Sports in Brief: De La Hoya Has Big Expectations

Bernard Hopkins stands between Oscar De La Hoya, left, and WBC lightweight champion Manny Pacquiao at their weigh-in for tonight's bout.
Bernard Hopkins stands between Oscar De La Hoya, left, and WBC lightweight champion Manny Pacquiao at their weigh-in for tonight's bout. (By Mark J. Terrill -- Associated Press)
Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oscar De La Hoya hasn't won a significant fight since knocking out Fernando Vargas six years ago. At 35, he needs a spectacular performance against an undersized Manny Pacquiao in a 147-pound fight tonight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas if he expects to keep fighting for the huge purses he has been so accustomed to getting every time he steps into the ring.

"I will be extremely, extremely disappointed if this fight doesn't end in a knockout," De La Hoya said. "It will be a total disaster for me."

De La Hoya (39-5, 30 knockouts) hopes to avoid that disaster by trading punches frequently against a fighter who has built a career on coming forward with little regard for his chin. Pacquiao has been extremely successful doing that, but will be moving up two weight classes to face a fighter who will not only have a height and reach advantage but an edge in strength, too.

The 29-year old Pacquiao (47-3-2, 35 knockouts) made his debut 13 years ago as a 106-pounder in his native Philippines. He's never faced someone as big as De La Hoya, who has fought as high as 160 pounds.

· BASEBALL: Four-time Cy Young award winner Greg Maddux will announce his retirement on Monday at the baseball winter meetings, near his home in Las Vegas.

Maddux, who turns 43 in April, ranks eighth on the career wins list. He went 8-13 with a 4.22 ERA last season with the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Confirmation came yesterday from his agent, Scott Boras.

Maddux, who finished one win ahead of Roger Clemens on the career victory list, was 355-227 with a 3.16 ERA over 23 seasons, mostly with the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves.

Noted for impeccable control, Maddux earned a record 18 Gold Gloves and was an eight-time all-star. He won at least 13 games in 20 straight seasons until this year.

· HOCKEY: Dallas Stars forward Sean Avery, 28, was suspended for six games by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman after making a crude comment regarding his ex-girlfriends dating other hockey players.


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