Sporting blinding speed and grit, Manny "The Pacman" Pacquiao scored a decisive technical knockout victory over a heavily-outclassed Oscar de la Hoya in their highly anticipated "Dream Match" Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The corner of the 10-time world champion decided to yield before the start of the ninth round after Pacquiao outboxed and nearly closed de la Hoya's left eye in the course of eight rounds.
The American fighter was already sporting a puffy left eye by the end of Round 8, prompting him to drop the bout.
“I don’t want to be overconfident, I continued to counter his left and right hand," Pacquiao told ringside commentator Larry Merchant during a post fight interview. "I knew it was just a matter of time.”
The World Boxing Council lightweight champ also cited speed as the key to victory.
"I think I did well tonight. I'm lucky I win...speed will be the key of this fight and I used it tonight," said Pacquiao in a separate interview by Fighthype.com.
De la Hoya, meanwhile, said the Filipino truly deserves the win after giving out a masterful performance.
"He's just a great fighter, he deserves everything that he's accomplished," said de la Hoya, who was humble in defeat.
"Manny Pacquiao is a great fighter. He deserves all the credit in the world. He fought a tremendous fight. He was the better man...I wish him all the best," he added.
Ever the gentleman, Pacquiao maintained that the "Golden Boy" is still his idol. De la Hoya, however, said that he should be the one saying that he looks up to Pacquiao.
"You're still my idol," Pacquiao told de la Hoya. "No, now you're my idol," de la Hoya replied to him.
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's Hall of Fame coach and trainer, meanwhile, said that he has proved himself right when he said that at 35 years old, de la Hoya "couldn't pull the trigger anymore."
"I thought he couldn't pull the trigger anymore and I proved I was right," said Roach.
Fighthype.com's score cards had Pacquiao winning, 80-72, throughout eight rounds. Compubox indicators also showed that Pacquiao landed 195 out of 333 power punches compared to de la Hoya's 51/164.
'I just wait and fight'
When asked about his future opponent, particularly British superstar Ricky Hatton, Pacquiao said he’ll just have to wait and see.
“My job is to train hard and fight, I just wait and fight,” said Pacquiao.
Aside from Hatton, whom he would likely meet at 140 pounds, observers would like to see the Filipino fighting a top pound-for-pound fighter like Floyd Mayweather Jr. Other fighters waiting in line for Pacquiao are Venezuelan Edwin Valero, Victor Ortiz and his old nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez.
The General Santos native, however, he'd leave the pick to his manager and promoter.
Pacquiao said he would rather concentrate on training.
The Filipino has officially vacated the WBC lightweight title which he won from Mexican-American David Diaz last June.
Despite the all the talks about their size difference between both fighters, Pacquiao and de la Hoya entered the ring nearly as equals.
Unofficial weight reports said de la Hoya entered the ring at 147 pounds, which is 13 pounds lighter than his usual fighting weight of 160. This is an indication that the Mexican-American wanted to obtain speed with a lighter weight. Pacquiao came in at 148.5 pounds with the same speed and power.
With such blinding speed, the Filipino darted in and out of de la Hoya’s defense in the first six rounds. He peppered the boxing superstar with rapid succession to the head and body.
Pacquiao added pressure against de la Hoya in Rounds 7 and 8, cornering dthe American superstar with multiple combinations before retreating out of reach.
The Filipino even gamely absorbed de la Hoya's punches, showing that he could take his opponent's strength.
With the win, Pacquiao improved his record to 48-3-2 while de la Hoya absorbed his sixth loss against 39 wins.
Prior the fight, boxing purists have labelled the bout a mismatch as they cited huge size discrepancy between the two fighters.
Pacquiao who stands 5’6 ½” gave away a four-inch disadvantage to de la Hoya’s 5’ 10 ½”. The Mexican-American also has a 73” reach, giving him a six-inch advantage over the Filipino’s 67”.
The Filipino stepped up two weight classes to meet de la Hoya in the 147-lb division. He last fought and won the WBC lightweight crown against David Diaz in Las Vegas in June this year.
De la Hoya last fought at 147 lbs when he lost by split decision to Shane Mosley on June 17, 2000. The following year, he won against Arturo Gatti at 146.
Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer told Ronnie Nathanielsz of InsideSports.ph that Pacquiao gets a guaranteed purse of $6 million while de la Hoya gets $20 million. With Dennis Gaviola and Aaron Magno