slingshot in this match versus Goliath.
Roach had always professed that if Pacquiao fought “the perfect fight”, Pacquiao would be able to take down de la Hoya.
That’s exactly what happened.
Pacquiao timed his in-and-out movements and regularly hit the slower de la Hoya on the face. He was quick on his feet when de la Hoya initiated. And his jabs found their way through de la Hoya’s porous defense.
In short, de la Hoya had no answers for The Pacman.
Roach, who belittled de la Hoya saying he “couldn’t pull the trigger” anymore, was on target after all.
When he was asked to comment on the abrupt ending of the match – and altogether probably his stellar pro career – de la Hoya was a picture of a finished man.
“I’m not shocked. At this stage of my career, (losses like this) are almost expected,” de la Hoya said.
If this is how it ends for de la Hoya, then it is both a sorry ending as it is a symbolic one.
The 10-time world champion has flip-flopped on the retirement question. Earlier this year, he said the Pacquiao fight would be his last. During training, he took that back and said he felt good enough to lengthen his run.
De la Hoya, who turns 36 in February, dodged the retirement issue again on Sunday. But it’s clear his time is up.
“I worked hard. I trained hard. But being inside the ring and training at the gym is totally different,” admitted de la Hoya, boxing’s top draw and far and away the king of pay-per-view sports.
If de la Hoya gives up fighting, the man who sent him off will make sure the void he leaves won’t be empty for so long.
In a virtual passing of the torch, Pacquiao seized the mantle as boxing’s most marketable fighter.
“You’re still my idol,” Pacquiao pointed to de la Hoya before Pacquiao was handed the microphone for an interview.
De la Hoya, it appeared, was more than willing to give up his throne.
“No, you’re my idol.” he pointed back.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet boxing’s new Golden Boy. – GMANews.TV