Manny Pacquiao unequivocally established himself as the finest fighter in the world Saturday.
But he accomplished an even more stunning feat when he not only defeated Oscar De La Hoya but battered him into retirement with a shockingly one-sided victory in their welterweight bout before 15,001 at the MGM Grand Garden.
De La Hoya, the 1992 Olympic gold-medal winner and a professional world champion in six weight classes, was hammered as he never was in 44 previous bouts before trainer Nacho Beristain mercifully asked referee Tony Weeks to halt the carnage after eight one-sided rounds.
The fight ended any debate whether Pacquiao or light heavyweight Joe Calzaghe deserves the top spot in the mythical pound-for-pound race, but it also sent a one-time legend into retirement.
De La Hoya, who was taken to a local hospital for a precautionary examination, never in his illustrious career had absorbed such a beating. Pacquiao’s hands were far too quick and, despite the fact that he was moving up from lightweight, his punches were much too hard for the Golden Boy to handle