Sports & Outdoors

Pacquiao vs. Margarito: The PacMan takes the title in a David-and-Goliath-esque showdown


It was a classic battle of David versus Goliath. On Nov. 13, 2010, Manny “The PacMan” Pacquiao faced Antonio Margarito in the Cowboys Stadium for the WBC super welterweight belt.

Margarito’s physical advantage was apparent as the boxers posed for the traditional pre-fight stare-down. Towering an extra 5 inches over Pacquiao and weighing in at 150 lbs, almost 6 lbs more than the PacMan, Margarito was characteristically cocky. The PacMan looked calm and collected despite his apparent physical disadvantages. He had confidence in his speed, ambidexterity and stamina.

In a pre-fight interview, Margarito explained that he prepared for the fight by studying the ins and outs of Pacquiao. “I believe in getting ready for a fight. The preparation that leads up to the fight is where you beat them.”

As the main event of the night, the fight took center stage even before blows were exchanged in the ring. Lockeroom drama yet again accused Margarito of illegally trying to obtain an advantage, this time by taking the banned stimulant Ephedra. The tension backstage mirrored the crowd, as spectators at home and in the arena sat tensely poised for the main event

Margarito, as some speculated, was fighting to win back his dignity after his suspension from the WBC for the hand-wrapping scandal. For PacMan, this would be his eighth world title win—a win that would immortalize him in the boxing world.

When Nelly took his final bows and the lights dimmed in the arena, it was time. David and Goliath met again.

In the first rounds, the PacMan danced around an unusually unaggressive Margarito. Taking an early lead, Pacquiao was relentless with his three (and more)-punch combinations, while Margarito relied on just his jabs and wide right hooks. These were too slow to phase PacMan as he flowed in and out of range, really controlling the match. Throughout, the PacMan landed his signature right hooks to the head, an unexpected weapon for a southpaw.

Margarito was finally in control in the fifth round, as he cornered Pacquiao. Still, the PacMan slipped away mostly unscathed thanks to great lateral movement and agility. After the rough exchange of blows, Margarito looked torn up, his left eye bruised and streaming blood.

In the sixth and only round that went to Margarito, he landed two powerful, clean body punches. This time, Margarito dominated in a fierce corner exchange. The PacMan was barely saved by the bell.

In the seventh and eighth rounds, Pacquiao came out stronger, looking for revenge. After an eventful sixth round, Margarito looked slow and unaggressive again while the PacMan danced around him.

The next rounds were brutal for Margarito. Looking bloody, uncreative and simply spent, he was at Pacquiao’s mercy in the tenth round. Pacquiao was obviously concerned for Margarito’s health and eased up out of respect.

In the eleventh round, it was obvious the PacMan would win, as Margarito, fueled only by pride, stumbled from foot to foot, trying to just make it to the end of the round. Concerned for Margarito, the PacMan continuously asked the referee to stop the match.

The referee finally ended the fight in the twelfth round, earning Pacquiao his eight world title. In a unanimous decision, the judges’ scores were 120-108, 118-110 and 119-109, all for the PacMan. This time, David claimed victory over Goliath with speed, combination punches, a vicious right hook and agile footwork. In contrast, Margarito was hurt badly and sent to the hospital where tests confirmed a broken orbital bone.

Proud with his performance, the humble Pacquiao said in a post-fight interview with Max Kellerman, “I just do my job. Boxing is not killing each other. It’s about entertainment for everybody.”

Running out of opponents, many are wondering if Pacquiao will fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. “If the fight happens, that’s good. If not, I am ok. I am happy with what happened in the fight,” Pacquiao said. This combination of ferocious, skillful competitor and kind human being is what, in my opinion, makes Manny “The PacMan” Pacquiao one of the best boxers in history.