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Sunday December 7, 2008
De La Hoya fails to answer bell in welterweight match
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The fight was lopsided from the beginning, with Pacquiao landing punch after punch while De La Hoya chased after him, trying to catch him with a big punch. Pacquiao was winning big even before the seventh round, when he was pounding De La Hoya against the ropes in his corner and catching him with huge shots that knocked him across the ring.

De La Hoya remained upright, but with one eye closed and his reflexes seemingly gone there was no chance he was going to land the big punches he would have needed to turn the fight around. Ringside statistics showed Pacquiao landed 45 power punches in the seventh round to just four for De La Hoya.

"He's just a great fighter," De La Hoya said. "I have nothing bad to say about him. He prepared like a true champion."

Pacquiao came up two weight classes to fight for his biggest purse ever, while De La Hoya dropped down to meet him at 147 pounds. Though De La Hoya towered over Pacquiao and had a big reach advantage over him, Pacquiao had no trouble getting inside what few jabs De La Hoya threw to land his shots.

"We knew we had him after the first round," Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach said. "He had no legs, he was hesitant and he was shot."

Roach trained De La Hoya in his last big fight a year ago and said De La Hoya simply couldn't throw punches when he needed in that fight. That was magnified even more against Pacquiao, who not only was as elusive as Floyd Mayweather Jr. but threw punches back that kept De La Hoya off pace.

"Freddie, you're right," De La Hoya told the trainer after the fight. "I just don't have it anymore."

If De La Hoya's career is over, it will be the end of a remarkable story that began when he won the Olympic gold medal in Barcelona in 1992 and went on to become the biggest box office attraction in the sport. But while he sold tickets, De La Hoya hadn't won a big fight in six years, and there were whispers long before the fight that he had nothing left.

De La Hoya not only dropped down to fight for the first time at 147 pounds in seven years, but actually came into the ring unofficially weighing less than Pacquiao. Both fighters got on scales in their dressing rooms and De La Hoya was 147 while Pacquiao was 148 and a half.

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