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Pacquiao punishes Margarito over 12 rounds November 14, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Boxing.
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13/11/2010

I’ll expand on this when I get a chance to rewatch the fight, but Manny Pacquiao just shredded Antonio Margarito’s face for 12 rounds, winning a clear cut unanimous decision, 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110.

At times, Margarito seemed as though he might impose his formidable size on Pacquiao, but the smaller man continued to pepper him with rapid combinations and getting out of the way in time.  Pacquiao looked a little gassed in the latter stages of the fight (remember, Pacquiao had a 17 pound disadvantage), but Margarito just kept coming forward no matter how hopeless things had become.

By the end, Margarito’s face was a complete mess, his right eye gruesomely swollen and bruised, and his left eye not that much better.  Pacquiao looked relatively unmarked in comparison, but I’m sure the swelling and bruises will emerge over the next couple of hours.  Margarito did land some big body shots and upper cuts, but the punch numbers were staggeringly one sided.  I don’t have the exact numbers at hand at the moment, but I’m sure Pacquiao landed more than 400 punches, and probably more than 400 power shots.  Pacquiao probably could have killed a bear with those punches, but to Margarito’s credit, he lasted until the end.

Pacquaio was no doubt impressive against a much bigger opponent, but he wasn’t as insanely dominant as he was against his last few opponents.  Though they said Margarito was slow, Pacquiao did get tagged several times, and even admitted in the post-fight interview that he was hurt to the head and body when Margarito pinned him against the ropes.

Does this mean Pacquiao is slowing down?  Or should Margarito be given more credit?  And will Mayweather now have the balls to fight Pacquiao if he stays out of jail?

Update: 14/11/2010

Having watched the fight for the second time, I must say Pacquiao was even more dominant than I initially thought.  Even with a 17 pound weight and 4.5 inch height disadvantage, Pacquiao’s blinding hand speed, accurate combinations and tremendous footwork was more than enough to overcome the game but outclassed Margarito.

I think the way Pacquiao has beaten the likes of De la Hoya, Hatton, Cotto and Clottey make people forget that Pacquiao is still human and has his vulnerabilities — this is what makes him such an exciting boxer to watch because he’s not afraid to take risks to, as he says, give fans an exciting fight.  People forget that Pacquiao had a bit of trouble with Cotto in the first few rounds, and that Clottey hit him with a few good ones as well.  The same can be said for Margarito, a world class fighter in his own right.  Margarito landed some bombs on Pacquiao in the fifth and eighth rounds, for me the only rounds you could say he could have won, but it’s just that he came up short against a much better opponent.

For those who don’t know, Pacquiao’s camp vehemently protested Margarito’s use of a supposed weight-loss supplement before the fight, but the fight went ahead anyway.  If Margarito did use something banned we will find out after the post fight drug test.

Also, after the fight Margarito went straight to the hospital for a check-up.  Turns out Pacquiao fractured Margarito’s eye socket and he had to undergo surgery immediately.  Not surprising considering Pacquiao landed a whopping 474 punches (compared to 229 for Margarito), including an insane 411 power shots.

Fight recap

I think you could make a good argument that Pacquiao won every single round of the 12 round fight.  The first round pretty much went according to plan, with Margarito using a stiff jab and Pacquiao going in and out with solid combinations.  The punch numbers were pretty close, but since most of Margarito’s punches were jabs while Pacquiao’s were power shots, the round easily went to Pacquiao.

The second round, Pacquiao went toe-to-toe a little more, and Margarito landed a few decent shots.  However, while the punch stats were close again for the round, but for a short period when Margarito had Pacquiao on the ropes, Pacquiao had the better command of the round and landed the more telling punches.

Freddie Roach told Pacquiao that it was too early to exchange, so Pacquiao went back to what he does best in the third round, which is using his phenomenal footwork to pepper Margarito all over the ring.  More of the same in the fourth, except Pacquiao really started unloading some bombs that rocked and hurt Margarito, causing him to bend over with body shots and opening up a cut and a nasty welt under the bigger man’s eye.  A furious rally in the fifth by Margarito might have been enough to steal the round for people watching ringside, but on the replay it was clear that it was Pacquiao again that landed the bigger, better shots.

In the middle part of the fight, from about rounds 6 to 8, Pacquiao took his foot off the gas pedal a bit.  I’m not sure if he was really gassed or he was just taking a breather because he knew he didn’t have to take any big risks to win the fight.  Round Eight saw Margarito land his best shots, a few sold hooks and uppercuts when Pacquiao was against the ropes, but even then Pacquiao landed the better punches.

Round Nine onwards, the fight was pretty much meaningless because Pacquiao was just torturing Margarito, who just kept coming forward despite taking the beating of his life.  The doctor was called out a few times to make sure Margarito could continue, and even his corner kept asking him if he wanted to go on.  Of course, the Mexican warrior would never give up.  The fight probably should have been stopped but Margarito kept throwing, so it was hard to deny him the chance of finishing on his feet.

Pacquiao, for his part, looked to the referee a few times to see if the fight could be stopped because Margarito’s face was such a mess.  He admitted after the fight that he was taking it easy in the last round because there was no need to inflict permanent injury on his opponent.  “I told the referee, ‘Look at his eyes, look at his cuts,'” Pacquiao said. “I did not want to damage him permanently. That’s not what boxing is about.”

And rewatching that final round, I believe him — I think Pacquiao could have taken Margarito out if he really wanted to, but instead he danced aroud a lot and didn’t go for the kill.

A masterful performance by Pacquiao.  If Mayweather watched this fight, he might start thinking it’s a better option to go to prison than to face Pacquiao in the ring.

PS: the crowd attendance was poor — only 41,734 people attended the fight, much lower than the expected 60,000 that Bob Arum boldly proclaimed was possible.

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