Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao

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2008-12-06 : Oscar De La Hoya 145 lbs lost to Manny Pacquiao 142 lbs by RTD at 3:00 in round 8 of 12

Oscar De La Hoya versus Manny Pacquiao, also billed as The Dream Match, was a professional boxing welterweight superfight. The bout took place on December 6th, 2008 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. Pacquiao defeated De La Hoya via technical knockout when a ringside physician deemed De La Hoya physically unable to fight before the ninth round. The card was a co-production of Bob Arum's Top Rank Boxing and De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions and was aired live on pay-per-view (PPV) on HBO PPV.

Despite no title belts being disputed, the bout received a lot of publicity since the two boxers were decorated, with Pacquiao being the current number one pound for pound boxer in the world as judged by The Ring, and a five-time world champion in four weight divisions (Pacquiao is the reigning WBC lightweight champion at the time of the bout). Meanwhile, De La Hoya who was an Olympic gold medalist and past holder of 10 world titles in eight weight divisions.

Pacquiao had to step up to two weight divisions (from lightweight), and De La Hoya had to go down two weight divisions (from middleweight), to be eligible for the bout's welterweight division.

Idea of the bout

The idea of having De La Hoya and Pacquiao fight came from HBO boxing analyst Larry Merchant talking with ESPN boxing analyst Dan Rafael. Larry then presented the idea to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. Bob presented the idea to Manny Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach.


After De La Hoya's May 5th loss to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in 2007(see De La Hoya-Mayweather boxing match), De La Hoya decided to close out his career with three fights in 2008. The first would be a tune-up bout in May before finishing with two mega bouts in September and December respectively. De La Hoya defeated Stevie Forbes in the May tune-up bout in preparation for Mayweather. Due to Mayweather's unexpected retirement however, Ricky Hatton was the new potential candidate to fight De La Hoya on September 20th. However, Hatton rejected the offer because he felt the scheduled date was too close to his last bout. He decided to pass on a fight in September to set the stage for a showdown against either Manny Pacquiao or Miguel Cotto. It was announced that De La Hoya and Pound For Pound superstar Manny Pacquiao had agreed to fight December 6, 2008 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the fight would be at the welterweight limit of 147 lbs. On August 28, 2008 a teleconference was held by Golden Boy Promotions to officially announce the fight. <ref>Rafael, Dan.Sources: De La Hoya, Pacquiao agree to Dec. 6 fight in Vegas, ESPN.com</ref>

Pre-fight hype

Presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank, Inc., the bout was scheduled as a 12-round, non-title fight contested at the 147-pound welterweight limit. Although Pacquiao went into the fight recognized as the leading pound-for-pound boxer in the world, some boxing pundits have speculated that 147 pounds could be too far above his natural weight against the larger De La Hoya. Many boxing analysts believed the fight would favor Oscar. Boxing analysts stated that Oscar's size, reach, experience, and good chin made Manny the underdog in this mega fight. Training for the fight Oscar hired trainers Angelo Dundee, Nacho Beristain, and young boxing talent Edwin Valero. Oscar told the news that his team is unbeatable, while Freddie Roach said, "No one is going to be able to help Oscar pull the trigger when he faces Manny Pacquiao on Dec. 6".

Tickets reportedly sold out just hours after they went on sale. The total gate revenues were said to be nearly $17 million dollars. That amount apparently gave the bout the second-largest gate revenue in boxing history (after the De La Hoya-Mayweather Jr. fight in May 5, 2007 which generated $18.4 million in gate revenue).

The fight

Manny Pacquiao soundly defeated Oscar De La Hoya, surprising many pre-fight analysts who had predicted a victory by De La Hoya. The fight ended at the beginning of the 9th round after Oscar and his corner threw in the towel.

Rounds 1-4

On round 1, De La Hoya's opening punches missed Pacquiao; Pacquiao's own left straight then a combo connects. The boxers exchange punches, with Pacquiao's another straight left ending the round. At the start of the second round, a double jab by De La Hoya persuades Pacquiao to retreat. Only the second of De La Hoya's two combinations hits Pacquiao. A combo from Pacquiao leaves De La Hoya's face reddened. A flurry of punches from Pacquiao ends the round. The third round was more of the same as De La Hoya wasn't able to answer Pacquiao's combos.

Rounds 5-7

Pacquiao unleashes a flurry of punches in round 5; De La Hoya saw it but didn't react fast enough. De La Hoya himself lands a body shot and a couple of hooks, but the two boxers exchange punches at the end of the round. The next round began as the last ended, with the men exchanging jabs. Pacquiao appears winded as he missed a left hook, but the follow-up lands on target. Pacquiao lands a right, and a four-punch combo to end the round.

On round 7, Pacquiao lands a jab as De La Hoya misses his; Pacquiao unleashes another flurry of punches as De La Hoya's legs almost gave out, just as he ceased punching back. His uppercut misses Pacquiao as his opponent releases more jabs to end round 7.

Round 8 and aftermath

Pacquiao pursues De La Hoya's body but was warned by referee Tony Weeks to "keep them up" (keep punches above the belt). De La Hoya's right connects, but Pacquiao's combo pins De La Hoya in the corner. Another left by Pacquiao dazes the Mexican-American. Another combo wobbles De La Hoya. Pacquiao throws another combo as De La Hoya goes for the body. The Filipino unleashes a four-punch combo to end the round.

The fight is stopped before the start of the ninth round to award Pacquiao the victory.

Pacquiao was ahead on all three judges' scorecards before the stoppage, with two judges scoring the fight at 80-71 (Pacquiao won all rounds) and one scoring it at 79-72 (Pacquiao won 7 rounds and drew 1). After the bout trainer Freddy Roach stated, "We knew we had him after the first round. He had no legs, he was hesitant and he was shot." Confirming Roach's pre-fight predictions that he'd grown too old, De La Hoya crossed the ring to Pacquiao's corner after the bout was stopped and told Roach, "You're right Freddie. I don't have it anymore." When asked by reporters whether he would continue fighting, De La Hoya responded, "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."


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