Sunday, November 14, 2010
It's just Manny being Manny
When you write a weekly column on both MMA and Boxing, what are you to do when you have a weekend stacked with both? You watch both of course; I taped UFC 122, and then decide which event is worth writing about. While I love MMA and the UFC, this weekend it comes in second after watching arguably the world's greatest boxer Manny 'Pacman' Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KO's), doing what no man has done before. However, when you break it down, you end up seeing it's just Manny being Manny.
Pacquiao, the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world, proved it once again, literally, as he won the vacant WBC light middleweight (154 lbs.) title in dominating fashion against the much larger former multi-weight champion Antonio 'The Tijuana Tornado' Margarito (38-7, 27 KO's). The win also made Pacquiao a champion in eight different weight classes; a first and an unbelievable accomplishment when you consider he started his career as a 106 pound flyweight 15 years ago.
What makes it even more impressive is in the fashion that he did it. Officially weighing in @ 144.5 lbs. for the fight, he was five and a half pounds lighter than Margarito. However, that was at the weigh-in on Friday. Stepping into the ring Saturday night, Margarito had re-hydrated to 165lbs., while Pacquiao had only went up to 148; a 17 pound difference. In other words, it was a welterweight fighting a super middleweight. Yet, despite this and other obstacles, Pacquiao decimated Margarito using his speed, angles and punching combinations to punish his foe.
While he was never seriously challenged in the fight, there was one round where he did get caught against the ropes and Margarito was able to deliver some damage to the body, but it was minimal at best. Whenever he felt he was losing momentum, Pacquaio was quick to turn the tables on Margarito, often inviting him to stand and trade. This gesture throughout the fight made me realize something I already knew but was reaffirmed; Pacquaio may not have hands of stone, but he definitely has stones made of stone.
There was some controversy before the fight where Margarito's trainer, Robert Garcia, claimed a representative from his camp witnessed some illegal tampering with Pacquiao's hand wraps. However, it appeared to be more head games, which is the way the athletic commission labeled it, than anything else. Meanwhile, Margarito, who ironically was in only his second fight after serving a one year suspension for the very same reason was himself embroiled in controversy.
Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, claimed that Garcia's fighter was seen ingesting a form of Ephedrine, which is a banned substance in the State of Texas. Strangely enough, Margarito was seen on camera in his locker room after having his hands wrapped, receiving a cup of what appeared to be coffee. Someone was also seen adding something to the drink, from what appeared to be sugar packets.
Just so we understand, assuming it was nothing illegal, there's nothing wrong with drinking a cup of coffee or any other drink for that matter. I've just never seen a fighter in any capacity ever do it right before they enter battle. Seemed kind of strange to me, but then again I'm not a coffee drinker.
Pacquaio, so completely pummeled his opponent that he purposely pulled back on his attack in the last round instead of going for the finish. It was evident in the fight and he admitted such in his post-fight interview. His reasoning, "I saw how injured Margarito was, his eyes bleeding and swollen, I didn't want to hurt him anymore."
It has since been revealed Pacquiao broke Margarito's orbital bone. Compassion in a prize fighter is probably not a good trait to have for a person who makes a living hurting their opponent. Then again, this not just any fighter, this is Manny Pacquiao. A man from very humble beginnings in his native Philippines, who is dedicated to serving those in need as he's proven by being elected to Congress in his homeland earlier this year. "I just want to make people happy", Pacquiao said last night.
That was his response to the often lingering question as to whether or not he will ever fight undefeated Floyd Mayweather. Pacquiao, who's been the butt of Mayweather's jokes and taunts on numerous occasions, made no reference towards Mayweather. He instead chose to remain humble as he always has throughout his career. Mayweather fans might say it's because he is afraid or wants no part of 'Pretty Boy' Floyd. I say, it's just Manny being Manny.
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