Eat crow, Lance Pugmire (spoilers ahead for the Pacquiao-De La Hoya fight)
Well, the sight of De La Hoya's battered face, his left eye nearly closed, is all the proof we need of what Manny Pacquiao can do. What made the Golden Boy (El Muchacho de Oro) think that he was still young enough to defeat Pacquiao? He looked more like El Viejo, just standing there for much of the fight.
Pac-Man is truly one of the greatest boxers...ever. Much ado was made of Pac being lighter, but his official weigh-in of 142 pounds was not significantly less than DLH's official weigh-in of 145. And unofficially, Pac weighed in today at 148.5! It shows how weight can fluctuate very quickly water and a couple of big meals can add weight.
I was astonished that Pac didn't really look bigger than before, meaning his muscles weren't bigger and stronger, but more dense and stronger. It makes sense now as to how he can stay so fast: he gets stronger but without the added bulk. It helps his arm movements, but also his legs and feet. There are many videos online that show him training, and the methods are clearly effective. This is probably Pac's maximum weight class, because anything higher will leave him at a real disadvantage in reach, but then again, De La Hoya had a reach advantage.
Pac entered the area with "We Will Rock You" playing, while DLH chose something Mexican-sounding that I didn't recognize. The Philippine, Mexican and U.S. national anthems were performed. The one who sang ours, some hip-hop singer from her looks, completely butchered it (so what's new?). "Tharooooooow the perilous fi-ee-i-ee-i-ee-ight, o-ah-o-ahr tha ramparts we wa-i-a-i-a-i-atched, were so ga-i-a-i-a-i-llantly sta-re-ah-e-ah-e-ah-eaming!" Someone should have shot the bitch right then and there.
Then the fight began. Round 1 was one of the most amazing rounds I had seen in a long time. Pure finesse from both, but DLH just couldn't peg Pac like he wanted. Pac was too slippery! DLH would get him against the ropes a couple of times, but Pac like a fish would slide out of it. I found it hard to score, but I gave it to Pac.
Round 2: Pac was clearly in control. DLH is bigger and has a bigger reach, which are not helping him at all. Pac definitely won this. His strategy is to let DLH have the center of the ring all he wants, even if it means being on the ropes. His footwork is far superior. All that extra weight hasn't diminished his agility one bit.
Round 3: I thought DLH got cut below an eye. I was ICQing a friend and wrote, "HE'S CUT! HE'S CUT!" just like in Rocky IV. But after the round they were only putting ointment on redness; the skin hadn't broken yet. This might have been scored in DLH's favor, and it would turn out to be the closest he'd come to winning a single round.
Round 4: One of the fight announcers said it all, "Many wondered why Pacquiao took the fight. After the first four rounds, we have to wonder why De La Hoya took the fight!"
Round 5: Pac was hitting DLH with virtually every shot he attempted! Whatever DLH's strategy was, as devastating as his left hand has been for a decade, he was completely unprepared for Pac's own left hand, often coming right up the middle.
Round 6: A very defensive round. At this point they're really waiting for the other to move. But in the end, DLH landed 20% of his punches, while Pac still did a respectable 37%. "And Pacquiao is gradually reconfiguring De La Hoya's face..."
Round 7: Positively brutal...for DLH alone. His left eye was really closing up, and the announcer said, "This is the most power punches ever landed on De La Hoya in a single round in his career." Simultaneously, it might have been the most tremendous round of Pac's entire career! Or as it turned out, the second most tremendous round. DLH was already starting to bend down against Pac's furious flurry of abdominal blows.
Round 8: The 7th round was already a brutal, punishing round for DLH, and a display of Pac's all-around-excellent offensive skills. All that was exceeded by the most humiliating round of DLH's career. Pac landed a four-punch combo that was textbook. First a solid left that stunned DLH, leaving him unprepared for the successive right-left-right. Simply amazing.
In the end, "A humiliating defeat for De La Hoya who had to sit in his corner and listen to a discussion between his trainer, the cornermen, the referee and the ring doctor" about whether to stop before the 9th round. DLH was getting too tired, too dazed, too afraid that he was like a rookie fighter being schooled, and I think another round would have seen him flat on his behind.
Time for the old man to retire. He can still make plenty of money promoting, although it's tough, of course, not to be the one winning.
DLH: 83 punches landed, 402 thrown
Pac: 224 punches landed, 585 thrown
DLH: 51 power punches landed, 164 thrown
Pac: 164 power punches landed, 333 thrown
Excellent coverage of the fight here.
Next stop for Pacquiao: never mind Hatton, will Floyd Mayweather come out of retirement?