The Thrill of Victory......
What ever you thought about him, what ever you wanted to happen to him, however bad you wanted to see him fail and get his ass kicked, you’ve got to admit, he took his lickin’ like a man. Not a whimper from the man. He did the only thing he knows how to do and that is forge ahead, take punches, suck it up and punch back. It has almost always been enough. For some, Manny Pacquiao was judge, jury and executioner and the fight was divine retribution, maybe but if so, the flip side would be divine redemption. Debt paid in full.
Margarito, clearly losing the fight almost from the opening round, never stopped trying. He never ran, never hid, never looked for a way to deceive the judges. He fought and lost in the most honest and basic of ways, simply by fighting to the best of his ability against the most dominating fighter of his era.
His face was taco meat, or hamburger meat if you prefer, by the end of the fight. Pacquiao’s face also showed signs of a being in a fight. Though Pacquiao’s performance was dominating and the fight one sided, Margarito did have a few scattered moments throughout the fight and by Pacquiao‘s own admission, Margarito did hurt him on more than one occasion, especially with the left hook to the body and the uppercuts. It was just never enough.
I couldn’t help but think of Robert DeNiro as Jake LaMotta in Martin Scoresese’s “The Raging Bull” when DeNiro as LaMotta says to Sugar Ray Robinson after the fight was stopped in the 13th round of a fight that has come to be known as “The St. Valentines Day Massacre”, You never got me down Ray, you never got me down”. Sometimes just staying on your feet is victory enough.
For my money, this was the first legitimate win against a bigger fighter. With just a years difference between them, there was no age advantage for Pacquiao. He was fighting a man still considered to be one of the best fighters in the world. There was no asterisk in this fight.
Going into this fight I didn’t think Manny could do it. Despite the odds I felt Margarito would be too much for him size wise. Now? Now, I don’t think the Klitscho Brothers, on the same night would be too much for him. Pacquiao has proven himself to be as good as any fighter in history. There is no denying it. His name belongs with the best; Sugar Ray Robinson, Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, Benny Leonard, Julio Cesar Chavez, Alexis Arguello, Aaron Pryor and Henry Armstrong. Each and every one of them would have had their hands full with the Filipino sensation, Manny Pacquiao.
That he was able to withstand the punches of a man that had a 17 pound weight advantage is nothing short of remarkable. It’s easy to believe that it all comes easy for him but listening to Pacquiao after the fight when he was being interviewed by Jim Lampley, you could sense the tiredness, the weariness that comes from giving your all. Along with his great skills and endurance it is Pacquiao’s tremendous heart that wins the fights for him. Manny Pacquiao refused to lose and always finds a way to win.
If it’s true that the whole world loves a winner, than it’s also true that we love a guy that can take what he’s got coming to him.
....and the Agony of Defeat.