Arlington, TX – Once again Manny Pacquiao put forth a performance that left the announced attendance of 41,734 fight fans who crammed Cowboys Stadium in awe. It was a performance for the ages as he easily pushed back the advances of Antonio Margarito to capture his eighth world title in as many weight classes.
12 Rounds – WBC Super Welterweight Title
Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs) 12 UD Antonio Margarito (38-7-0-1, 27 KOs)
Scores: 120-108, 118-110, 119-109
As the old adage goes, “styles make fights.” Nowhere was this to have been truer than when this fight was announced. What fans expected was the relentless pressure and power of Margarito going up against the speed and heart of Pacquiao. What we got was definitive proof that Manny Pacquiao is an all-time great in the sport. A fight who transcends fighting. Much like Muhammad Ali captured the hearts of a generation with his fistic prowess and engaging personality so too does Manny Pacquiao inspire the same passion from today’s generation of boxing fans. Questions surrounding how Pacquiao would deal with a fighter of Margarito’s size and power (the “Tijuana Tornado” came into the ring rehydrated to 165 lbs) were answered often toward the later rounds as Margarito pinned Pacquiao along the ropes and landed shots that would have downed any other fighter. Pacquiao walked through this fire to land salvo after salvo on the iron-chin of Margarito. By the end of the fight Margarito’s face looked as if it had been stuck in a blender. In many respects it was a virtuoso performance from a fighter who puts on such performances regularly. It wasn’t as if Margarito was not a worthy challenger, it is just that he had the misfortune of challenging a legend.
10 Rounds – NABA NABO WBC Continental Americas Welterweight Title
Mike Jones 23-0, 18 KOs) 12 MD Jesus Soto-Karass 24-5-3-1, 16 KOs)
Scores 94-94, 95-94, 97-93
Despite the fact that he is a damn good fighter, Philly prospect Mike Jones has gone largely unnoticed by the general boxing public. However, I can guarantee that Jones’ popularity will hit a fever pitch following the scintillating war of attrition waged with Soto-Karass. Things started off at a blistering pace with Jones, clearly the more athletic of the two fighters, enjoyed success early on peppering Soto-Karass with everything but the kitchen sink. However, try as he might, Jones could not drop the Mexican pugilist and appeared to punch himself out following a heated exchange at the end of the second round. Soto-Karass would rally back in the third to batter a clearly fatigued Jones. Jones seemed to catch a second wind in the sixth and seventh round opening a nasty cut over the right eye of Soto-Karass. Ever the warrior, Soto-Karass began to open up a vicious body attack that had Jones uncomfortable and backing away from his advances. It was a close fight, and some may dispute the nod to Jones, but truth be told, this fight could have gone either way (though the 97-93 score is ridiculous).
12 Rounds WBA Interim World Junior Featherweight Title
Guillermo Rigondeaux (7-0, 5 KOs) 12 SD Ricardo Cordoba (37-3-2, 23 KOs)
Scores: 117-109, 114-112, 112-114
Here is the dirty little secret about these highly touted Cuban amateurs; they don’t make exciting professional fighters. Outside of Yuriorkis Gamboa, name me one Cuban amateur who translated to the excitement in the professional ranks. Despite Rigondeaux’s stellar amateur accomplishments as a member of the great Cuban national team, the fact remains that in his professional career, the excitement factor has not been through the roof. Not that such tarnishes Rigondeaux’s accomplishments in the ring, he’s still one of the most gifted boxers in the sport, but he will never be confused with the late Diego Corrales. It’s clear that Top Rank believes this to be true as the brought in a Central American banger in Cordoba to elicit some action. It should be noted that the fight was not completely devoid of action. After all, Rigondeaux did drop Cordoba with a body shot in the fifth round, and slip by Rigondeaux in the sixth was ruled a knockdown, but by and large the fight turned into an exhibition of counter punching and slick defense. While some may point to the fact that a fighter with six professional fights is undeserving of a title shot, let’s be real, it’s not like these titles actually mean anything.
10 Rounds – Lightweight Fight
Brandon Rios (26-0-1, 19 KOs) TKO 5 Omri Lowther (14-3, 10 KOs)
Time of Stoppage: 2:17 round five
While it should be noted that this was not Rios’ finest performance, taking a fight on short notice and having to lose significant weight will do that, the Oxnard native did what he did best against the unknown Lowther. Behind relentless pressure Rios methodically stalked his prey who tried in vain to use constant movement to disrupt Rios’ attack. Unfortunately for Lowther, he was unable to be fleet of foot long enough to keep Rios at bay. Nor, was Lowther packing the prerequisite firepower to keep Rios from charging in. Eventually things went horribly awry for Lowther who was stopped after being battered around the ring in the fifth round. Not a solid showing for Rios, but one that solidifies his reputation of a tenacious brawler.
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