De La Hoya Felled by Hopkinsâ€™ Golden Punch
For the first time in his stellar career Oscar De La Hoya entered the ring a 2-1 under dog last Saturday and this time bettors were right. The Golden Boy was felled by a golden punch.
De La Hoya, fighting for the second time as a middleweight, had a monumental task of dethroning the middleweight champ Bernard â€œThe Executionerâ€? Hopkins. This bout was for all the middleweight belts and glory. Oscar did show up, fighting head-to-head as he promised, but then went crashing down in the ninth. One pop from Hopkinsâ€™ left hook was all it tookâ€”at the bottom of the rib cage. De La Hoya fell face down on the canvas cringing in agony. Referee Kenny Bayless counted the full 10 as Oscar pounded his gloves on the canvas in disgust. The end came at 1; 38 of the ninth. The victory by 39 year-old Hopkins cemented his legacy among the greatest middleweights of all times.
MGM Grand in Las Vegas promoted by Golden Boy production in associate with Bob Arumâ€™s Top Rank Inc. It was dubbed as the super-fight of the year. A mega-event comparable to â€œSugar Rayâ€? Leonard vs. Marvelous Marvin Hagler.
In front of 16,112 fight fans, it was a good tactical showdown that didnâ€™t quite live up to the hype. 31 year-old Oscar De La Hoya who received $30 million for the bout came in the WBO champ. He weighed under the limit at 155. Hopkins who earned $10 million is the undisputed middleweight champ (IBF,WBC,WBA). Hopkins came in at 157 pounds the lightest heâ€™s been for a title bout.
Both fightersâ€™ came out very tense looking to feel each other out. Oscar became the aggressor Hopkins the boxer. De La Hoya used a stiff jab while Hopkins countered with his right hand. The pattern remained the same for rounds 2& 3 with De La Hoya stealing the rounds from Hopkins by throwing flurries near end of each round.
In the fourth round both fighters had there moments. Hopkins right hand was getting through the guards and to the chin of De La Hoya more frequency. De La Hoya used his hand speed not against the bigger Hopkins. The crowd cheered for De La Hoya with every quick flurry.
In the fifth and sixth rounds Hopkins began to pick up the pace applying pressure on De La Hoya. Rounds seven and eight Hopkins began to close the gap in the scoring as the tide slowly started to change. Strategically and methodically Hopkins was turning the bout into a street fight.
From the start of the ninth Hopkins bum rushed, De La Hoya attacking him and imposing his size and strength as well. Hopkins pinned De La Hoya on the ropes then unleashed a straight right hand followed a jab then a thunderous jolting blow a left hook just below the rib cage followed by a left hook to the head of Oscar. The paralyzing body shot sent De La Hoya crumpling face down as Hopkins ran towards. He stood on top and made his trade mark execution sign. Judges Dave Moretti (79-73) and Paul Smith (78-74) had Hopkins ahead while Keith McDonald (77-75) had De La Hoya up when the bout was halted.
Hopkinsâ€™ next goal is to win his 20th successful title defense. That would put him on the top of the middleweight, cementing his legacy. Hopkins than plans to move up in weight for a super-fight against either Antonio Tarver or Roy Jones for mega bucks.