I had a lot of fun last night watching the fight at the bar.
Good friends, rowdy atmosphere, and the guilty pleasure of watching a bunch of meat-head douchebags that looked straight out of the fuckin’ Jersey Shore squirm as their boy “Tony” Margarito died by a thousand cuts.
*Sigh* It’s the little things in life that matter most sometimes…
Regardless of my contempt for all things douchy and meat-headed, I figured I would take the time to share my feelings on some of the fights on the Manny Pacquiao Vs. Antonio Margarito PPV.
I missed the Brandon Rios fight, so I’m not at liberty to comment on that one, however I will say this about the young Mexican:
He’s a rugged and talented fighter that definitely earned my notice with his crushing victory over Anthony Peterson, however the public persona he’s created for himself via his appearances HBO’s 24/7 are definitely not gonna’ earn him any fans.
Seriously man, he came across as oafish and needlessly “street.”
We know you’re tough man, we’ve seen you fight.
Just do us all a favor and let your fists do the talking instead of your mouth next time.
Moving on, I was thoroughly disappointed in Gabriel Rigondeaux’s performance against Ricardo Cordoba.
Perhaps it’s just the hype that Cuban fighters have been getting ever since Yuriorkis Gamboa started fighting in the ‘states regularly, but I expected a lot more from Rigondeaux.
His amateur accolades, recent pair of utterly devastating one-punch body shot knockouts, combined with his built in Pernell Whitaker/Wilfred Benitez-esque anti-punch radar led me to believe that he’d make his HBO debut count for something.
As fate would have it though, Rigondeaux apparently switched off his radar (or broke it), and caught a whiff of something he didn’t like about Cordoba, and thusly decided to wear his dance shoes for most of the fight.
The real surprise for me, was that Rigondeaux looked pretty lousy during the feeling out portion of the fight.
Despite the dramatic knockouts in his young pro career, Rigondeaux is not known among boxing circles for his punching power.
From what I’ve seen, and read, he’s a pure counter puncher that hurts his opponents by exploiting their missteps, not by pounding them with full force shots.
I don’t know if it was the pressure from the crowd, or maybe Cordoba himself; but Rigondeaux’s gameplan from the start seemed to be that of:
Hang back, slip shots, and then charge in with overhand haymakers.
Though it sounds exciting on paper, it doesn’t exactly thrill the audience when not a single one of said haymakers actually lands during the fight.
There were a pair of knockdowns in the fight, one for each man, with Rigondeaux taking a flash down at the hands of a jab to the nose, and Cordoba taking a full 8 count from a nasty body shot.
Kudos to him for getting up from that, can’t imagine how difficult that must’ve been.
While I’m on the subject, kudos to Ricardo Cordoba in general.
Despite a sloppy start, Cordoba skillfully made adjustments to his game, tucking in his elbows tighter after the down, and pressuring with the jab throughout the remainder of the fight.
Though I don’t doubt that he lost the fight, as in my opinion Rigondeaux scored just enough, and was just slippery enough to outpoint him; Cordoba showed an unerring tenacity that will likely score him some big victories in the future.
The man has a serious resume of losses to stellar competition, which will no doubt serve to either make him a gatekeeper for the up and comers, or a thoroughly avoided fighter.
In either case, I was impressed, and hope to seem him get a win next time.
In short, the entirety of this fight’s story stemmed from a goofy, and for lack of a better term; stupid, course of action that Mike Jones decided to take after scoring a damaging series of punches on Soto Karass.
Make no mistake, Soto Karass was rocked pretty good in that second round.
He got caught solid, and stumbled to the ropes, and probably would have gone down had Mike Jones the slightest idea how to hang back and aim his shots.
Instead, we the the audience sat in shock, our mouths agape in silent incredulity as the Herculean form of Mike Jones proceeded to tuck his chin to his collar bone, clench his eyes shut, and whirl his arms about in a looping, windmill motion over and over and over again while making a whining sound akin to a female tennis player in the pre-Williams sister’s era of the sport.
To be fair, Jone’s shots landed just about everywhere on Soto Karass’ body.
On his arms.
On his ears.
On top of his head.
Hell, I’m a few landed in, y’know, vital locations, but I could be wrong.
Pretty sure one of the judges got clocked pretty good too.
This went on for probably a minute and a half.
During that time, as he ducked and squirmed about, gradually getting his legs back under himself; I’d imagine Soto Karass must have thought to himself:
“Is this guy fuckin’ serious!? Oh well, may as well get comfortable…”
Well, turns out Big Mike was dead serious, ’cause he put everything he had into that amateurish display of 3rd grade schoolyard non-pugilism.
And do you know what he got for it boys and girls?
He burnt every ounce of stamina he had in the first 6 minutes of a 10 round fight.
For the remainder of the fight, Jones would stumble around, a rubbery and fatigued mess.
Despite this, he landed hard shots throughout the fight, and managed to skirt away from danger whenever Soto Karass would start building momentum.
Well, most of the time anyway…
Personally, despite punch stats that had Jones way ahead of Soto-Karass, (this was a surprise to me) I actually had Soto Karass beating him via pressure, consistency, and sheer activity.
Put it this way:
My eyes told me Soto Karass won, but if the numbers are indeed legit, then I’d concede that Jones escaped with a narrow decision.
With that ugliness (or is that silliness?) behind us, finally; we get to the main event:
Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito.
This was an amazing experience to see live, surrounded by Pacquiao fans (and a handful of douchebags…).
While every punch the Filipino landed was met with raucous applause, in between it all I found myself clenching my fists and holding my breath every time Margarito got his engine going.
It was an immensely tense and dramatic event, and I’m glad I got to see it live.
That being said, how was the fight?
Well, as I mentioned yesterday, Pacquiao won virtually every round to win a unanimous decision, however it was by no means an easy victory.
On the contrary, this fight showed me a few sides to Pacquiao that I can honestly say I’ve never seen before.
In the first round, Margarito came out throwing nothing but jabs.
My guess is he was trying to set up a straight right hand, but he never really got around to it.
In either case, those jabs, however basic and lazy they may have been, actually landed with alarming regularity in that first round.
That surprised me.
What also surprised me, was that Pacquiao was flat-footed for most of the first half of the fight; something that in my eyes completely negates the advantages yielded by his unique fighting style.
The biggest surprise for me though, came in the 6th round when Margarito landed a tremendous body shot that actually had me thinking “knockout.”
Though my eyes and memories may be playing tricks on me, I swear I saw Manny almost take a knee before biting his lip and running away on rubber legs, and with noodles for arms for the remainder of the round.
Honestly, the look on Pacquiao’s face after he took that shot was one that will stick with me for awhile.
It was primal.
It was the face of a man faced with unfathomable pain, that looked upon the raidly encroaching beast before him and said:
Though this moment was far and away Margarito’s finest moment in the fight, for at least 8 rounds he gave Pacquiao fits while eating his best shots.
Margarito never really “got going” as he typically does in the latter half of his fights, but he had his moments.
While his offense may have appeared ineffectual, and he may have won 1, maybe 2 round tops; every single time he landed anything, it sent a chill down your spine.
The disparity in size between the 2 fighters played a major role in this.
While Manny’s punching always looks good, no matter who he’s landing on, Margarito’s thudding shots, however ugly and infrequent, definitely seemed like the punches of a man 17 pounds larger.
In short, you got the sense that if Pacquiao tried to play cute and eat shots on purpose like he did during the Cotto fight, he probably would’ve gotten seriously hurt in this fight.
Make no mistake though, Manny dominated the fight.
Don’t let anyone tell you he didn’t have to drag his ass through a mobile minefield to do it though.
One thing I’d like to point out, was how somber and worn out Manny seemed after the fight.
Come to think of it, there were several stretches in the fight, post 6th round body shot, where Manny actually seemed fatigued.
Can’t say I’ve ever seen the man slow down before, and I can’t say I liked it.
Seriously though, during the post-fight interview, the combination of Manny’s words and facial expression gave me the impression that he really just wanted to get out of there.
Usually he’s all smiles, and he’s so animated, but this time his mind really seemed to be in a different place.
My gut tells me he’s probably going to retire if he doesn’t get a date with Mayweather.
I suspect this fight was tougher than most seem to think, and he’s obviously got his congressional obligations to think about, so I guess it makes to leave while he’s on top.
Anyway, congrats to Manny for another history making victory, and all the best to Margarito, who I hope didn’t leave any years of his career, or life for that matter; in the ring at Cowboys Stadium.
Seriously man, Robert Garcia should check his words next time during the post-fight interviews.
There’s a time and a place for machismo, and the 11th round of a world title fight, with a battered, blinded and wholly ineffectual in your corner is not it.
That’s my opinion anyway.
Thanks for reading, see yah’ tomorrow!