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By Dan Rafael, USA TODAY
LAS VEGAS -- The first eight rounds were tactical with only sporadic action from either man until suddenly Bernard Hopkins, "The Executioner," knocked Oscar De La Hoya out with a perfectly executed shot.
With one debilitating left hook to the liver in the ninth round, Hopkins crumpled De La Hoya to retain the undisputed middleweight title Saturday night before a packed MGM Grand Garden Arena crowd.
Hopkins made a record-extending 19th successful title defense and remained unbeaten since losing a decision to Roy Jones in 1993. He pushed De La Hoya towards the ropes and threw a shot that dug into his side.