Through the blood, cuts, and grotesque swelling, Antonio Margarito’s pride still remained unbowed. That was all the Tijuana Tornado had, following 12 mostly one-sided rounds to a sharp-punching Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night (November 13) at Dallas Stadium.
Margarito came to the ring weighing 165 pounds, gaining 15 pounds from the weigh-in. Pacquiao, looking to maximize his speed advantage, arrived at a weight of 148 pounds.
In the opening three minutes, Margarito applied light pressure and mostly tried to box. Pacquiao responded with counter right and left hooks. The second was closer, with the Tijuana Tornado catching Pacquiao with uppercuts on the inside. Manny waved Margarito in, and the Mexican fighter obliged with several more shots.
The third and fourth rounds were lopsided Pacquiao stanzas. The Filipino star mixed his offense up well, firing off short uppercuts, hooks, and straights between Margarito’s gloves. The damage became visible through a huge, discolored bruise underneath Margarito’s right eye.Freddie Roach still warned his man not to get too anxious, especially following moments where Margarito caught him with right hands for being too aggressive. By the seventh, Margarito had been turned into a virtual punching bag and endured constant head-snapping punches. That same round, a highly confident Pacquiao did an uncharacteristic Ali Shuffle to display his complete control.
Round eight displayed excellent work from both men. Margarito cornered Pacquiao and stunned him with several uppercuts. These were the punches that downed Miguel Cotto. While visibly hurt, Pacquiao took a few seconds to recover before unloading his own combinations. Pacquiao’s shots looked harder, and it was clear that Margarito’s assault against the ropes had taken away some steam.
Roach implored Pacquiao to keep off the ropes and stop giving Margarito his only chance at success. In round nine, Pacquiao got back to using his legs to befuddle Margarito with lateral movement. He scored heavy shots off the backfoot, and kept Margarito from cornering him. However, towards the end of the round both men exchanged thudding right hands.
The 11th and 12th were Pacquiao whitewashes. The smaller fighter pushed for the KO by darting in with jarring uppercuts and hooks. Margarito appeared close to suffering a TKO loss, and several times Laurence Cole paused the fight to see if Margarito still had the ability to see. Margarito never stopped coming forward and throwing punches, preventing the stoppage even in rounds were Pacquiao landed 40-50% of his power shots. In particular, the barrage of offense in the 10th was more than enough to warrant a 10-8 round.
After hitting Margarito with every punch in his arsenal, Pacquiao took his foot off the gas in the 12th. He coasted for the majority of the round, and unleashed some quick flurries in the last 30 seconds to make sure the stanza was secured.
The cards verified Manny Pacquiao’s rampage, with scores of 120-108, 118-110, and 119-109. Antonio Margarito’s face, with both eyes swollen, reflected an astounding 411 power punches landed. When asked why he kept going, Margarito affirmed that death would be preferable to quitting in the ring.
“I’m Mexican, we fight to the end,” Margarito explained. “This time I failed Mexico.”
Pacquiao overcame essentially a super-middleweight opponent, but admitted the battle was very difficult.
“He’s very strong and tough, I never expected that,” he said.
Regarding a clash with Floyd Mayweather, the Pacman was even simpler in his assertion.
“I’m not afraid to fight anyone,” Pacquiao stated.
The win gives Manny Pacquiao an unprecedented title in his eighth weight class (flyweight through junior-middleweight).
On the undercard, Mike Jones escaped a relentless Jesus Soto Karass with a controversial majority decision (94-94, 95-94, and 97-93 for Jones). Guillermo Rigondeaux took to his bicycle in the second half of the fight, and won a close split decision over Ricardo Cordoba by scores of 114-112 Cordoba, 117-109, and 114-112 for Rigondeaux. And Brandon Rios walked down an overmatched Omri Lowther for a fifth round TKO.
I really enjoyed the main event. My prediction was Pacquiao by TKO in the 10th. He came close, but give Margarito credit for refusing to yield and giving Pacquiao a few tense moments.
As usual, some boxing fans began to delude themselves as the fight got nearer. They thought that somehow Margarito getting himself in shape meant he could take out Pacquiao. Margarito’s 15 pound weight advantage was the only thing that saved him from a KO.
Margarito didn’t deserve to be in the ring with Pacquiao. But his appearance did serve to display that Manny Pacquiao is the epitome of pound for pound greatness.
Time for Floyd Mayweather to come off his vacation.