Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KO's) captured the vacant WBC Light Middleweight title, defeating Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KO's) by a one-sided, twelve round unanimous decision at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Official scores were 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110. It was Pacquiao's 13th consecutive win, 2nd in a row at Cowboys Stadium.
Pacquiao, 31, opened the first round fast, circling to his left and scoring with a straight left to the body followed by a right hook to Margarito's head. Margarito, 32, never hit Pacquiao cleanly in round one, and could not get his punches off before the Filipino superstar.
In round two, Pacquiao kept fighting at a fast pace, but Margarito got more into a rhythm. He hammered Pacquiao with left and right uppercuts, and struck him with a hard right to the body. Pacquiao quickly countered with a straight left to Margarito's stomach. Then, he caught Margarito with a right hook to the head. The superior hand speed of Pacquiao continued to keep Margarito off-balance.
Margarito persisted to apply pressure in round three, although he lacked the presence of a strong left jab. Pacquiao, who found his range early in round one, blitzed Margarito with three-punch combinations from various angles.
In round four, Pacquiao hurt Margarito with a potent straight left to the body. As Margarito slowed, Pacquiao moved in with his whirlwind attack, damaging Margarito's right eye. Margarito sustained immense swelling under his right eye, along with a cut that started to bleed.
While Pacquiao was striking Margarito from a number of different angles in round five, Margarito closed the distance between them. However, Pacquiao absorbed Margarito's body and head shots.
With less than a minute left in round six, Pacquiao's left hand got caught under the top rope as he attempted to fire a straight left. As a result, Margarito briefly hurt Pacquiao with a left hook to the body. After that, Margarito landed a multitude of shots, but Pacquiao survived the assault.
In round seven, Pacquiao continued to find ways to break through Margarito's defense and land his dominant, straight left hand. At times, Margarito trapped Pacquiao and struck him with rights to the body and head.
The most competitive round in the fight was round eight. Both men exchanged sharp, accurate punches at high speed. Margarito connected with his body punches, in addition to landing hard right hands to Pacquiao's head. Margarito momentarily stunned Pacquiao with a left uppercut. Yet, Pacquiao answered quickly with precise combinations.
After going blow-for-blow with Margarito the previous round, Pacquiao used more lateral movement in round nine. Still, Margarito experienced swelling under his left eye, as he was unable to stop Pacquiao's left hand from penetrating his guard.
Just as round ten began, referee Laurence Cole asked Margarito, "How many fingers am I holding up?" Margarito gave the correct answer and the bout kept going. Next, Pacquiao unleashed a right hook that almost floored the Mexican warrior. Then, Pacquiao landed a punishing straight left to Margarito's head, but Pacquiao could not knock him out.
Margarito's right eye was now completely swollen shut. The swelling was so severely large that the bruise could quiver.
In round eleven, Pacquiao moved in and out energetically, picking Margarito apart with a barrage of punches. Subsequently, it appeared that Pacquiao was unwilling to trade shots in round twelve, choosing instead to move and stay out of any heated exchanges. Clearly, Pacquiao understood he was up on the scorecards, and elected to coast in the final round.
What's next for Manny Pacquiao after another dominating performance? Will he and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. eventually come to an agreement to give all fight fans what they want? It remains to be seen, but there is always hope.
After taking a savage beating tonight, Margarito's career as a top contender seems over. While Margarito put forth his best effort and had Pacquiao hurt a few times during the bout, he was still handled quite easily despite showing a ton of courage. It's hard to imagine Margarito back on this stage, especially when many people felt he did not deserve the opportunity he received tonight.
Whether one believes Margarito should have even been allowed to fight again after ingredients for plaster of Paris were found in his hand wraps before his bout with "Sugar" Shane Mosley on January 24, 2009, the fact remains that Margarito served the suspension handed to him by the California State Athletic Commission.
Nazim Richardson, Mosley's trainer, discovered a white substance on Margarito's hand wraps prior to the bout, and brought it to the attention of the California State Athletic Commission. Margarito re-wrapped his hands three times before finally stepping into the ring to face Mosley. Meanwhile, the California State Athletic Commission seized the original hand wraps. Later, sulfur and calcium were found on the wraps, which turn into plaster of Paris when combined with oxygen. As a result, the commission revoked Margarito's license, as well as his trainer, Javier Capetillo. Margarito has vehemently denied using these tainted wraps deliberately, and has severed ties with Capetillo. Capetillo claimed the hardened pads were inserted by accident. It is unknown if Margarito used loaded gloves in previous fights. However, stains have been found on other hand wraps used by Margarito in past fights that appear very similar to those found on the tainted ones.
Prior to battling Pacquiao, Margarito defeated Roberto Garcia by a ten round unanimous decision in Mexico on May 8, 2010. In August 2010, Margarito was denied a license in California after re-applying when his one-year suspension ended. The California State Athletic Commission denied Margarito on a 5-1 vote, although Texas granted him a license without a hearing.
JONES EDGES KARASS
Philadelphia's Mike Jones, 27, (23-0, 18 KO's) remained unbeaten, defeating Jesus Soto Karass (24-5-3, 16 KO's) by a ten round majority decision in an extremely competitive welterweight match-up. Official scores were 94-94, 95-94 and 97-93.
Both fighters started round one by trying to impose their will. In round two, Jones opened a cut above Karass' right eye. Then, Jones unleashed a flurry of punches with Karass against ropes. Karass protected himself as well as he could, but took many clean shots. The most damaging punches that got through the guard of Karass was Jones' right uppercut and left hook. Jones exerted a great deal of energy going for the knockout, and he would pay the price in the next round for not finishing him.
Karass sustained an additional cut over his left eye in round three. Conversely, Jones was gassed from his attempt at trying to knock out Karass the previous round. Karass kept charging forward, hammering Jones with a series of rights and lefts to the body, which significantly slowed him down.
In round four, Karass pressed the action at a slightly slower pace. Jones started to bleed from his mouth. Karass viciously attacked Jones' body, although Jones got a second wind and managed to land numerous clean shots.
Karass outworked Jones in the fifth round, exhibiting a higher punch output. As the fight moved into the sixth round, Jones displayed the effects of Karass' steady body assault. Nevertheless, Jones bounced back with a strong seventh round, landing his right uppercut and quickly countering Karass as he circled around the ring. Still, Karass kept coming at him, unleashing countless body shots followed by a hard right hand.
Karass sent Jones stumbling into the ropes after he connected with a straight right hand in the eighth round. Jones' left eye became extremely swollen. As the fighters walked to their respective corners when the bell rang, Karass gave Jones a long stare.
The ringside doctor examined Karass during round nine, but let the fight continue. Karass had blood pouring out of his two cuts above each eye, while Jones' two eyes were enormously swollen and he was still bleeding from his mouth.
For being in a toe-to-toe war with Karass, Jones moved around the ring exceptionally well in the tenth round. He snapped Karass' head back a few times with his right uppercut, and landed the crisper punches in the round. In spite of this, a solid left hook by Karass slowed Jones a bit in the final thirty seconds. In the end, it was amazing that both fighters managed to stay on their feet throughout this brutal war.
RIGONDEAUX WINS SPLIT DECISION
In super bantamweight action, Guillermo Rigondeaux (7-0, 5 KO's) won a twelve round split decision versus Ricardo Cordoba (37-3-2, 27 KO's). Official scores were 114-112 for Cordoba, and 117-109 and 114-112 for Rigondeaux.
Rigondeaux, 30, floored Cordoba in the fourth round with a vicious, well-timed straight left to the body. After that, Rigondeaux went for the knockout, although Cordoba managed to survive.
In round six, Cordoba, 28, registered a knockdown when Rigondeaux' right glove touched the canvas after Cordoba struck him with a right jab. After getting to his feet, Rigondeaux immediately nailed Cordoba with a straight left.
Rigondeaux connected with a sharp right uppercut in the seventh round, but Cordoba took the punch well. Throughout most of the fight, Rigondeaux showed his superior ring generalship, defensive mastery and a sound, natural coordination. Cordoba had a tremendous amount of trouble striking Rigondeaux with clean, effective punches. The score of 114-112 was utterly ridiculous in favor of Cordoba. Rigondeaux, a southpaw, clearly controlled the pace of this fight and never encountered any significant danger.
RIOS TKO's LOWTHER
Lightweight contender Brandon Rios (26-0-1, 19 KO's) scored a fifth round TKO against Omri Lowther (14-3, 10 KO's). Official time of the stoppage was 2:17.
The 24-year-old from Oxnard, California hurt Lowther, 26, with under a minute to go in round three when he landed an overhand right. Moments later, Rios struck and dazed Lowther again with a powerful left hook to the head, but Lowther made it out of the round.
Rios hurt Lowther many times with left hooks in the fourth round. Finally, Rios wobbled Lowther with consecutive right hands in round five. When Rios snapped Lowther's head back with another right hand, referee Raul Caiz Jr. promptly stopped the fight.
Rios applied steady pressure in each round. As the rounds progressed, it was evident that Lowther's punches lacked the power to hurt Rios. Rios placed his punches precisely, patiently created and looked for openings, and hurt Lowther every time he landed.