• December 6 down the years

Golden Boy meets his match

The sporting events of December 6 down the years
Manny Pacquiao is too good for Oscar de la Hoya © Getty Images

In his home town Nottingham, Carl Froch came through one of his typical slugfests to win a unanimous decision over Canada's Jean Pascal and take the vacant WBC super-middleweight title at the age of 31. Both men went in unbeaten as professionals, but Froch carried a few handicaps into the ring. His sparring partners were almost as enthusiastic as Pascal: just ten days earlier, they'd left him with a perforated eardrum and cracked rib!

The same day saw another defeat in Audley Harrison's massively disappointing pro career, on points to Martin Rogan, who was having only his 10th pro fight.

Twickenham saw the highest-scoring draw in any rugby international involving England. In the same stadium two weeks earlier, they'd lost 25-8 to the All Blacks. Now, against the same opposition, they were annoyed to draw 26-26 after leading 23-9 at half-time. Nevertheless the result, and England's three tries to New Zealand's two, raised hopes for the future.

On the same day, South Africa humiliated Scotland 68-10 at Murrayfield (see November 24, 1944), scoring ten tries to one, including two from Percy Montgomery, who finished with 26 points.

José Napoles was one of the great welterweights. Born in Cuba, resident in Mexico, he had fast hands and all the moves. He first won the world title in 1969 and even now, at 35, he was expected to deal with the rather straightforward style of Britain's John H Stracey, especially as the fight was staged in Mexico City. When he knocked Stracey down in the first round, people nodded told-you-so. But then it became clear that Napoles's punches had lost their sting with age - and John H was ten years younger. His exagerratedly straight punching wouldn't go away. By the sixth round, Napoles could hardly see and the fight was stopped. He never fought again. Stracey kept the title for six months before losing it to the body punches of another Mexican, Carlos Palomino, who was almost as good as Napoles and a whole lot younger.

A full day at the Olympic Games.

India won their sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal in hockey. A goal by Randhir Singh Gentle was enough to beat Pakistan in the Final.

Joaquín Capilla had been working his way up to gold. After bronze in 1948 and silver in 1952, Mexico's finest won the highboard diving title by just 0.03 of a point.

Blood on the water. Players were left with cuts on their faces as a water polo match turned into a brawl. In every sense, Hungary beat the USSR, who'd invaded their country the previous month. It's said that police had to be called in to protect the Soviet players from the crowd. They eventually won silver to Hungary's bronze, with Italy steering clear of trouble to take gold.

Rauno Mäkinen of Finland won gold in wrestling to emulate his father Kaarlo, who was Olympic champion in the same sport in 1928.

Richard Krajicek was born. The big-serving Dutchman was Wimbledon singles champion in 1996. The final was the only one he ever reached in a Grand Slam event. He won it in straight sets against the unseeded MaliVai Washington, and he'd beaten the average Australian Jason Stoltenberg in the semis. But he'd earned this processional run-in. In the fourth round, he beat former champion Michael Stich, and in the quarters he inflicted Pete Sampras's only defeat at Wimbledon between 1992 and 2001.

London was the setting for the first world title fight that led to a death. American bantamweight Jimmy Barry was one of the very few world champions who never lost a pro fight - so Britain's Walter Croot did very to take the bout into the 20th round. But that was several rounds too many between two boxers who threw a lot of punches. Croot died of brain injuries the following day. Barry retired two years later.

Switzerland were huge underdogs in the Davis Cup final against a USA superteam of Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Jim Courier, especially away from home. After the first day, they were surprisingly level, Marc Rosset having used his big serve to come from two sets to one down against Courier. If Rosset and Jakob Hlasek had managed to win the doubles after winning the first two sets on tie-breaks...instead McEnroe and Sampras turned the match round, and on the third day Courier won the decider against Hlasek, who lost all three of his matches.

Czechoslovakia won the Davis Cup for the only time as a united country. The final was played indoors in Prague, on a fast carpet to disadvantage Italy's clay court players - but even so, Adriano Panatta should have done better than lose to the unexceptional Tomáš Šmíd after winning the first two sets. After that, Ivan Lendl took over. He won his singles, then he and Šmíd came from two sets to one down to win the doubles for a winning 3-0 lead.

Alberto Contador was born in Spain and went on to show his quality in all deparments of road racing on his bike. In between winning the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009, he took time out in 2008 to carry off the Giro d'Italia and Tour of Spain.

In the first match ever played in the world professional snooker championships, Melbourne Inman beat Tom Newman 8-5. The Final didn't take place until May 12 the following year.

Canada's top squash player Jonathan Power lost the first game but won the next three to beat Scotland's Peter Nicol and win the World Open. Runner-up for the second year in a row, Nicol reached the Final again on September 16 the following year.

Ricky Hatton shouldn't feel too downcast. In the fight before Manny Pacquiao beat him (May 2 2009), the Pac Man stopped fellow all-time great Oscar de la Hoya in eight rounds. De la Hoya was 35 by then and hasn't fought since. Call it a mantle being passed on.

Derek Clayton's world best for the Marathon had lasted since 1969. Now, in Fukuoka in Japan, Rob de Castella ran 2 hours 8 minutes 18 to beat Clayton's mark by 15 seconds. Between them, the two Australians held the record from 1967 to 1984.

In rugby union, Australia scored four tries to Ireland's one in a 16-3 win in Dublin, a result that led to immediate success - for the losers. Changes galore were made to the Ireland team, and by 13 March 1948 they'd won their only Grand Slam before 21 March 2009.

Andrew Flintoff was born.

Peter Willey, former England international and now Test umpire, was born.

Against an Australian team without its Packer players, a full-strength England won a Test in Brisbane for the first time since 1936.

Javed Miandad hit 145 against India in his 100th Test.