posted on Sep, 18 2004 @ 11:41 PM
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Bernard Hopkins suddenly ended a close fight with two left hooks to the body in the ninth round Saturday night to stop Oscar De La
Hoya and ruin his bid to become the undisputed middleweight champion.
The punches put De La Hoya on the canvas on his hands and knees in obvious pain. When he rolled over on his back, referee Kenny Bayless stopped the
fight to a halt at 1:38 of the ninth round.
While Hopkins celebrated, De La Hoya remained on his knees, his face buried in his gloves. He repeatedly pounded the canvas in frustration after being
stopped for the first time in his brilliant career.
"I felt a sense of urgency," Hopkins said. "I wasn't sure if I was winning or not."
Hopkins was ahead on two scorecards and behind on a third in a cautiously fought bout when he suddenly landed the punches just below De La Hoya's rib
cage to retain his undisputed middleweight title in his 19th title defense.
"A well-placed body shot," De La Hoya said.
De La Hoya was a 2-1 underdog in only his second fight as a middleweight and was taking on a champion who hadn't lost in 11 years.
"I tried to do the impossible on paper -- beat the middleweight champ coming up from 130 pounds," De La Hoya said.