'Golden Boy' no match for Pacquiao


Boxing: Manny Pacquiao produced an astonishing display to stop Oscar De La Hoya after eight rounds of their superfight in Las Vegas last night.

The reigning P4P king disproved the old adage that size matters by moving up three weight divisions in just eight months to hand out a sustained beating to the faded 'Golden Boy'.

In March this year Pacquiao was plying his trade at super-featherweight, while De La Hoya was a light-middle.

Here they met at welterweight, and Oscar was expected to hold all the aces in terms of size and reach.

But once the hype was over and they finally got in the ring, it was speed that mattered as the Filipino icon first befuddled De La Hoya, and then battered him.

Manny started the bout by boxing well from the outside, and even in the early going he just couldn't miss with his straight left lead through the De La Hoya guard.

Oscar meanwhile, who came in at his lightest weight in 11 years (145lbs), appeared tense and sluggish, struggling to get his punches off with any speed or power.

He had trouble landing ,anything as Pacquiao continued his smash-and-grab raid by hitting and moving with bewildering speed.

By the halfway stage De La Hoya's left eye was starting to swell, and Pacquaio was pitching a virtual shutout on the scorecards.

In the seventh it was time for Manny to move in for the kill, and with De La Hoya seemingly powerless to get off the ropes, the Filipino icon scored at will with sustained attacks.

De La Hoya signalled that he wanted to go on despite his struggles, and did keep Pacquiao at bay for the first two minutes of round eight.

But in the dying seconds of the round he was back on the ropes a broken man as Pacquiao handed out more punishment. It was like Ali v Holmes back in 1980 - a once-great fighter faded beyond recognition acting as a virtual punch bag.

With his eye virtually shut, Oscar was told by referee Tony Weeks between rounds that if he kept eating punches the fight would be stopped.

More punishment wasn't necessary though, as De La Hoya's corner pulled him out before the ninth could get under way.

For Pacquiao it brought to a close one of the most brilliant performances in ring history. And next up could be a showdown with Ricky Hatton.

For De La Hoya meanwhile, it surely signalled the end of a golden age.