An old American adage says, “Everything’s bigger than Texas.” It still resounds today.
On paper, the fight looked big: it’s in huge Cowboys Stadium in Arlington,Texas, and with an enormous video screen above the boxing ring; and Manny Pacquiao’s fighting Antonio Margarito, whom the former gave up four-and-a-half inches in height and six inches in reach.
Still, the Filipino delivered yet another big performance. He dominated the Mexican right from the opening bell. He was extremely fast, accurate and powerful, landing 474 punches (according to Yahoo! Sports and The Ring website) with 411 of those of the face-shattering variety. He obviously mauled his opponent so much that Margarito’s face needed surgery immediately after.
Looking blasted and seemingly defeated, the Mexican nevertheless kept the fight interesting, trapping the Pambansang Kamao to the ropes and corners. He landed some nice combinations of his own, though Pacquiao managed to counterpunch every one of those. He even fought in Round 12 when there’s nothing actually to fight for -- barring a miracle knockout.
Margarito is the latest member to join the list of Pacquiao’s mostly high-profile victims since the Filipino’s last loss to Erik Morales in 2006: Hector Velazquez, Morales (twice), Oscar Larios, Jorge Solis, Marco Antonio Barrera (whom Pac-Man defeated earlier in a career-turning fight), Juan Manuel Marquez (the second fight in that series, after the first one ended in a controversial draw), David Diaz, the legendary Oscar De La Hoya (whom Pacquiao sent into retirement afterwards), Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, and Joshua Clottey. An impressive list, considering the number of ranked fighters he’s downed in the process.
What’s more impressive, though, is that Pacquiao, in that match, did not actually have to close out with a beating –- and the knockout that usually comes with it. Instead, he famously pleaded referee Laurence Cole to stop that fight just because Margarito’s face is wrecked. That’s a class act for Manny, punctuated by the line, “Boxing is not about killing each other.”
Wait, are we hearing this right? “Boxing is not about killing each other”? Well, literally, yes, because boxing –- like any other sport -– is not primarily designed to kill people; it kind of contradicts the nature of boxing (though not totally), even if we like it or not. Of course, we’d love to see him knock his opponent down. Yet, in the name of sportsmanship and safety, he refused to perform a KO on Margarito. There’s no use in furthering the damage on a beaten foe.
The fight aside, Pacquiao is the quintessential Filipino: one who rose from the depths of poverty and willed himself into prosperity; one who never failed to thank the Almighty after each bout; and one who is of service to his motherland. His name appears on elementary students’ textbooks. He’s in Congress representing the lone district of Sarangani, his wife’s home province. He appears on television. He’s in his prime both as an athlete and as a citizen. Most of all, he showed that even boxers too can show a humans side even when they're on the ropes.
Now that’s big, especially from a guy who’s just 5’6½”.
Source of image: http://s771.photobucket.com/.