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Monday, December 29, 2008

TUF flunkie Evans smashes Griffin

Rashad Evans was ripped left and right on his season of "The Ultimate Fighter." He was too small and Matt Hughes said his attitude sucked. UFC president Dana White thought he was the worst prospect of all the heavyweights on Season 2. He overcame everything thrown his way that season to win the title and now he's blazed his way through some of the best 205-pounders in the world to become the UFC light heavyweight champ. In an all-out slugfest, it was ground work that did it for the former Michigan State wrestler who stopped Forrest Griffin via TKO at 2:46 of the third round Saturday.

Evans caught a right kick from Griffin and was able to score a takedown. The former champ's guard was loose and allowed Evans to rise to his feet two or three times to land some solid blows. It was the last time that spelled doom for Griffin. Evans stood up, landed four rights, the first and third really rocked Griffin. Evans then switched to his left and pounded out Griffin with six big shots.

-from yahoo

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pacquiao era begins with demolition

LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao unequivocally established himself as the finest fighter in the world Saturday.

But he accomplished an even more stunning feat when he not only defeated Oscar De La Hoya but battered him into retirement with a shockingly one-sided victory in their welterweight bout before 15,001 at the MGM Grand Garden.

De La Hoya, the 1992 Olympic gold-medal winner and a professional world champion in six weight classes, was hammered as he never was in 44 previous bouts before trainer Nacho Beristain mercifully asked referee Tony Weeks to halt the carnage after eight one-sided rounds.

The fight ended any debate whether Pacquiao or light heavyweight Joe Calzaghe deserves the top spot in the mythical pound-for-pound race, but it also sent a one-time legend into retirement.

De La Hoya, who was taken to a local hospital for a precautionary examination, never in his illustrious career had absorbed such a beating. Pacquiao’s hands were far too quick and, despite the fact that he was moving up from lightweight, his punches were much too hard for the Golden Boy to handle.

It was clear by the third round that De La Hoya was going to need a miracle to reverse the pummeling he was taking.

Pacquiao displayed every punch in the arsenal, raking the Golden Boy with straight lefts that nearly closed De La Hoya’s left eye and stunning him with hooks, jabs and uppercuts.

It was so savage of a beating that it was hard not to feel sorry for De La Hoya. At the end of the bout, a thoroughly beaten De La Hoya trudged across the ring and met his one-time trainer, Freddie Roach.

“You’re right,” De La Hoya said to Roach, who had prepared Pacquiao brilliantly. “I don’t have it any more.”

Pacquiao was a 2-1 underdog, largely because he was challenging a man who had fought at super welterweight or middleweight exclusively for the last seven-and-a-half years. Pacquiao had only fought once as high as lightweight and had fought 75 percent of his bouts before Saturday at super bantamweight or lower.

But Pacquiao unofficially weighed a pound-and-a-half more than De La Hoya – 148½ to 147 – and was clearly stronger and better Saturday.

“The media, the press is never wrong,” Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said. “You all said it was a mismatch and it was a mismatch.”

De La Hoya didn’t officially announce his retirement, but his business partners, Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley, spoke of his career in the past tense. In his brilliant career, De La Hoya took on most of the greatest fighters of his generation, but never before was he beaten as cleanly and decisively as he was by Pacquiao.

Not when he was knocked out by a brutal shot to the liver by Hopkins in 2004, not when he dropped a split decision to then-pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year and not when a tactical mistake cost him a victory against Felix Trinidad.

“Pacquiao was phenomenal,” Hopkins said.

Pacquiao was never threatened by De La Hoya’s vaunted left hook, negating De La Hoya’s best chance of winning the fight.

It was something Roach had worked tirelessly on in the gym and something he unwaveringly told the world that Pacquiao would do.

“Taking the left hand away was a key,” Roach said. “We took Oscar’s left hand away from him and once we did that, the fight was over.”

Pacquiao called De La Hoya his idol and said he was honored to have had the opportunity to face him. But he didn’t spare his idol any pain, working his plan like a hired gun.

“It was nothing personal,” Pacquiao said. “I just came to do my job.”

He was far more impressive against De La Hoya than Mayweather, who retired in June as the widely acknowledged best fighter in the world. Pacquiao declined to say whether he’d

be willing to fight Mayweather, saying it was up to Arum to decide.

Arum said he wouldn’t discuss a potential opponent for Pacquiao until after the holidays, but it’s clear he’s sitting on a gold mine. With De La Hoya expected to wander into retirement, Pacquiao will take his mantle as the game’s biggest draw.

Fights against Mayweather, if he comes out of retirement, and Ricky Hatton are going to be massive events that would likely guarantee each men eight-figure paydays.

Arum wanted none of that talk, preferring to revel in one of the most satisfying victories of his nearly 50-year promotional career.

“Next to the night when George Foreman won the heavyweight championship of the world by knocking out Michael Moorer, this is it,” Arum said. “These are my two most memorable fights as a promoter.”

This was the boxing rite of passage that has become all too familiar over the years. It happened to Joe Louis against Rocky Marciano, to Muhammad Ali against Larry Holmes and to Julio Cesar Chavez against De La Hoya.

A younger, faster and better man snuffed out the star of one of the game’s all-time greats.

“Hats off to Manny Pacquiao, because he was incredible,” said Mosley, who has two wins over De La Hoya. “Remember what Oscar has done, though. He made this sport a great sport, and created this so that all of you people could come to see a great event.”

But De La Hoya didn’t have that one last great fight left and was forced to accept a beating as the final act of a Hall of Fame career.

“It happens to everyone,” said legendary trainer Angelo Dundee, who assisted De La Hoya in camp.

Dundee had trained Ali, Foreman and Sugar Ray Leonard, among many of the game’s greats, and had seen this scene before.

“I thought Oscar had what it takes to beat Pacquiao, but this happens when you let the guys fight the fight,” Dundee said. “You just have to give the other guy credit.”

Yes you do.

Oscar De La Hoya is the past.

It’s Pacquiao’s time now.

- from yahoo sports

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pacquiao makes De La Hoya quit after eight

De La Hoya closed as a 2-1 favorite. De La Hoya is minus-200 and Pacquiao is plus-170. The over-under is 9½ rounds. Pacquiao comes out with a slight weight advantage tonight. On the unofficial HBO scales, he weighed 148½ and De La Hoya was 147. De La Hoya is the aggressor early, but nothing lands in the first minute. Straight left from Pacquiao and then a combination from Pacquiao connects. Lead left by Pacquiao. Right to the body by Oscar. Manny misses a big hook. Straight left by Pacquiao. Combination to the head by De La Hoya backs Pacquiao up. Right by Oscar connects. Straight left by Manny.
Iole scores it 10-9, Pacquiao

Lead right by De La Hoya and a right hook from Pacquiao. Double jab by De La Hoya. Pacquiao is circling away. Combination from Oscar but doesn’t land flush. Combination to the body by De La Hoya. Right-left from Pacquiao. De La Hoya’s face is reddened from the punches. Pacquiao left lands and then an uppercut. Lead left by Pacquiao keeps getting through. Difference in hand speed is stark. Hard jab and then a left by Pacquiao. Lead left by Pacquiao.
Iole scores it 10-9, Pacquiao.

Lead left from Pacquiao to open the round connects. De La Hoya has to stop that. De La Hoya is doing nothing offensively in first minute of round. Pacquiao flicks a jab that is short. Right to the head and left to the body from De La Hoya. Lead left again by Pacquiao. Left to the body from Pacquiao. Oscar seems befuddled. Right hook to the body from Pacquiao.
Iole scores it 10-9, Pacquiao

De La Hoya connects with a jab, but first 30 seconds of round are very slow. They’re circling but not throwing much. Pacquiao lands a right hook. Triple jab from Pacquiao. Combination from Pacquiao backs De La Hoya up. The way this is going, it wouldn’t be a shock if De La Hoya were to quit on the stool at some point. He’s taking a tremendous amount of punishment. Body shot by Oscar lands and then two lefts. Oscar’s left eye is closing. He looks like a beaten, old and shot fighter.
Iole scores it 10-9, Pacquiao

Nothing happens in first minute of round. Pacquiao lands left to body and a left to the cheek. They trade in the corner and Pacquiao gets the best of it. Straight left from Pacquiao lands. Hard straight left by Pacquiao snaps Oscar’s head back. De La Hoya’s left eye is a mess. Right by Pacquiao lands on that eye. This may be stopped soon by the corner.
Iole scores it 10-9, Pacquiao

Lead right by De La Hoya lands to open the round. Pacquiao rakes De La Hoya with a three-punch combination. Double jab by Manny. Pacquiao batters De La Hoya into the corner. He’s pinned on the ropes and Pacquiao is firing away. Fight is close to ending. Pacquiao is hitting De La Hoya hard with everything he throws. Oscar is in big, big trouble. Left to the body by Pacquiao hurts Oscar. Oscar has never been beaten like this in any of his 44 previous fights. Pacquiao is overwhelming him.
Iole scores it 10-8, Pacquiao

Pacquiao goes to the body and is warned by referee Tony Weeks to keep them up. Lead right by Oscar connects. Combination by Pacquiao pins Oscar in the corner. Lead left by Pacquiao buzzes De La Hoya. Combination wobbles him in the corner. Double jab by Pacquiao. Combination by Pacquiao lands. De La Hoya goes to the body. Four-punch combination by Pacquiao lands and hurts Oscar.
Iole scores it 10-9, Pacquiao

Fight is stopped just as the round is set to begin. Manny Pacquiao is the winner. Official time is 3:00 of the eighth.

-from yahoo

Friday, December 5, 2008

Confident Pacquiao ready for de la Hoya boxing match

MANILA (AFP) - - Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao said he was focused and ready for his weekend "dream match" with American Oscar de la Hoya.

Pacquiao, the World Boxing Council lightweight champion who is acknowledged by many experts as the world's best pound-for-pound fighter, said he was "ready and excited" going into Saturday's fight, billed by promoters as the "dream match" against the much bigger de la Hoya.

"I am prepared for the Saturday fight. This will be a good fight," Pacquiao told local radio from Las Vegas on the eve of the official weigh-in Friday.

"I am focused on the fight. I am ready, I am excited," he said, adding that he was counting on his legion of fans back home to pray for him.

Pacquiao is a superstar in the boxing-crazy Philippines, where practically everything grinds to a halt during live broadcasts of his fights.

The "dream match" is expected to generate a purse of 100 million dollars to be divided between the two fighters, with "Golden Boy" de la Hoya taking in the lion's share at 60 percent.

The non-title bout is to be fought at the 147-pound welterweight limit, the first in this category for Pacquiao, who has won four world titles at four lower weight divisions.

With a 47-3 record, with two drawn and 35 knockouts, Pacquiao is the current WBC lightweight champion after knocking out Mexican David Diaz in June. He is the first Asian to hold belts in four different weight classes.

De la Hoya, who has won world titles in six different weight classes, meanwhile has not fought as a 147-pounder in seven years. He has held belts in six different weight classes and brings to the ring a 39-5 record, with 30 knockouts.

Pacquiao, known for his relentless combinations, is expected to use his speed to attack de la Hoya's body, his coach Freddie Roach has told the Philippine press.

- from

Thursday, December 4, 2008

De la Hoya - Pacquiao: Head to Head

WEIGHT : Welterweight (147 Pounds)

-------------DE LA HOYA -------------------------------------------------- PACQUIAO

AGE : --------- 35 ------------------------------------------------------------------ 29

: ---5' 10.5" -------------------------------------------------------5' 6.5"

HOMETOWN : --Los Angeles -------------------- Gen. Santos City, Philippines

TURNED PRO: 1992 -----------------------------------------------------1995

RECORD: 39 - 5 (30KO) ------------------------------------------ 47 - 3 - 2 (35KO)

THE RING No.3 Junior Middleweight -----No. 1 Pound-per-Pound, No.2 Lightweight


Skills: Pacquiao evolved from a one-dimensional brawler into a very good boxer under the guidance of Freddie Roach. However, De La Hoya, even with his revolving-door approach to trainers over his career, has always been an extremely sound all-round boxer.
Edge: De La Hoya

Power: De La Hoya was once a devastating puncher but his power has diminished as he’s gone up in weight. Of course, he’s going down to 147 for the first time since 2001; he might have extra pop at welterweight. Pacquiao is not a one-punch KO artist but has always been powerful. However, at 147, he won’t be able to hurt De La Hoya.
Edge: De La Hoya

Speed: One thing Pacquiao’s opponents are often surprised by is his remarkable speed. Combine that with his tenacity and improving boxing ability and you get the best fighter in the world. De La Hoya has always been quick-handed; he’s just not as fast as Pacquiao, particularly at 35.
Edge: Pacquiao

Defense: Again, Pacquiao has improved significantly as a boxer. Still, he’s never been particularly difficult to hit. That can be attributed in good part to his aggressive fighting style. De La Hoya has always put a premium on safety, one reason he’s lasted so long in the sport. He knows how to avoid punches.
Edge: De La Hoya

Experience: Both fighters have been at the top of the sport for a generation of fighters, fighting in a combined 40 major world title fights (De La Hoya 29, Pacquiao 11). Nothing phases either one of them. De La Hoya gets a slight edge because he’s been a major player a bit longer.
Edge: De La Hoya

Chin: Neither fighter has been hurt many times. De La Hoya has been stung a few times by punches to his face but was never in serious danger. Only Bernard Hopkins has stopped him, with a body shot. Pacquiao was stopped twice early in his career but has taken some huge shots in his prime without a disastrous result.
Edge: De La Hoya

Conditioning: Freddie Roach, who has been around boxing for several decades, said he’s never seen a fighter train harder than Pacquiao. He could probably fight 20 rounds if he had to. De La Hoya has had periods in his career when he didn’t train as hard as he should have, which might explain his tendency to fade late in fights, but he seems to be extremely serious about this fight.
Edge: Pacquiao

Wear-and-tear: De La Hoya, 35, has never taken a beating but appears to have declined at least somewhat after 30 years of boxing. Pacquiao, 29, has been in many wars but seems to be as fresh as ever.
Edge: Pacquiao

Corner: Both trainers garner tremendous respect. Nacho Beristain has trained a number of champions from Mexico, making him a legend in his country. And Freddie Roach, too, has worked with many big-name champions. Clearly, he’s at the top of his game. Pacquiao gets the edge here because he’s worked long term with Roach; this is De La Hoya’s first fight with Beristain.
Edge: Pacquiao

Outcome: Ask yourself: What was your first reaction when you heard this fight would take place? Answer: Pacquiao is too small. That is the most-significant factor in the fight. Pacquiao will attack and land his share of punches. However, in the end, if De La Hoya fights a smart fight – stay outside, wrap Pacquiao up when he gets inside – he’ll wear the smaller man down.
Prediction: De La Hoya KO 10

It's tough to smash this Roach

Manny Pacquiao calls trainer Freddie Roach his father figure. Roach, 48, doesn't mind the label but is quick to point out that he didn't learn his daddy skills from his own father Paul. A native of Dedham, Mass., Roach told the L.A. Times without much emotion that his own toughness came from his father who ruled with violence tendencies:

If you were to pick a Roach family logo in those days, it might have been a fist surrounded by frightened faces. "If we did something wrong, we got a beating. My dad was a physical guy. If it wasn't one of us, my mother would get it," Freddie says.

Roach was one of seven kids, five boys. All five boys boxed. Freddie went on to become a professional with 39 wins in 53 fights. The others didn't take to Dad's threatening nature the same way:

"My oldest brother, Al, quit boxing at age 16," Freddie says. "So he got tossed out of the house for good. We found out early that life was easier when we made Dad happy."

His father never gained any perspective. Freddie started out his career 26-1 and closed 13-12. Much of the lackluster finish was due to a broken hand that never healed. He got no sympathy from his Dad who was a harsh critic even as Freddie was ready to retire:

His father came to the dressing room and asked how he had been so good at one time and now was so bad. "
I threw him out," Roach says. "That was the last time I talked to him."

Roach is tight with his brothers, sisters and mother. Five of the Roaches will be attendance for the big fight. Dad won't be there, he passed away in 1992 from Alzheimers disease.

-from yahoo sports