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List of Articles by Ronnie Nathanielsz


 

PACQUIAO THRILLS ADORING COUNTRYMEN

By Ronnie Nathanielsz
PhilBoxing.com
03 Jul 2006

Filipino ring idol and national treasure Manny Pacquiao thrilled his adoring countrymen yesterday with a rousing, lopsided twelve round decision over an incredibly game Oscar Larios to retain his WBC International super-featherweight title in an action-packed battle at the Araneta Coliseum, the "Mecca" of Philippine sports and entertainment, although the scores didnt reflect the courage and the gallantry of the Mexican warrior.

Pacquiao was clearly hurt by a perfect left hook from the lanky Larios in round three but his indomitable courage saw him fight his way out of trouble and open up a cut on the left eye of Larios which began to bleed from the incessant pounding the Mexican took in the later rounds.

Pacquiao often brought the huge crowd to its feet with flurries of brutal body shots and vicious punches that snapped the head of Larios and sent him reeling backwards only to be frustrated by Larios fighting back just when it seemed Pacquiao would knock him out.

Pacquiao dropped Larios twice, once in round seven with a wicked left-right combination and then in the twelfth and final round with another flurry of punches capped by a left flush on the mouth. But both times the magnificent Mexican rose to his feet and tried to fight back but to no avail.

Pacquiao, the southpaw from General Santos City seemed like he wanted to entertain the crowd although at times his mouth was agape, a sure sign of fatigue. However, Pacquiao's will rode on the crest of his fans who kept chanting "Manny, Manny" to dominate the second half of the fight en route to a comfortable unanimous decision.

WBC founding secretary general Rudy Salud who watched the fight at the jam-packed Rockwell theater said later "I like the Manny I saw. He is now a complete fighter who moves well, has speed and power and also defends very well." Renowned international referee Bruce McTavish who did an excellent job as referee said it was an excellent, action-packed fight even as he praised the heart of Larios.

French judge Humbert Furgoni told Viva Sports/Manila Standard Today after the bout that he admired Pacquiao and said any other fighter who got hit with the thunderous punch by Larios in the third round would have gone down but Pacquiao showed amazing ability to take a punch and come back.

All three judges scored the fight handily for Pacquiao. Furgoni had Pacquiao the winner117-110, Belgian judge Daniel van der Wiele had Pacquiao by a huge 118-108 margin while Thailand's Nopphart Sricharoen scored it a shut-out for Pacquiao 120-106

Larios tried to keep Pacquiao at bay at the start of the fight with a left jab and an occasional right straight but Pacquiao proved elusive and caught most of the punches on his forearm or gloves before turning the tide in the second round, nailing Larios with left hooks and solid body shots.

The brutal assault continued through the next few rounds and as Larios began to wilt Pacquiao stepped up the pressure, dropping Larios in the seventh round to the delight of the fans who included vice president Noli de Castro, former senator Ramon Revilla and his son, incumbent senator Bong Revilla, senator Jinggoy Estrada and a host of politicians and show business personalities who added to the prestige and glamor but mercifully didn't try to grab the spotlight or bask in Pacquiao's glory.

However, they were replaced by a hoarde of new-found hangers on dressed in endorsement-laden Manny Pacquiao jackers where the Philippine flag was uncermonously dwarfed by the larger advertising logos who climbed into the ring before and after the fight,jostling to get into camera range, in the process making it difficult for celebrated ring announcer Michael Buffer to do his job and souring what was otherwise an excellently done initial world-class boxing event by the giant Philippine bioadcast network ABS-CBN.

Larios received well-deserved applause from the fans who recognized his fighting heart of the former two-time world super bantamweight champion and the fact that he was beaten but not disgraced. Larios' stock clearly rose although his record dropped to 56-5-1 with 36 knockouts while Pacquiao improved to 44-3-2 with 33 knockouts.



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