By Marie Rea
Ever since the Philippines’ pride, pugilist Emmanuel Dapidran “Manny” Pacquaio started his boxing career, this writer came to appreciate this certainly violent yet great sport!
More so that fateful Sunday, 14th of November 2010 (November 13 in America) when the pound-for-pound king PACMAN almost decimated the giant Mexican Antonio “Tony” Margarito, also called the “Tijuana Tornado.”
Manny had gone on to write another chapter in the history of this great sport by brilliantly winning the World Boxing Council (WBC)’s super welterweight title. By now, he’s won in eight different weight classes! An awesome feat no doubt, the first for a boxer like no other!
The other divisions he won were flyweight,super bantamweight, featherwieght, super featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and light welterweight.
Some of his impressive records: He is the first boxer in history to win ten world titles in eight different weight divisions. He is also the first boxer in history to win the lineal championships in four different weight classes. He was named “Fighter of the Decade” for the 2000s by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA).
THE MATCH: MANNY VS MARGARITO
At the start, a few Filipinos and Australians whom this writer talked to at the” Basement Filipino Restaurant” to watch the match held at the Dallas Cowboy Stadium in Texas, said they felt a bit apprehensive. It was a different mood from last year’s bout between Manny and Clotty which everyone knew Pacman won easily!
Why? If you look at the physical traits of these two brave souls, our Manny seem to be the underdog. Even if you’re a novice boxing spectator like this writer, you will conclude the Tijuana born boxer has several advantages- he has the height, he is way taller and heavier, about 10 kilos (20 pounds) as Manny clocked in at 148 pounds to Margarito’s 165 pounds. Hence the latter also has a longer reach and seems to look menacing as he has bared his impressive physique, tattoos and all while standing side by side with our “tiny” Manny, a day before the bout!
Scary sight it was, at least for me! However, as the match started we slowly realised our fears were unfounded! Looks were deceiving indeed as Manny started throwing left and right punches to the body and head of his much taller opponent! As the rounds progressed it became clearer and clearer to me that our Manny had a chance to succeed!
Despite the counter punches of the Mexican, they seem weaker compared to the Pacman’s more effective and faster counter punches! In fact, speed and smart tactics on Manny’s part seem to be the factors that were helping him win round after round!
Brilliant was one word that came to my mind! Pacquiao wasn’t a fancy mover like Muhammad Ali, but he had moments where the audience would scream at how he superbly docked, in fact quite a few times when Margarito forced him to a corner or onto the ropes!
But Tony’s efforts were futile as our country’s pride went on to furious fight almost with his life as he popped more punches on Margarito’s face that by round five he was worryingly bleeding on his face’s right side! Now more than ever, we were convinced only a “lucky punch,” probably the much touted right upper cut of Margarito might suddenly stop our hero in his tracks!
With greater skill, however, it didn’t materialise, thankfully! Manny continued to pelt Tony with his combination left and right punches, even upper cuts and hooks as well!
By the end of round eight, as the crowd (both in the stadium and the restaurant) roared due to the entertaining rope action mostly by Manny, we were almost certain it was in the bag, Pacman was going to win!
Margarito, for his part would stand gallantly like a proud Mexcian till the end as he looked a sorry sight, like that of a victim of a nasty mugging,with both eyes almost closed! Or, as an old student of mine said on his Facebook post, “like an inflamed and battered piniata!” Some of us women in the crowd sympathised with Tony as he refused to give up!
At the end of 12 rounds, it was apparent: Pacquiao was declared the winner by unanimous decision! He won convincingly as he scored more in all the rounds!
I couldn’t contain my pride, joy and amazement as two brave warriors faced up and one emerged victorious through sheer intellect, speed and lots of inspiration!
Manny Pacquiao, you’re a boxer like no other, on behalf of the Filipino people, this novice boxing fan salutes you!
Many thanks also for a superb fight, boxing fans surely got their money’s worth!