By Lamar Sparkman
Another big man got mowed down Saturday night when Filipino sensation Manny Pacquiao(52-3-2, 38 kos) gave Antonio Margarito the worst beating of his career. In fact he remains hospitalized waiting for swelling to subside so he can have surgery for a fractured right orbital bone and is expected to be there until Wednesday. Friday after the weigh-in I expressed reservations to my previous prediction of Manny by late round stoppage when he came in at 144.6 pounds for a 150lb contracted limit but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
By fight time Margarito had re-hydrated to 165lbs to Manny’s 148 and when the fighters met at the center of the ring I literally gasped at the size disparity. In the first two rounds Margarito was effective using his jab keeping Manny at a distance; was effective blocking punches and dealt fairly well with his speed. By the third round Manny began to open up and let his combinations go putting Margarito on the defensive and was able to land his right hook over the jab and through the gloves of the slower man. It was the first sign of the kind of night it would be if Antonio wasn’t able to cut off the ring and land something significant. Manny could sense it to as he would say after the fight, “after the first two rounds, and the third round I was thinking that I had the fight…but I didn’t want to get too overconfident in the fight.” Margarito is a volume puncher who comes forward and wears his opponent down but if he can’t land he becomes ineffective especially when being pushed back by a whirlwind of punches. In the fourth round he was hit by a barrage of punches, a blistering uppercut that cut him under the right eye and a body shot that seemed to take the steam out of the Mexican warrior.
In the sixth round Pacquiao backed up to the ropes and was caught with a nice body shot that caused him to sit on the middle rope but quickly slipped away and moved around the ring to recuperate, by the end of the round as he was being cornered and hit with punches he responded by landing shots of his own as the round came to a close. The next few rounds Manny went to work using his right hook as Margarito moved in and stepped off to the side, then follow up by landing blistering combinations to the head and body that was wearing him down. By the 9th round it was evident that Margarito was taken tremendous punishment as Manny bounced shot after shot off the Mexican warriors face and was simply too slow to land on his constantly moving opponent.
By the 11th round Margarito’s right eye had swollen shut with a nasty slit underneath and the left was cut and beginning to close. Referee Laurence Cole stopped the action to put up fingers to make sure he could see. He had his moments landing a few shots and trapped his elusive target on the ropes but by then Manny had let up in obvious concern for his battered and cut up foe. He even turned to the ref a few times in an effort to get him to step in and check Margarito’s cuts. In the last round Cole stopped the action again and let the fight continue. Manny clearly carried Margarito to the final bell and even admitted after the fight that he had pity for his opponent and just wanted to get through the last round and not fight toe to toe. Hopefully Margarito’s corner didn’t end his career by letting him go out the last few rounds and take so much punishment, Manny landed an astounding 441 power shots to Margarito’s 135 and out landed him 474 to 229.
I don’t know who Manny fights next because he’s gone up in weight facing top level opponents and dominating them as he continuously enhances his status in the all time great category. Other than Floyd Mayweather there isn’t many challenges left as his trainer Freddie Roach said after the fight addressing questions about Pacquiao’s future. If Floyd Mayweather saw this performance chances are he won’t be anymore willing to face him then he was the two previous times the fight fell apart. “After this great performance, Mayweather needs to put up or shut up or move out of the country…Face it, Manny’s way about him at this point,” said Roach. Its becoming clear that his days in the sport are coming to a close especially with his job as congressman and lack of challenges left so we should appreciate him while he’s still fighting because there might not be another fighter this special for a long time.
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is born and raised in Nashville,TN I’m a business major currently taking classes for business and information systems. I enjoy watching many sports but there’s something unique about the discipline it takes to go through weeks of training to prepare yourself mentally and physically for a fight. I grew up watching boxing with my dad but stop watching in the late 90′s when sanctioning bodies watered the sport down with so many belts in each weight class. In 2005, I went to watch Hopkins/Taylor I and it brought me back, I’ve been a huge fan every since and enjoy reading and commenting about the sport with other fans.
Favorite boxers: Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Roy Jones, Jr.
Most memorable fights: Tyson-Douglas, Bowe-Holyfield II, and Tyson-Holyfield I and II
Follow at http://twitter.com/lamarfromtn