Pacquiao finishes De La Hoya
The potent Filipino star sent the 35-year-old to the hospital - and possibly ended his career
LAS VEGAS - For Manny Pacquiao, there was a call from his president and the overwhelming gratitude of a country that finally has something to celebrate.
For Oscar De La Hoya, after an eight-round pounding by Pacquiao on Saturday night, there was a trip to the hospital and the grim reality that his career is over at age 35.
Pacquiao, a 29-year-old from the Philippines, came up two weight classes to fight De La Hoya and raised his record to 48-3-2 with 36 knockouts. De La Hoya (39-6) dropped down to meet him at 147 pounds.
Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, trained De La Hoya for his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., where he saw for the first time that De La Hoya could not throw punches when he spotted an opening.
In the opposite corner this time, he watched his fighter give De La Hoya such a beating that he quit after eight rounds of getting punched in the face.
Roach has Parkinson's disease. No one knows for sure, but it's likely he got it from being punched in the head way too many times. He, too, was told to quit, but fought five more times after that and took a beating in four of those fights.
"I hope Oscar has enough sense to call it a day," he said. "I know he doesn't want to go out like this but if he doesn't go out, he might go out really, really hurt."
De La Hoya was noncommittal in the ring right after the fight, saying he wanted to continue fighting but is worried that the reflexes may not be there anymore. They certainly weren't against Pacquiao, who was able to score at will mainly because De La Hoya couldn't pull the trigger on his punches as he came inside.
Pacquiao was so dominant he won every round on two ringside scorecards and all but the first round on the third. The seventh round was such a massacre that Pacquiao was credited with landing 45 punches to De La Hoya's head while getting back only four in return.
De La Hoya tried desperately to land a big punch in the final round, but his body wouldn't do what his mind was urging. His promoter and business partner Richard Schaefer began yelling to the corner to stop the fight, while his wife ran over to urge them to do the same.
In the end, it was De La Hoya who simply declined to come out for the ninth round. If his career is indeed over, it ended ignominiously with him on a ring stool, unwilling to take a beating any longer.
"My heart still wants to fight, that's for sure," De La Hoya said. "But when your physical doesn't respond, what can you do? I have to be smart and make sure I think about my future plans."
De La Hoya has won only three of his last seven fights and was stopped in two of them. He was thoroughly by a smaller fighter who was fighting at 129 pounds just nine months ago.
Pacquiao was credited with landing 224 of 585 punches to just 83 of 402 for De La Hoya.
"You're still my idol," Pacquiao told De La Hoya afterward.
"No, you're my idol," De La Hoya said.