1.) Obviously, the De La Hoya meltdown is foremost on the mind of anyone who follows the sweet science today. As I mentioned last night, I expected this to be a joke of a fight, and I apologize to Manny Pacquiao and his fans for doubting his ability to be competitive against the naturally bigger De La Hoya. There's no reason to recap the fight -- all you need to know if you didn't watch is that Pacquiao won virtually every round and De La Hoya at the end wasn't doing much more than hiding behind his gloves hoping for the fight to end.
There were a few things that interested me about this fight that aren't getting quite as much attention, though. First, HBO weighs the fighters before the fight, showing how much weight was gained from the weigh-in the day before. Stunningly, Pacquiao actually entered the fight last night as the heavier fighter, a remarkable fact in a fight where he should have been struggling to get up to an appropriate weight, and considering that he was actually about five pounds below the max limit in the weigh-in. De La Hoya only gained a couple of pounds from the weigh-in, and while he obviously retained his height and reach advantage, the commentators mentioned several times that they expected him to be at least 10 pounds heavier than he was by the time the fight rolled around. I don't think it would have made much difference -- he certainly wouldn't have been any faster if he had been heavier -- but its an interesting point of curiosity.
I was also somewhat amazed by Pacquiao's approach when he had De La Hoya at the limit. With the exception of a flurry at the end of the eighth round when it looked like Manny really wanted to end the fight, he tended to back off after delivering key blows when De La Hoya was in trouble against the ropes. It's almost as if he couldn't believe that De La Hoya was in as bad a position as he really was, like he was thinking that De La Hoya might have been playing possum. There were several moments when it looked like Pacquiao could have pressed when De La Hoya was defenseless and either scored a knockdown or a stoppage from the ref. I would be interested in knowing what exactly was going through Pac-man's head in those moments. Maybe he already knew that he had won the fight, and didn't want to embarrass De La Hoya any more than he already had. If so, that's a stunning testament to how out of the fight Oscar was by the end.
De La Hoya should be, and almost certainly is, done as a fighter. Pacquiao, however, should have many years of big fights left. It sounds like Ricky Hatton might want a piece of him, and that would be an interesting fight. I imagine Manny will go for whatever is going to net him some major cash. It'll never happen, but last night's result leaves me wondering what a Pacquaio/Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fight would look like.
2.) The undercard for HBO last night was horrid. The first fight, featuring Daniel Jacobs (who fought 12 fights in 2008!), was what was expected -- a dominant performance from the undefeated super middleweight. The other two fights, though, were absurd. At the junior welterweight level, Victor Ortiz very well may have ended the career of Jeffrey Resto by finishing him off quickly in the second round. Resto just didn't get much offense in, and for a fighter who was looking to rebound and prove he deserves promotion by Golden Boy, it was a mess. Even worse, the WBO junior featherweight championship fight between Juan Manuel Lopez and "Argentinian Champion" Sergio Medina was possibly the worst fight I've ever seen. After seeing this fight, I can now say that Punch-Out!'s "Glass Joe" is real, and he hails from Argentina. Somehow, Medina entered the fight with a 33-1 record, but after what looked like one glancing blow from Lopez, he ended up on the ropes cowering. After being knocked down three times in 98 seconds, the referee stopped the fight. Medina's stats -- he landed one punch out of six thrown in the fight. Ouch. I believe it was also Medina who gained a whopping 16 pounds from the weigh-in the day before -- I guess eating like a glutton in the 24 hours before a fight isn't the best plan.
3.) I would have loved to see the Carl Froch/Jean Pascal WBC supper middleweight championship fight yesterday, but unfortunately it wasn't available anywhere that I normally look for fights. The Fight News account of it sounds intriguing, and hopefully I'll get to see Froch's next fight. Froch picked up the unanimous decision and the vacant belt. The WBO interim strawweight title was also up for grabs last night, and Manuel Vargas took out champion Daniel Reyes to win the strap. So far as I know, those were the only major belts that were up for grabs on the weekend.
4.) It looks like two IBF titles will be defended on free TV this Thursday night on Versus, including what should be one very fun fight at the Cruiserweight level. IBF Cruiserweight champ Steve Cunningham (21-1), who hasn't stepped into the ring since knocking out Marco Huck last December, will face Tomasz Adamek (35-1) for the strap. On the same card, IBF bantamweight champ Joseph Agbeko (25-1) returns to the ring for the first time since September 2007 when he defends against William Gonzalez (21-2). For a free TV card, this thing is awfully promising.
5.) Next Saturday features cards put on by HBO, Showtime, and Versus yet again. Unless you're a big James Toney fan, the Versus card isn't anything to shout about this time. There are some interesting fights on HBO and Showtime, however. First, I'm a sucker for Heavyweights, so the HBO main event featuring Wladimir Klitschko (51-3; 45 KO's) defending his IBF and WBO belts against Hasim Rahman (45-6; 36 KO's) is compelling even though it's unlikely to be much of a fight. Rahman, remember, is only getting this fight because mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin was injured while training. HBO's card also features the return of Riddick Bowe after three years absence. Yeah, I'm not quite as excited about that one. Showtime counters with a third match between Kendall Holt (24-2; 13 KO's) and Ricardo Torres (32-2; 28 KO's) for Holt's WBO junior welterweight title. The last fight, in July, was bizarre -- Holt won in 61 seconds with a KO, but he was knocked down twice before getting the win. A third fight in those circumstances makes a lot of sense.