Pound-for-pound champ Manny Pacquiao has yet to find a weight class he can't conquer. Despite being outweighed by 17 pounds, Pacquiao beat up former welterweight champ Antonio Margarito for 12 one-sided rounds in front of a crowd of 41,734 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The contract weight for the vacant WBC junior middleweight title was 150 pounds, but by fight time Margarito was at 165 while Pacquiao was still just 148. The win gives Pacquiao world titles in a record eighth weight classes!
The fight was competitive for several rounds but after that it was all Pacquiao as Margarito had no answers for his smaller opponent's hand speed and movement. By the middle rounds, Margarito had a large gash under his swollen right eye and was losing each round by a large margin. Pacquaio was never able to knock Margarito down but, by the 11th round, was looking at referee Laurence Cole to stop the fight. Neither Cole nor Margarito's corner would call a halt to the beating so Manny took it upon himself to show some mercy and carried Margarito to the final bell. Scores were 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110, but the two judges who didn't score it a shutout must have been looking for a round to give to Margarito. Punch stats had Pacquiao landing 474 punches - mostly power shots - to 229 for Margarito.
Margarito will never regain his reputation in the sport, but he did show tremendous toughness and resilience by never backing down when many fighters would have let the fight be stopped. While Pacquaio was extremely impressive, he did take some heavy shots on the ropes at times and, after the fight, admitted to being hurt to the head and body in the middle rounds. Perhaps this could be perceived as a vulnerability by Floyd Mayweather Jr. and finally get Pretty Boy to stop avoiding Manny and give boxing fans the fight everyone wants to see. Don't underestimate the shrewdness of Mayweather. Pacquiao is doing all the hard work in the ring to make Pacquaio-Mayweather a huge payday for both men. However, when the fight eventually takes place - hopefully sooner rather than later - Mayweather will likely still get a 50/50 split of the purse.