En route to capturing his eighth world championship in a different weight class in form of the WBC super welterweight title, the fighting pride of the Philippines Manny Pacquiao (51-3-2 38KO) could only look with concern towards referee Laurence Cole in the latter rounds in hopes that the official would take a hint and put an end to the carnage he was dishing out to his opponent, Antonio Margarito (38-6-0 27KO 1NC).
The lopsided and tumultuous outcome concluded a long awaited "David and Goliath" match up between the 5'6", 154 pound Pacquiao and the much larger 5'11", 160 pound Margarito. Besides the height and weight advantage Margarito held over Pacquiao, the reach difference was six inches, with Margarito measuring 72 inches and Pacquiao measuring 67 inches.
Prior to the bout, Margarito had been coming off his comeback win against fellow Mexican fighter Roberto Garcia after a prolonged absence from the ring since January of 2009.
Margarito's inactivity in the sport was brought about by a year long suspension handed to him by the California State Athletic Commission following a scandalous controversy concerning his hand wraps in fights against welterweight superstars Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto.
As stated in reports from the CSAC, Margarito had apparently utilized hand wraps with traces of sulfur and calcium which, when combined with oxygen, forms a substance similar to that of Plaster of Paris.
On HBO's 24/7, Margarito stuck to his word and told the media that he indeed had no knowledge of the modified wraps mistakenly planted by his trainer Javier Capetillo. The Mexican contender said that this fight with Pacquiao was his chance to prove to everyone that he was indeed innocent and what kind of fighter he really is.
In the exclusive series, Margarito was depicted training harder than ever in hopes of dusting off and restoring his tarnished legacy with a win over the living legend Pacquiao as his position prompted him with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Some doubts also surrounded the Pacquiao camp before the fight as his trainers Freddie Roach and Alex Ariza showed displeasure at the frequent distractions their fighter was entertaining. Pacquiao's recent election into Philippine office as the Sarangani province Congressman clearly divided his time which in the past was used purely for training.
Pacquiao was seen straying from training camp activities ranging from an appearance on late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live to a quick trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas just one week before the fight.
Pacquiao boasted a 12 bout winning streak stemming from all the way back to March of 2005 when he lost via unanimous decision to Erik Morales in the MGM Grand Garden arena in Las Vegas Nevada.
The crowd of more than 70,000 spectators, not to mention the millions that gathered live on Pay-Per-View, went wild with anticipation as both fighters approached the center of the ring to begin the evening's main event.
The first round started off with the more physically imposing Margarito sticking out his left jab—a move much advised by critics so as fully utilize his given reach advantage. Pacquiao wasted no time in dealing with the situation by penetrating the seemingly soft defense and relaxed jabs coming from the opposing corner and ended round one with his adversary heading towards the stool looking worried.
More of Pacquiao's early surge carried into the next two rounds as he landed consistent combinations while also trucking through Margarito's defense. Pacquiao moved at much quicker pace laterally providing him with a strong three round foundation.
The fourth round opened a window for Margarito as he pressured Pacquiao into the ropes, his assault was altered though once Pacquiao escaped and began connecting with powerful flurries, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
For a moment, with his hands serving as an umbrella in the midst of a thunderstorm of punches, Margarito looked just about ready to topple. Luckily, the "Tijuana Tornado" held his own and survived the see-saw round, coming at the cost of a cut opening up on the lower portion of his right eye.
The climax of the confrontation stretched from the fifth to eighth round with a give and take onslaught commencing between the two men. Margarito looked for every chance he could find in getting Pacquiao onto the ropes or into a corner, proving effective and damaging each time. Too bad for him, Pacquiao always found his way out either through spinning off the ropes or simply landing a swift combination to ward the big man back.
Pacquiao began a trend of dominating the majority of each round whilst Margarito found himself in a race against the clock each time as he punished Pacquiao with sudden outbursts nearing the end of each round. These attacks included him landing a huge left hook on the right side of Pacquiao's body in the sixth round, causing the "Pac-Man" to stumble and respond with desperately fast combinations.
Referee Cole marked a timeout in the seventh round to have Margarito's eye examined by the ringside doctor, who deemed Margarito able to continue on.
As the event reached the eighth round, it became apparent that Margarito needed to win, and win big in all of the remaining rounds if he wanted a chance of salvaging the night's efforts. Margarito came in hard and cornered Pacquiao twice, landing shot after shot to beat the leading fighter, but just like the previous round Pacquiao found a way out to avoid a knockdown, though this time, possibly giving up a point in the cards.
That, though, was the last round wherein Margarito proved to be relevant, as his tactics of trying to pin down the Filipino were becoming more and more ineffective approaching the waning moments of the evening.
With the cut below Margarito's right eye swollen badly enough to shut it entirely, Pacquiao began moving in the direction of the blind side to remain evasive of the Mexican, who now needed a knockout to steal the spotlight.
It was in the 11th round when Margarito had been rendered into nothing more than a sitting duck, that after more than a full round and a minute of continuous connections, Pacquiao turned to the referee gesturing for him to stop the fight for Margarito's well being.
Pacquiao was ignored by the official at first but at the round's one minute mark, Cole eventually decided to see the cut once again. This lead to nothing but a resumption of action and a thorough pounding from Pacquiao.
Unlike most fights, the twelfth round was quiet and somewhat peaceful, Margarito came out of his corner in poor and battered condition which Pacquiao chose not aggravate further, taking it upon himself to stay away and spare the wobbling Margarito whom had not seen anyone interested in stopping the fight for him; not his trainer, not the referee, not the ringside doctor and certainly not himself.
No immediate handshake took place after the final bell as both camps awaited the landslide decision. It was only after the official cards were released did the two fighters congratulate one another.
All three judges unanimously scored the bout in favor of Pacquiao; Glen Crocker had it 118-110, Jurgen Langos had it 120-109, and Oren Schellenberger had it 119-109.
The earlier mentioned WBO world welterweight champion Cotto was in attendance and spoke of the possibility of taking on the potential winner. In this case, a rematch with Pacquiao, who handed him a loss exactly one year ago, via technical knockout in the 12th round.
Though that may be another good sight, the world knows what it wants and isn't shy about letting it be known; Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Pacquiao in an all out historic battle for this era's seat of boxing supremacy.
This article is brought to you by: The Carlo Chronicles
Carlo's scorecard: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 TOTAL
Pacquiao: | 10 | 10 | 10 | 10 | 10 | 10 | 10 | 09 | 10 | 10 | 10 | 10 || 119
Margarito: | 09 | 09 | 09 | 09 | 09 | 10 | 09 | 10 | 09 | 09 | 09 | 09 || 110