Antonio Margarito couldve had a 27 pound weight advantage, and he couldve been given an IV drip of Hydroxycut and coffee between rounds, and had all the stuffing taken out of his gloves before the bout, and it likely would not have mattered. Manny Pacquiao was in total control, from the second this fight was signed, and he gave an out of his league Margarito a hellacious beating while picking up a belt in a record eighth weight class at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas on Saturday night.
Pacquiao (5-6 1/2; age 31 3/4; 51-3-2 entering; from the Philippines) weighed 144.6 on Friday, 148 on fight night, while Margarito (5-11; age 33; 38-6 entering; born in CA, lives in Mexico) was 150 pounds, 165 on fight night. Marg had a 17 pound weight edge, but he looked stiff and slow, while Mannys fast hands and feet were something unlike hed ever seen. The worlds most marvelous multitasker showed he is a master of controlled violence but also that he has a heart as big as Baguio, when he backed off in the 12th, and let Margarito finish the fight. After the trash Tony talked, including the mockery of Coach Roachs Parkinsons, one has to applaud the Congressman for not piling up the punishment like he could have.
In the first, Manny was master, with faster hands. Marg jabbed nicely, but looked stiff. Perfect round, said trainer Freddie Roach. Jab, jab, jab, then the right, said trainer Robert Garcia.
In the second, Manny mixed more body shots in. He ate a couple shots, but landed a straight left which sent Marg back. He went to the ropes a couple times, worrying Freddie but still likely won the round.
In the third, Marg looked stiff, hunched. Manny moved even better, getting in and getting out. He was having fun, and ate a shot or two in the corner. But he banged his gloves together–come at me!–and was up 3-0 on the TSS card.
In the fourth, Manny stepped it up. A nasty welt showed up under Tonys right eye. He ate and didnt return fire. Three body shuts hurt him. He was folding, like a chair, and we wondered if hed last much longer. This was a 10-8 Manny round.
In the fifth, Manny gave the fans something when he laid on the ropes. Freddie had a mini coronary, but Manny loves to give the fans excitement. The right eye was almost closed on Margarito. Shutout.
In the sixth, Mannys lateral movement had Marg lurching like Frankenstein. Then Tony had some success with Manny on the ropes, but I swear, Manny was doing that on purpose to juice up the fans. The right eye was 97% closed.
In the seventh, it was all Manny. He maintained the distance he wanted and was having a blast.
In the eighth, Manny went to the ropes three times, to give the fans a thrill. Dont let him bring you on the ropes, said Roach. Manny nodded, as he always does. And he will do what he wants to do.
In the ninth, Marg fans booed Manny for moving too much. He stole the round with three flurries, though.
In the tenth, Manny opened up more. He has ample energy. Boom, another perfect right hook. What a show. What an amazing performance, said Jim Lampley. Greatest offensive fighter of the era. It was another 10-8 round. Im OK, Marg said after the round. The doc looked hard at him, asked him how mnay fingers he held up. One, he said, then two. It was two, for the record. The left eye was getting closer to closed by this time.
In the 11th, Manny looked at Cole, wondering if hed stop it. Cole stopped the action, and covered his eye, and held up a finger, and quizzed him. Marg got it right, and continued to eat fists. Again, Manny looked at Cole. Would the corner stop it? Garcia told Marg to work the jab, be lively. Too much pride for his fighters own good.
In the 12th, Manny backed off, pulled his punches, every ounce the humanitarian. Hed let Marg finish the fight. After, he said the fight was a stern test, and that hed be happy to fight Floyd Mayweather next. Margarito said he was proud to fight til the end. Trainer Garcia said he never considered pulling the plug, which nobody wouldve been appropriate from the tenth on, because Margarito would not have wanted that.
SPEEDBAG Looked to me like Margaritos beard couldve been a minute cushion, and Roach had grounds to ask the commission to get him to trim it.
–The three Cowboys cheerleaders who did the US anthem were not half bad. All that hair dye didnt scratch their vocal chords.
—After three anthems, Nelly sang Just A Dream. Not my genre, but Ive heard worse. Now, did anyone not really care for the pacing/flow segue from Nelly, to the main event?
—Before the bout, Steward said he thought Marg had a chance, and shouldnt be such a wide underdog. Why? Size, he said. He said also that if Manny were to beat Marg, he should go back down to welter or thereabouts.
—Marg kissed his son, after his son gave him the father, son, Holy Spirit sign, as he started his ring walk. Even villains have their soft side eh?
—MannyMania mightve jumped the shark when Lamps said Manny might be able to pick and choose what country he wants to be the president of.
–Interesting, Buffer doesnt always do this…he introed the trainers before announcing the principals.
–You heard it here first. Put Manny on Dancing With The Stars.
—Max Kellerman said he thinks Manny has slipped a bit in the last year or so, and saw him get hit quite a bit, and that Floyd might see this, and want a piece of a slipping Manny. Hmm. I dont see the slippage. Youse? I see a guy at his peak, loving every minute of it…