De La Hoya/Hopkins: Round-by-round

Boxing writer Tim Graham provided a round-by-round account of Saturday night's Oscar De La Hoya-Bernard Hopkins middleweight championship fight in Las Vegas.

Round 1
Thirty seconds into the fight, both fighters were trying to feel each other out. Countering in the middle of the ring. No clean puches landed through two minutes, as Hopkins came the closest to landing a big right hand as both fighters are hesitant to get off. Both boxers are showing a lot of respect for their opponent. De La Hoya is trying to get his left jab off, but more fakes than punches in the first round. De La Hoya shows a little more effective aggression throughout the round.

Graham Scores It: De La Hoya wins 10-9

Round 2
Once again, both fighters are content to keep the fight in the middle of the ring and stay off the ropes. Hopkins lands a short right, while De La Hoya connects on a glancing left hand at a minute into the round. Neither boxer wants to take the lead, as the respect remains on both sides. First meaningful body shot of the fight is a left-right to the body of De La Hoya with 30 seconds to go in the round. De La Hoya taking a page out of Sugar Ray Leonard's book against Hagler, trying to steal the round with a flurry in the final 10 seconds.

Graham Scores It: Hopkins wins 10-9

Round 3
De La Hoya showing no hesitation to throw his left hand, demonstrating fast hands as both fighters continue to wait for the other to make the first move. Hopkins gets in a good straight right 1:05 into the round, his best punch. Hopkins is opening up a little more in this round. Good exchange by both fighters at 1:45 with no clear edge, as Hopkins goes in with a straight right and De La Hoya counters with a flurry of body punches. Hopkins trying to land the occasional haymaker in the final minute, but the fight still isn't a physical battle. More tactical than physical at this point. Another tough round to score.
Graham Scores It: De La Hoya wins 10-9

Round 4
Hopkins showing more aggression in the first 30 seconds, chasing De La Hoya a bit more around the ring. No clean punches until a nice left-right combo by Hopkins to the head of De La Hoya a minute into the round. De La Hoya throwing more body punches to avoid punches. Hopkins starting to find the mark a little more when he does throw punches. Hopkins' left jab finding its target, but few combinations by either fighter in the final 30 seconds of the round. Another tight round because neither fighter is separating himself from the other.
Graham Scores It: Hopkins wins 10-9

Round 5
If this fight continues, it'll be a controversial decision no matter who wins. A little more grabbing in the first 45 seconds, as De La Hoya shows he can go to the body effectively. A low blow by De La Hoya 46 seconds in, but referee Kenny Bayless doesn't warn De La Hoya. More punches this round. Hopkins starting to land his jab, as the movement of De La Hoya isn't quite as effective. Still several seconds of ducking and weaving by both fighters. The crowd is mostly quiet, except for scattered boos. It's not Leonard-Hagler, as it was hyped to be. With 10 seconds left in the round, Hopkins stopped De La Hoya in his tracks. A punch that did little but clinch the round.
Graham Scores It: Hopkins wins 10-9

Round 6
De La Hoya looks much crisper than he did against Felix Sturm, but doesn't exactly look like the "Golden Boy," either. Another minute of little action, but both fighters remain in the middle of the ring and refuse to take chances. De La Hoya is swelling under the left eye, minor as it is, it proves a punch has been thrown. De La Hoya getting busier. Hopkins stalking. The way Hopkins is fighting, you'd think he had stitches in his right hand. It's all lefts from Hopkins until the final 10 seconds when he throws a few looping rights at a back-tracking De La Hoya. No damage done.
Graham Scores It: De La Hoya wins 10-9

Round 7
Boxers still giving each other way too much respect, but they do open up a bit in the first 30 seconds of the round. It still seems as though neither fighter wants to make the first mistake. Hopkins lands a straight right with 1:55 left. He follows with a few punches that also get De La Hoya's attention. Halfway through the round, Hopkins is the one getting off first and more often to the head. His punches are still not clean shots, although a four-punch combination does find its mark. Hopkins continues to back up De La Hoya, who is showing he's willing to move away more and more as the fight wears on. Hopkins keeps moving foward. Hopkins is pressing the action and wins the round because of pressure, if not punches. De La Hoya starting to look like he did in the late rounds against Felix Trinidad.

Graham Scores It: Hopkins wins 10-9

Round 8
The first 30 seconds see two hard lefts by Hopkins to the head of De La Hoya, who has to back off to avoid more damage. It's starting to look more like Hopkins will take control as the rounds go on. He is imposing his strength on De La Hoya. But respect is getting in the way of Hopkins hurting De La Hoya. The fight remains in the middle of the ring, neither fighter has touched the ropes. It's as if Budweiser paid each to stand on the logo all night. More of Hopkins' punches are starting to find De La Hoya's head. A flurry to end the round doesn't do anything but get a rise out of the crowd. Hopkins doesn't look like he's going to turn 40. De La Hoya doesn't look like a middleweight.
Graham Scores It: Hopkins wins 10-9

Round 9
Hopkins lands a right uppercut 25 seconds into the round. Bayless calls timeout a minute into the round to warn both fighers of roughhouse tactics. Hopkins goes forward throughout the first half of the round. Fighters decide to get physical. De La Hoya writhing in pain on the canvas. Fight over. De La Hoya remains on the canvas, pounding the canvas in frustration. Suddenly fully recovered. It appears he took a left to the liver, to the body. Not clear, but he went down instantly.

Hopkins wins by knockout