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Margarito bigger than Ugas


PhilBoxing.com





LAS VEGAS. Manny Pacquiao had difficulty coping with WBA welterweight super champion Yordenis Ugas’ length in their 12-round encounter at the T-Mobile Arena here Saturday night but 11 years ago, the Filipino icon had no problem taking care of a taller, bigger and longer Antonio Margarito.

Ugas is 5-9 with a 69-inch reach while Margarito is 5-11 with a 73-inch wingspan. Ugas’ measurement seems deceptive as his arms appear to dangle down to his knees, making him extremely lengthy. Pacquiao is listed 5-5 1/2 with a reach of 67 inches.

Against Margarito, Pacquiao entered the ring at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Nov. 13, 2020, looking fresh at 31. Margarito was 32. It looked like a duel between David and Goliath as Margarito towered over Pacquiao. The Mexican was wider, stronger but considerably slower. Pacquiao’s chances hinged on his ability to run rings around Margarito, firing from all angles while turning the Mexican out of position to unleash. In the fourth round, Pacquiao staggered Margarito with a left hook and nearly dropped him. But in the sixth, Margarito trapped Pacquiao along the ropes and dug a left to the side of the body that clearly hurt the Filipino. Pacquiao survived the onslaught, came back and by the 10th round, Margarito looked ready to quit with blood spurting from three cuts around both eyes. Pacquiao looked at referee Laurence Cole at least twice, wondering if he would stop the carnage as Margarito reeled from the beating. Cole never made a move and let it go the distance. Margarito walked away with a fractured right orbital bone.

Pacquiao was a runaway winner with the judges scoring it 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110. At the weigh-in, Pacquiao scaled 144 1/2 and Margarito the catchweight limit of 150. At stake was the vacant WBC superwelterweight 154-pound crown. When the fight began, Margarito weighed 165 pounds and Pacquiao, 148. The 17-pound disparity didn’t make a difference. Pacquiao threw 1,069 punches and landed 474 while Margarito connected 229 of 817. In power shots, Pacquiao had 411 and the Mexican, 135.

Pacquiao couldn’t do to Ugas what he did to Margarito. He used dizzying footspeed, spinning tactics and rapid-fire combinations to thwart Margarito and turned him into a bewildered target. The plan was to do the same against Ugas but the quickness, side-to-side movement and machine gun artillery were gone. Pacquiao’s legs tightened as early as the second round, possibly as a result of overextension in training camp and without mobility, he was a sitting duck for Ugas’ left jab, overhand right and left uppercut. Ugas was well-prepared to catch Pacquiao as he threw his left lead, bobbed and shifted to the right.

The punch stats showed a wide disparity. Pacquiao threw only 815, compared to 1,069 against Margarito and landed 130. Ugas was less active but more accurate, hitting 151 of 405. In power shots, Ugas had more connections, 101 to 88. Pacquiao’s 88 power shots were a far cry from the 411 he powdered Margarito with.

Pacquiao tried to find his range from distance, fighting straight up but Ugas’ length was an obstacle. He was supposed to move laterally and put Ugas out of striking position. The image of Margarito was a thing of the past. The dream of taking down a bigger opponent turned into a nightmare. Was it Pacquiao’s age of 42? Two years ago, the speculation was Pacquiao would’ve done enough to dispose of Ugas. Margarito is a much better fighter than Ugas. In Margarito’s prime, Ugas would’ve been putty in his hands. In the same way, in Pacquiao’s prime, Ugas wouldn’t have been as effective as he was last Saturday.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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