Oscar is in big trouble in the eighth.
Round 1: We’re under way and this is a real journey into the unknown. Will it be worth the wait? Let’s find out now. Cagey opening with Pacman staying on the outside and Oscar sizing him up. De La Hoya on the front foot trying to establish his stiff jab. Pacman trying to get off early and then has to duck a De La Hoya hook. Pacman looking sharp though. Lands a couple of times to big cheers inside the arena. Oscar having trouble pinning Manny down early. Pacquiao just misses with a big left counter. Pacquiao apparently growing in confidence after a good start. First left hook lands from De La Hoya, Pacquiao takes it. Left from De La Hoya scores but Pacman fires back with a straight left through De La Hoya’s guard. Oscar struggling early against the southpaw stance. Close round, one up to Pacquiao for me.
Round 2: Out for the second and can Pacman repeat that success of the first? Manny on the ropes early but gets off them very quickly. Again that left lead from Manny scores. Oscar hits back with a super jab. Another straight left from Manny scores – in and out here, troubling De La Hoya with his speed and movement. Oscar goes to the body but Pacman fires back with that lightning left. Good uppercut from Pacquiao but nothing to hurt De La Hoya yet, though the P4P king is boxing nicely. Nice combination from Pacquiao and again the left is good. He’s just too quick for Oscar at present, but he’s heavier than ever before. Will that tell later on? Manny’s round again for me – 20-18 after two.
Round 3: Oscar looks tense so far and hasn’t managed to get Pacquiao in range. Needs to establish a foothold in the fight. Needs to slow Manny down somehow. Landing that left hook would be the ideal way. Pacquiao hitting and running – and trying to avoid taking anything in return. Oscar meanwhile looking all the time for the big shot to make that size advantage count. Oscar lands with a right and has Manny on the ropes, but Pacman escapes quickly. Then Manny scores again with that left. Two jabs from Oscar but Manny responds with a nice combination to the body. Not hurtful, but scoring shots nonetheless. Then another shot to the rib cage of the Golden Boy. Oscar misses with a left and then a right as the bell sounds. Another close round, again I’d have to edge it for Manny. Three in row for me but how are the judges seeing it?
Round 4: Ricky Hatton, ringside for Sky Sports, says Oscar doesn’t look very well and Manny is boxing fantastically. Two more lefts score again for Pacman early in the fourth. He’s ramming it right down the middle between the Golden Boy’s guard. Nice combination from Manny but he’s having to move an awful lot to stay out of range. Oscar lands with a left – bit more success for him in this round. Body punches from both men in little flurries. Pacman putting on a clinic so far here. Oscar can’t cope with the speed of Manny. Another round for the Pacman on my card. 40-36 so far. Nacho Beristain goes to work in the De La Hoya corner. Needs to get Oscar to relax a little.
Round 5: Good right from Oscar to start the fifth. He’s only throwing single shots though. Nothing to really put Manny under any sort of pressure. Manny still on his toes but Osar is trying to push him round a bit. Can’t believe Manny can keep this pace up for 12, but he’s scored with another cracking punch there – this time a right. He’s boxing De La Hoya’s ears off in this session. He can’t miss. Oscar looks old and slow. Pacquiao now the aggressor – moving forward and throwing body shots. Always one step ahead. Oscar needs to land something to change the course of this fight. Gets in close and hits Pacman with a couple of uppercuts. Manny takes them though. Another good combination from Pacman and another round to the Pacman on my card. He’s pitched a shutout so far – 50-45.
Round 6: Moving towards the halfway stage now and frankly this has been pretty embarrassing so far for De La Hoya. But the Pacman is breathing pretty heavily between rounds. Can he last the pace? We’ll find out soon. Oscar really struggling against the southpaw stance, and the speed of Pacquiao. Manny again controlling the pace in the sixth. Oscar is surrendering centre ring. More body shots from Manny. De La Hoya spits back momentary defiance with a right. Manny scoring at will with that lead left. Two in quick succession. Oscar looks tense and befuddled. Manny meanwhile just cannot miss Oscar’s face with that left hand. Oscar trying to establish the jab but not being allowed to get Pacman in range. Manny is never still and Oscar can’t pin him down. Feints and lefts to end the round for Pacman. Another round to him on my card. I’ve got it 60-54 in favour of the Filipino.
Round 7: Ricky Hatton between rounds describes it as “embarrassingly one-sided, and adds of Oscar: “Either way he’s messed the weight up”. We’ll see. Freddie Roach said Oscar can’t pull the trigger any more. Certainly looks that way so far. Pacman again boxing off the front foot in the seventh. He’s stepping in and out and scores with another left to De Hoya’s face. Now Manny becoming more aggressive – starting to unload some bombs. Oscar on the ropes and taking sustained punishment. He’s throwing nothing back. De La Hoya’s left eye is closing – he’s in massive trouble here. Manny scoring at will and I don’t think Oscar can go on much longer. Manny moving in for the kill. Astonishing round, one-way traffic. Will Oscar’s corner pull him out – he looks an old man. Face puffed up, left eye virtually shut. Beristain talking quietly. Oscar wants to go on. Obviously another round for Pacquiao by the way. You could argue it as a 10-8 even though there was no knockdown.
Round 8: This could be the last round of a glorious career for Oscar De La Hoya, unless he can pull something amazing out of the bag. Oscar on the front foot and trying to recover from the torrid depths of the seventh when he must have been on the brink of being stopped. No timing in Oscar’s shots. Pacman meanwhile is just too quick and he can’t miss. Oscar again on the ropes and in trouble. Pacquiao again connects with a cracking left. Oscar on the ropes, so tentative, so easy to hit. Pacman raises his hands over his head and smacks his gloves together. Almost asking Oscar to fight. De La Hoya on the ropes, takes another big left but just does survive to the bell. Doctor asking Oscar if he has a headache or if he’s dizzy. Ref Weeks in the corner – tells Oscar that if he keeps taking punches he’s stopping the fight. Doesn’t look good for the Golden Boy.
Round 9: It’s over!!! Before Oscar can get off his stool for round nine he’s pulled out by his corner and MANNY PACQUIAO HAS STOPPED OSCAR DE LA HOYA. Ring history here in the MGM Grand. Pacquiao in tearful prayer in his corner and now milking the applause and cheers from this astonished crowd. Oscar meanwhile cuts a sad and broken figure. He got old before our very eyes tonight.Roach was right all along, Pacquiao was brilliant and a deserved winner. An astonishing performance – won every round for me and just grew in confidence. Rounds 7 and 8 were like watching Ali vs Holmes all over again. A faded legend being used as a punch bag.