MANNY PACQUIAO cemented his place alongside Floyd Mayweather as the best in boxing back in 2010, with an astonishing victory over Antonio Margarito for the WBC light-middleweight title.
WITH the lopsided victory over Margarito, Pacquiao could claim ‘world’ titles in eight weight classes, including lineal championships at light-welter and featherweight, and was seen as the only man that had a chance against Mayweather.
FOUR years later, we are still speaking about Pacquiao and Mayweather one day fighting, and the fight with Margarito in fact only came about as negotiations broke down again between the two stars and promoter Bob Arum saw the opportunity and a vacant title to contest.
GOING into the fight, some thought that Margarito’s marauding style and sheer size advantage would be too much for the dazzling Filipino, who had the fight made at a catchweight of 150lbs, for the title Sergio Martinez recently left behind.
PACQUIAO, who was stepping up from welterweight where he was the WBO champion, was fighting in the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas for the second time in 2010, after soundly dispatching Joshua Clottey on points in March.
BEFORE that he had stopped Miguel Cotto, following an incredible performance in 2009, a man that Margarito had plenty of history with. Margarito was perhaps coming towards the end of his career, but he could almost always guarantee a good performance and a close fight.
BUT sadly, this wasn’t the case against Pacquiao. The Filipino weighed in six pounds under the limit, whilst Margarito just made it, but on the night the size difference was a massive 17 pounds.
PACQUIAO was also giving a four-and-a-half inch height advantage to Margarito, who bulked up to 165lbs overnight, but he hammered the Mexican almost into submission, at one point famously asking referee Laurence Cole to stop the fight.
MARGARITO suffered three gruesome cuts and was rushed to hospital following the fight, which he lost widely on all three scorecards, 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110, where they also discovered that he had fractured his right orbital bone.
PACQUIAO didn’t pursue the stoppage against his vulnerable foe in the final round, remarking in his post-fight interview that “boxing is not for killing. I did not want to damage him permanently”.
UNFORTUNATELY Pacquiao did leave lasting damage, as Margarito nearly lost his licence due to the injuries to his right eye, and in the Mexican’s next fight, the same eye lost him his career, as the referee stopped his fight with Cotto due to some severe swelling.
PACQUIAO has gone on to guarantee himself a place in the Canastota Hall of Fame when he finally decides to hang up the gloves, however he is without a stoppage victory since his win over Cotto in 2009.
THIS is a so-called “weakness” that has been brought up by many of his most recent opponents, although his trainer Freddie Roach insists he can stop his next opponent Chris Algieri next week in Macau.
AS for Margarito, following his loss in the Cotto rematch and the controversy surrounding his hand wraps in the first fight, he will always be remembered as a cult hero and a three-time world champion at welterweight.
HE said following the fight: “I would like to congratulate Manny Pacquiao on his win and I hope the fans enjoyed our battle at the Cowboys Stadium. I gave it all I had, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the victory over the best fighter in the world today.”