Manny Pacquiao turned boxing's "dream fight" into a nightmare for Oscar De La Hoya, scoring an eighth-round technical knockout victory at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last night.
Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs), who was making his debut in the welterweight division after never having fought above 135 pounds, dominated a slow De La Hoya with speed and accuracy for the entire bout.
The weight hardly seemed to matter against a stationary De La Hoya, who struggled to find his range against a constantly moving target.
After taking a beating for eight rounds, De La Hoya (39-6) retired on his stool before the start of the ninth round.
It was a dazzling display for the world's best pound-for-pound fighter, who mixed right jabs with straight lefts and completely overwhelmed the 35-year-old "Golden Boy".
De La Hoya's left eye started to swell in the third round and became more and more bruised as the bout went on.
Pacquiao completely dominated the seventh round, nearly knocking De La Hoya down on more than one occasion with multiple combinations.
Referee Tony Weeks would have been justified to stop the fight during the round and the ring doctor warned De La Hoya that he would not let him take much more punishment before the eighth round began.
De La Hoya continued to get pummelled in the eighth and looked defeated as he strolled back to his corner. His team decided that the fight should not continue just before the ninth round was set to begin.
The lopsided bout could perhaps spell the end of the marvellous career of De La Hoya. The 10-time champion said afterward that he will examine his future.
The 29-year-old Pacquiao has now won nine straight fights - six by knockout - and could move on to face junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton next year.