Boxing: De la Hoya wins the turf war

It was as good as Oscar de la Hoya has been, and for a man with an Olympic gold medal and world titles in five weight classes, that is saying a lot.

Boxing's "Golden Boy," the biggest seller outside of Mike Tyson, scored an 11th-round technical knock-out against Fernando Vargas to add the World Boxing Association championship to the World Boxing Council title he already held, at light middleweight (154 pounds or 11 stone) at the Mandalay Bay Events Arena here on Saturday night.

Yet it was not easy for De la Hoya. From the first round, Vargas, 24, was able to back up his fellow Mexican-American from southern California. He reddened De la Hoya's cheek in the opening round, worked well to the body and was able to land right hands with impunity for much of the bout.

But De la Hoya, 29, who admitted that seeing Vargas stretched on his back after a left hook early in the 11th round, the only knock-down in an entertaining and fast-paced bout, was "very, very satisfying," was biding his time.

He was waiting for Vargas to tire himself out and little by little, De la Hoya increased the pressure. He was landing more right hands than ever. But the vaunted left hook was missing. Until the 11th round.

He feinted a jab and when Vargas dropped his right hand, the hook landed perfectly. Vargas went flying to land on his back. He was up at four, but there are few better finishers than De la Hoya and after 1min 48sec of the 11th, with Vargas offering no defence, the referee, Joe Cortez, stopped the bout.

De la Hoya improved his record to 35-2 with 28 knockouts. Vargas, who suffered a terrifying beating from Felix Trinidad 21 months ago, is now 22-2 with 20 knock-outs.

Vargas had said before the fight "I would rather die in that ring than lose to him" and, after it, De la Hoya could not resist some gloating, saying that Vargas "needed a lesson." But this was about a lot more than a neighbourhood turf war.

This was a clear victory in a well-fought bout against a bigger and stronger opponent who was ahead early on. Now De la Hoya wants to avenge his only two defeats. Trinidad is retired and probably will not return for De la Hoya. "Sugar" Shane Mosley could be pencilled in for 4 May here, if he makes a successful graduation to the light-middleweight division, possibly against the European champion, Javier Castillejo of Spain.

Suggested Topics
Danny Cipriani of England breaks clear to score his second try
Life and Style
New research says leaving your desk can help you to avoid serious illness
Arts and Entertainment
tvSPOILER ALERT: Like a mash-up of 28 Days Later, Braveheart, The Killing and Lord of the Rings, this GoT episode was a belter
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Cloud ERP Solution Provide...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral