Tuesday, November 16, 2010
November 13th, 2010 will go down in the boxing history books as the day we all got to witness David beat Goliath. And soundly. There were no actual slingshots involved this time however, though Manny Pacquiao's devastating combinations probably felt a lot like an arsenal of rocks being unleashed on the bewildered Antonio Margarito. Though Margarito was five inches taller than Pacquiao, with a six inch reach advantage as well as a 17 pound weight advantage come fight time, he gave validity to the old prose attributed to boxer, Robert Fitzsimmons, "The bigger they come, the harder they fall."
From the first bell, it was clear that Margarito's usual style of smothering his opponents with busy hands would fail. Miserably. Pacquiao was literally boxing circles around him, splitting his guard with a sharp jab every now and then. He would follow it up with lightning fast punch combinations, leaving Margarito left in his guard, not knowing where his opponent went.
Margarito's punches seemed to be laden with molasses in comparison to Pacquiao's blindingly fast hand-speed. But he did land a few. Most notably, in the sixth round, when a body shot combination wobbled the Pacman and had him on the bike for the rest of the round. He could easily have gone down and you could tell he wanted to, but for the grace of Lapu Lapu did he manage to stay on his feet and remain standing until the bell rang.
The rest of the fight was pretty much a Pacquiao boxing clinic. There were a few harried moments, where Pacquiao would lay on the ropes and take some shots from the Tijuana Tornado, (downgraded to a "gentle breeze" by this point,) but for the most part, Pac fans enjoyed a one-sided demolition of the taller, larger Margarito.
As the rounds went on, Margarito's eyes ballooned into veritable orbs surrounding each eye. The right eye seemed the worse for the wear, until the left eye decided to try and catch up. Laurence Cole, the referee of the evening (and son of Texas Licensing & Registration executive, Dickie Cole) paused the fight twice to check Margarito's vision, but did not ultimately stop the fight. Though Margarito's vision was most definitely impaired and he seemingly lost any likelihood of winning the fight by the 10th round, his trainer Robert Garcia did not stop the fight either.
Margarito showed a lot of heart, by staying in the ring and taking a beating - refusing to succumb to the physical ails and certain temptation of stopping the pain-train by admitting defeat. Nope. He stayed in there and took more karmic payback. Ironically, It was Pacquiao who ultimately showed mercy, carrying him through the last rounds instead of taking the KO. Margarito is not a man who will quit, but many of us are left wondering how Cole and Garcia could let him take such an unnecessary beating and risking his health like that.
When the final bell rang, the beautiful Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, TX erupted with Pacquiao fans cheering and screaming, the magnitude of this victory hitting the crowd all at once. The sound was deafening, somewhat of a sonic boom in the first instance after the bell. Even Margarito fans (at least in my section) congratulated the Pacquiao fans, saying it was a sound victory. One of the Pacman fans seated near me shook hands with the Margarito fan sitting behind him, the bane of his existence for the entire fight, and said "Your boy started out a Mexican, but now he looks Filipino!" and instead of a fight, like I had expected, laughter ensued.
Margarito went immediately to the hospital, where he was found to have a broken right orbital bone and a shattered cheek bone. He is reportedly doing well, and will go into surgery once the swelling goes down. Margarito was not the only one visiting the hospital that night, as it was reported that Manny Pacquiao's mother, Dionesia Pacquiao was taken to the hospital during the fight due to an anxiety attack. (My guess is that it was during the 6th round, because I almost succumbed to panic as well!) She was released later that evening.
As David vs Goliath is a reference from the Bible, Pacquiao vs Margarito was a battle of biblical proportions and will most certainly be remembered as a fight of the ages - perhaps the definitive line of when Manny Pacquiao crossed over from being a Great fighter to an All-Time Great fighter.