ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's official: 120-108, 118-110, 119-109. It's a blowout win for Manny Pacquiao. Well deserved. Tough fight, too. Antonio Margarito would have beaten a lot of guys with his effort, but Pacquiao is simply an indomitable force.
Bob Arum looks down at press row and smiles. Lots to be happy about. Pacquiao proves his brilliance in another weight class and Margarito shows he can still fight. Win-win. The post-fight press conference should be interesting, as we'll see what the story is with the pre-fight controversy.
Margarito looks like a Law and Order victim. Pacquiao coming in, looking for the knock-out blow. Combinations stinging Margarito. No hard kill shots just yet. Pacquiao hitting Margarito everywhere. Don't know how Margarito is still standing. Round over, fight over.
This could be Manny's chance to go in for the kill. Margarito on the defensive. Pacquiao connecting. Margarito still trying to jab. Wow, Manny hammers Margarito right up the middle. Margarito still throwing though. Ref checks Margarito's vision again. Good to go. Manny continues to toss combinations at Margarito. Margarito backed up. Still standing. Good round for Pacquiao. You have to wonder if at this point, Margarito's corner stops it. He's getting punished.
The ref checks Margarito's vision. Cut is pretty bad under that eye. Margarito's shots are getting wider. Pacquiao connecting with combinations up the middle. Good combination by Pacquiao. Margarito may be hurt. Strong combination by Pacquiao. Margarito hurt! Manny can't close though, and Antonio is saved by the bell.
This fight is going at an amazing pace. I don't think I've ever seen Pacquiao this winded before. Back on the ropes, Margarito throws wide and connects. Pacquiao's punch output has slowed some. Hard right by Manny. Both fighters trying to land something. Margarito pawing at that cut. Close round but another one for Pacquiao.
Both fighters look a little winded at the start. They brawl on the ropes! Hard uppercut by Margarito. They are on the ropes again. This is not the fight Manny wants. On the ropes again. Margarito throwing haymakers now, and landing many. Good round for Margarito.
Ref brings Margarito over to the doctor to look at the cut. Doc says it's OK. Margarito's right eye is almost closed. Pacquiao dances, Ali-stye. Pacquiao circling Margarito, rocks him with a left hand. Margarito pushes Pacquiao to the ropes but Pacquiao counters and sends him backwards. Close again, but another one for Manny.
Margarito continues to move forward. He's looking to pin Manny down but can't find him. Hard counter punch combination by Manny. Manny is almost waiting for Margarito to open up so he can trade with him. Thudding body shot by Margarito. Hard shots by Margarito! Manny crouches, almost goes down. Pacquiao flurries back, moves Margarito back. Great round. Give this to Margarito.
Margarito may have a broken cheek bone. Margarito comes forward, throwing everything now. Pacquiao responds with a flurry of his own. Hard left hook by Pacquiao. Manny's punches are coming from everywhere. Margarito connects with a combination, but Manny isn't fazed. Taps his gloves again. Good series of combinations by Pacquiao ends the round.
Pacquiao snapping Margarito's head back. But Margarito is getting more successful getting Manny to the ropes. There's a cut below Margarito's right eye. Pacquiao sees it, is targeting it. Hitting him with everything now! Margarito is hurt! That cut is gushing. Wildly swinging. Ties Pacquiao up. That cut is engulfing Margarito's right cheek. Big round for Pacquiao.
Margarito looks a little winded. Just a little. Pacquiao drills him with a 1-2 combination. More combinations from Manny. Margarito keeps reaching with that jab. Margarito keeps pressuring. His defense is a little better than I thought. Margarito flurries; Pacquiao flurries back. That straight right and left is open for Pacquiao. Margarito is letting them through. Another close round. I give it to Pacquiao.
The two are slugging it out now. Pacquiao getting the better of it, but Margarito landing. Margarito doing a lot of one-punching and Manny is throwing in bunches. Manny on the ropes, not where Roach wants him to be. Manny working the body. Tapping his head and gloves, daring Margarito to come in. Close round, give it to Pacquiao.
Pacquiao offers to touch gloves and Margarito ignores him. Both circling. Margarito using the jab early. Pacquiao looking to get inside. Good combination by Pacquiao. Straight left by Manny. Manny getting busier. Hard left by Manny. Margarito pawing with the jab. Manny swinging free now. Margarito's jab is decent but he's not throwing it enough. Score this one for Manny.
• So all hell is breaking loose in the back. Margarito's camp is questioning Pacquiao's hand wraps. Freddie Roach is demanding a pre-fight blood test because he suspects Margarito has taken ephedra, an illegal stimulant. Texas commission is refusing. It's getting ugly.
• Roach contends that the ephedra will not be detectable after the fight. I consulted a doctor on this who said the half life for ephedra is 3-6 hours, meaning depending how much was taken it could be out of his system by the time the post fight test is done.
• It's academic at this point. Michael Buffer is on stage, Nelly performing Country Grammar. We're ready to go.
• Tremendous, powerful boxing video being shown on Cowboys Stadium's massive big screen. Some savage, historical knockouts are being shown. Really hyping the fight.
• Margarito is entering the ring. Despite his history, he's got a huge crowd here. Not as many fans as Pacquiao, but plenty.
• One more note on Margarito. If -- big IF here -- it's proven he did something illegal before this fight, it's likely no commission in the U.S. will ever license him again.
• Pacquiao's turn. Another electrifying video montage backed by AC/DC's Thunderstruck and -- YES! -- the Karate Kid song, You're the best Around!
• Both fighters in the ring. Both look relaxed, comfortable right now. Whatever that's worth.
• Welcome to Cowboys Stadium, where a packed house (40,000 tickets were sold as of Friday and promoters are eyeing a 60,000 gate) is here for the super welterweight showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito.
• Earlier tonight Pacquiao weighed in on the HBO scales at 148 pounds while Margarito rehydrated to 165 pounds. That's a
• Is the weight difference going to be an issue? I can tell you that there are many people in Pacquiao's camp who are unhappy with his decision to not pack on the pounds for this fight. Pacquiao thinks he loses too much speed, and it's hard to argue with him given his staggering success. But Pacquiao better be careful because illegal hand wraps or not, Margarito is a big, heavy-handed puncher who has the pop to put him down.
• Another reason to expect a knockout: both fighters will wear eight-ounce gloves. I was told 10 ounces were an option but the choice was eight.
• Stakes are high for both these guys. If Pacquiao wins, he keeps alive the possibility of a fight with Floyd Mayweather and the gazillion-dollar payday that comes with it. Margarito probably needs this fight even more. He was suspended for a year after trying to load his gloves in the Shane Mosley fight, and his one fight since then (a decision win over Roberto Garcia) didn't move the needle. A bad loss could end his career as a network fighter.