Filipino boxing champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao TKOs Oscar “Golden Boy” de la Hoya in the “Dream Match”

Oscar “Golden Boy” de la Hoya (39-5, 30 KOs) and Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (47-3-2, 35 KOs)  fought Dec. 6, 2008 in a welterweight fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas that was billed as the “Dream Match.”

Pacquiao moved up two weight divisions to face de la Hoya, who was considered boxing’s greatest superstar during the past 10 years.  For de la Hoya, 35, it was a chance to prove that he was still a great fighter or, perhaps, to show that it was time for him to retire from the sport.

A gold medalist in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, de la Hoya had won 10 world titles in six different weight divisions.  His victories came over big names in the sport like Julio Cesar Chavez,  Fernando Vargas and Pernell Whitaker.   However, de la Hoya, a native of Mexico and East Los Angeles, had fought only four times during the past four years and lost twice.

Three of de la Hoya’s five losses came at the MGM: to Floyd Mayweather, Jr., in 2007, to Bernard Hopkins in 2004 and to Shane Mosley in 2003.  But the MGM is also where de la Hoya beat Richard Mayorga, Arturo Gatti, Felix Strum and Javier Castillejo.







Pacquiao, who will be 30 on Dec. 17,  2008, is considered by many to be the best “pound for pound” boxer in the world.  He had won his last eight fights.  His wins included two knockout victories over Erik Morales together with wins over Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Martinez. (Pacquiao’s last loss was a 12-round unanimous decision by Morales three years ago at the MGM.)

Because of Pacquiao’s wins over Morales, Berrera and Martinez, he earned the nickname of the “Mexecutioner.”

“They call me Mexecutioner but I don’t like it, I’m just doing my job,” Pacquiao said.  

Shortly before fight time, de la Hoya was favored.  The best odds  for gamblers backing de lay Hoya were -150.  (A bet of $150 on de la Hoya would pay $100 if he won.)  The best odds for Pacquiao to win were +180. (A bet of $100 on Pacquiao would pay $180 if he prevailed.)

“I will be extremely, extremely disappointed if this fight doesn’t end in a knockout,” de la Hoya said.  “It will be a total disaster for me.”

de la Hoya added:

If you have a fighter who is going to come at me, a fighter who is going to throw some strong punches with full force and is going to stay in front of me and has his heart to fight as hard as he can, then I welcome it.  I open up the door and let them right into my home.  Hey, let’s fight.

Pacquiao, a native of the Philippines, made his debut 13 years ago as a 106-pounder.  He won his first title at 112 pounds and his last title during June 2008 at 135 pounds, a lightweight bout against David Diaz.  He had never fought an opponent as large as de la Hoya, who fought at weights as high as 160 pounds.

“It’s going to be boxing history if I win the fight,” Pacquiao said.  “I believe my power and my speed can beat him.”

“Manny Pacquiao can handle the weight gain because of his power and speed,” de la Hoya said.   de la Hoya added:

He’s not the slowest fighter out there.  He’s possibly the fastest fighter out there.  A Manny Pacquiao who’s  going to jump up 10 pounds, 20 pounds or 30 pounds is still  a fast Manny Pacquiao so I think it’s not going to affect him that much the way it affected me because I jumped up six weight classes  and by the sixth one, it was tough.

Pacquiao is a hero in the Philippines and is mobbed everywhere in goes in his country.   President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called on the nation to rally behind Pacquiao and to pray for him because the fighter had brought so much international honor and recognition to the Philippines.

“The entire nation, a nation of 90 million people, is focusing on [Pacquiao’s] every move,” said boxing promoter Bob Arum.  “It is the most important topic of conversation in the Philippines.”

“If Manny wins, I see him as the greatest Asian fighter of all time,” said boxing historian and sports writer Bert Sugar.

Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, predicted that the fight would be stopped in the ninth round.  de la Hoya predicted that he would knock out Pacquiao within five rounds.

Pacquiao entered the ring for the scheduled 12-round bout dressed in a red, white and blue robe: the colors of the Philippine flag. He went directly to his corner where he kneeled for several seconds to pray.  de la Hoya then entered the ring in a red robe with a trailing banner depicting the American flag on one side and the Mexican flag on the other side.

Before referee Tony Weeks gave the signal to the fighters to begin, three national anthems were played: the anthem of the Philippines for Pacquiao and the anthems of Mexico and the United States for de la Hoya.  Within the crowd of about 16,000 persons were entertainers such as Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria and Russell Crowe, sports stars such as Magic  Johnson, Gary Sheffield and Reggie Miller, and boxers such as Mike Tyson, Thomas Hearns and Juan Manuel Marquez.

The fight was described by the Associated Press as “lopsided from the beginning, with Pacquiao landing punch after punch while De La Hoya chased after him, trying to catch him with a big punch.”  

Before the beginning of the ninth round, de la Hoya’s left eye was closed shut as he sat on his stool.  The ring doctor and de la Hoya’s cornermen discussed the fighter’s condition.  de la Hoya did not complain when it was decided that the fight must be stopped.  It was only the second time in de la Hoya’s 16-year pro career that he was stopped in a fight.

“He was empty,” said de la Hoya’s trainer, Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain.  “I stopped the fight.”

de la Hoya got off his stool and walked across the ring to congratulate Pacquiao.

“You’re still my idol,” Pacquiao said to de la Hoya.

“No, you’re my idol,” de la Hoya replied.

“We knew we had him after the first round,” said Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer said.  “He had no legs, he was hesitant and he was shot.”

“Freddie, you’re right,” de la Hoya said.  “I just don’t have it anymore.”

“Oscar was in good condition but he couldn’t control the southpaw stance or Manny’s style,” said Nacho Beristain,  in his first fight as de lay Hoya’s trainer.  “He just didn’t seem to have the strength to stop him.”

Two of the three judges awarded every round to Pacquiao.  One judge awarded the first round to de la Hoya.  The score cards were 79-72, 80-71 and  80-71 for Pacquiao.  It was reported that Pacquiao was paid $11 million and de la Hoya was paid $20 million for the fight.

“He’s just a great fighter,” de la Hoya said about Pacquiao.  “I have nothing bad to say about him.  He  prepared like a true champion.”

Pacquiao’s next big fight is likely to be against England’s Ricky “The Hitman”  Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs) in the spring or early summer.


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One Response to “Filipino boxing champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao TKOs Oscar “Golden Boy” de la Hoya in the “Dream Match””

  1. Sports Says:


    Thanks for the great information really enjoyed the read !…

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