November 14, 2010, Dallas, Texas
Antonio Margarito got his redemption. Coming back after a one year ban from fighting in the United States, the Tijuana Tornado had something to prove and although he left the ring saying that he had failed Mexico, he certainly did not fail himself or boxing fans.
Two fights ago he was destroyed in the ring by Sugar Shane Mosley after being caught with a hardened substance in his hand wraps. This time he came back full of determination and fury and although he did not throw his usual 100 punches per round he landed early with a strong left jab which forced Manny Pacquiao to restart several times in the early rounds.
The problem facing Margarito was that Pacquiao is the best fighter on the planet (maybe even All-Time). Manny makes adjustments not only during the fight but during the round. He hits from every angle, gets leverage on his punches even when he's not set and is deadly accurate with both hands.
Margarito has deep reserves of will and physical toughness but hespent the night squared up in front of Manny, offering no angles and had his right eye swollen shut by the 4th round. By the 6th, they were both closed but in the 7th he went to work, backing Pacquiao against the ropes and landing thunderous body shots. Rounds 1-6 had all gone to Manny and when he landed all six punches from a six punch power punch combination, he also won the 7th.
In the 8th Margarito again backed Manny into the ropes and hurt him for the first time in the fight. Landing his signature left hook to the body, Margarito followed it with a right just above the ear of Pacquiao which momentarily buckled him but it took Manny all of five seconds to fire his own combination and fight his way off the ropes. From there Manny employed a lot of side to side movement, visibly fatigued through the end of nine.
Rounds 10, 11 and 12 all belonged to Pacquiao with Margarito landing just 40 punches in those three rounds. By that time Manny had him severely cut under both eyes and twice the fight was stopped by the referee to have the Doctor check Margaritos eyes.
Between rounds 11 and 12 the ref went to Margaritos corner and asked if he wanted to continue, and with blood coming from his mouth, nose and both eyes, answered quickly and sternly I'm good, I'm good.
This may be too much personal disclosure for a boxing article but this week we celebrated Veterans Day. I understand that war is sometimes necessary but I do not like it. I don't like death or destruction of families and the honest truth is I just don't get it. But when I see two warriors, one Mexican and one Philippine, come into the ring wearing their countries colors, beat the bloody hell out of each other for 36 minutes and embrace afterwards, I get that. Way down deep in my bones, I get that.
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