They say magical things happen in Las Vegas, and sure enough, that’s what happened last night at the MGM as Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao upset Oscar “Golden Boy” Dela Hoya. Wow, what an amazing night.
We started off by attending HBO’s pre-fight party at the Wolfgang Puck Restaurant. As usual, there were plenty of HBO stars (from “Entourage,” “The Wire,” etc) and athletes (Bernard Hopkins, Reggie Miller, Gary Sheffield, etc). Plus, plenty of movers and shakers from the boxing world.
Nearly everyone of the “boxing experts” at the party thought that Dela Hoya would defeat Pacquiao, primarily because of the size difference. Oscar is three inches taller and had a seven-inch difference in reach. Plus, Manny was moving up two weight classes (it’s amazing to consider that he debuted at 106 pounds when he first started fighting professionally 12 years ago).
We entered the arena about 45 minutes before the fight … the place was buzzing and was full of energy and excitement … this was the biggest fight of the year, with over 1 million PPV’s projected. They did the usual roll call of celebrities in the audience … Mike Tyson, Russell Crowe, Usher, J-Lo, Magic Johnson and so many others. We had an actor from Entourage and one from The Office sitting next to us.
They did three national anthems before the fight … the Filipino, Mexican and American anthems … then Michael Buffer did his famous intro’s, including the legendary “Let’s get ready to rumble….”
It looked like there were more fans for Oscar than Manny, but things changed fairly quickly once the fight started. There was a clear difference in size, but you could also see the difference in quickness right away. Oscar seemed befuddled at Manny’s hand quickness … and he also grew clearly frustrated that he couldn’t hit the Pac-Man.
Chants of “Manny, Manny, Manny” erupted in the 2nd and 3rd rounds as he quickly gained control of the fight. Many of the fans seemed in disbelief … after all, Dela Hoya was a strong 2-1 favorite and most of the late action at the Vegas casino’s was being placed on the Golden Boy.
At the end of the 3rd and 4th rounds, Dela Hoya’s face clearly showed he was getting tagged repeatedly by Pacquiao. In the sixth round, Dela Hoya almost went down … Pac-Man was peppering him repeatedly with jabs. This continued into the seventh and eight rounds … Dela Hoya looked spent … and sure enough he didn’t make it out for the ninth round and Pac-Man was declared the winner!
Wow, what a joyous celebration in the arena, outside the arena, in the streets and at the hotels. Filipino flags were seen everywhere. This was truly a fantastic win by Pacquiao. And, sadly, this may be the end of the career for the former champion, Dela Hoya.
Manny, Manny, Manny!!!!