There was a lot of talk leading up to Manny’s fight with Antonio Margarito. Now a politician with extra commitments and pressure there was talk of Manny not preparing as well as he did in previous training camps. Training camp began in Baguiao City in the Philipines where Manny developed foot injury from wearing hard shoes while in parliament. This delayed his hill sprints and running for a while which set back his early conditioning.
Manny thought after his previous fights with Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey that he was a bit slow after putting on the weight he needed to. His metabolism and work rate in training is so intense that gaining weight is just so hard for him. For Margarito he wanted to go in lighter and faster which concerned Alex Ariza (Manny’s strength and conditioning trainer) in the camp. Ariza felt he hadn’t got Manny into what he thought was the best shape for a fight with the biggest and arguably strongest opponent Pacquiao ever faced.
Freddie and Manny both agreed that to beat Margarito they needed to be fast, elusive and move better than him. They came in to the fight light, fast and with the right strategy to counter every move Margarito made. Manny was extremely fast, explosive and danced around Margarito all night long. He had Margarito chasing him as he danced in and out, landing right hooks and straight lefts almost at will.
The fight should have been stopped by the 9th round but for some reason wasn’t. After being rushed to hospital following the fight Margarito was found to have a fractured orbital bone and will be having surgery on Tuesday. Pacquiao noticeably slowed his pace during the last few rounds of their bout. He kept gesturing to the referee in the last few rounds to stop the fight as he feared he might permanently injure Margarito.
“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.”
His trainer Freddie Roach echoed the same sentiments:
“He’s a very tough guy,” Roach said of Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs). “I was surprised how tough he was. He has the worst corner. They probably ruined his career by not stopping the fight.”
Majority of the people thought that the bout should have been waved off by the referee or his corner, but they left it for Margarito to decide, and the boxer would have nothing of it:
“There was no way I was going to quit. I’m a Mexican, we fight until the end”
Margarito showed a lot of heart and had some good moments in the fight particularly in round 6 where he had Manny on the ropes for a bit and landed some pretty heavy blows. Manny stated after the fight that he was lucky to make it out of that round.
At the end of the day Margarito was truly out classed by a man who was simply too fast, too skilled and better trained. Incredibly Manny has made history by winning his eighth world title in eight different weight divisions.
Well done Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao. You are one of a kind and have brought pride and joy not only to the Philipines, but to every boxing fan on the planet.