Pacquiao Wins The Rubber Match

20.11.06 - By Vanessa McConnell: As 18,276 fans packed into the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, for what may turn to be the best fight of the year, as Super featherweights Erik Morales (48-5, 34 KO's) from Mexico and Manny Pacquiao (43-3-2, 34 KO's) from the Philippines, went head to head for the third time to settle the score in the rubber match. The house was full of Pac Man fans, many cheering wildly for the boxing star. After the Philippine, Mexican and American national anthem was sung the fight was on, and Even Pac Man had to agree that he never thought the fight would be over so quick. He knocked Morales out in 2:57 of the third round.

In the first round, Pacquiao was leaning in and out landing some powerful left right combinations, even while against the rope at times. Morales landed some nice jabs while Pacquiao was on the ropes, but Pacquiao was working his body with hard shots. At one point, Morales charged in and caught a big right hook by Pacquiao, knocking him off balance.

It seemed every time Morales hit Pacquiao, the "PacMan" returned the favor with powerful left hands, mixed with blistering right hooks, many of which Morales never saw coming. As the round ended, the crowd was on they’re feet going wild with every blow.

In the second round, Morales briefly cornered Pacquiao against the ropes and landed a powerful left hand. However, Pacquiao spun off the ropes, and quickly landed a lightning fast left-right combination. Morales responded with a three punch combination that drove Pacquiao back. In anger, Pacquiao retaliated with a two lefts folowed by two rights.

Morales then came charging forward and landed a left, right and another left, but was countered with a big right hand hook from Pacquiao, that sent Morales to the canvas. Like in the previous round, Morales never saw the punch coming, which made it even worse. He tried to pick up the pace by throwing some combinations, but Pac Man took the blows and blew them off.

Morales was leaning in to his punches and nearly lost his balance a few times, giving Pac Man opportunities to get off some shots. Morales began to lean on Pac Man, keeping him close, but Pac Man literally threw him off. Morales again, pressed the attack and had Pacquiao against the ropes, but Pacquiao came out swinging, forcing Morales to back up. Before he end of the round, both fighters exchange vicious blows in the center of the ring. They both fired off a series of fast blows while the crowd stood in pandemonium, becoming so intense no one heard the bell sound to end the round.

In the third round, Morales started off strong, landing a good shot inside before Pac Man caught him off guard with a right hook, a punch that Morales never saw coming. Morales returned with an uppercut and Pac Man followed with a few hard lefts, followed by a right, that explosed off the face of Morales, hurting him and almost sending him into the ropes. Pacquiao hit Morales with another hard left, and Morales hit the canvas. Morales rose immediately, and motioned to referee, that he was okay. Pacquiao, sensinging blood, immediately attacked with combinations. However, Morales drove him back to the ropes briefly with some hard shots. Pac Man then really poured it on, landing a storm of punches, that drove Morales back from one side of the ring to the other, all the while taking left-right combinations from Pacquiao.

Finally, Pacquiao ended it with a big left hand lead, that caused Morales to go flying backwards, hitting the canvas and coming to a rest against the bottom of the ring ropes. Morales sat on the canvas, looking dazed as Vic Drakulich counted him out. During this time, Morales winked his eye at his corner, sending a message that he was finished and didn't want to continue fighting.

This was, no doubt, one of the best match ups of the year, and the 2nd largest fight ever held at the Thomas & Mack. Both fighters showed up to the press conference after the fight, and Pac Man was nearly mobbed by the media trying to get interviews, pictures and autographs. The outcome was academic, allowing Pacquiao to settle the score once and for all, showing the world who the better fighter was.

Out of 175 total punches thrown, Pac Man landed 94 at 54%, while Morales threw 171, landing 44 at 26%. Out of 44 jabs thrown, Pac Man landed 11 at 25%, while Morales threw 70 landing 14 at 20%. Pac Man threw 131 power punches, landing 83 at 63%. 71 of those were thrown in the third round alone, with 51 landing, at a 72% connection percentage. Morales threw a total of 101 power punches, landing 30, for a 30% connection rate.

The twelve round WBO Junior Welterweight title fight between Ricardo Torres (30-1, 27 KO's) and Mike Arnaoutis (17-1-1, 9 KO's), it went the distance, with and Torres pulling out the win by split decision when the judges score cards were tallied. Both fighters exchanged their share of blows and time on the ropes, but Torres pulled out the win by landing the harder shots.

In the Featherweight bout between Marcos Licona (23-9-1, 8 KO's) and Juan Carlos Salgado (17-0-1, 13 KO's), Salgado won by unanimous decision, remaining undefeated. He held his reach advantage throughout the fight, stunning Licano in the first round and unleashing jabs and uppercuts, which sent Licana to the ropes. Licano was on and off the rope throughout the entire fight, swinging at the air at times. Salgado was leaning away and dodging every throw from Licano.

In the second round, Salgado was slapping Licano’s gloves away not allowing him in. Licano surprised the crowd by lasting the full 6 rounds but lost the fight to a bigger man. Salgado came into the ring with pride and conquer on his face and left a humble happy man. Salgado threw 533 total jabs, landing 185 at 35%. He threw 224 jabs, landing 43 at 19% and threw 309 power punches landing 142 at 46%. Licano, on the other hand, threw 442 punches landing 92 at 21%. He threw 193 jabs, landing 28 at 15% and threw 249 power punches landing 64 at 26%.

In the WBC World Mini Flyweight title fight between Brian Viloria, (20-1-2, 12 KO's) and Omar Nino (24-2-1, 10 KO's), was one of the best fights on the fight card with pure non stop action from the crowd and the fighters. Judge Dave Moretti’s vote won favor for Viloria when he scored the fight 115-112 for Viloria. Before the fight started, Viloria stared at Nino with fury in his eye, and as soon as the bell sounded to start the fight, Viloria unleashed that flurry with an all out attack. Nino fought back with some tremendous shots but it was no match for Viloria’s quick solid left, a punch that he repeatedly landed all fight long.

In the first round, both fighters exchanged some nice combinations and the crowd went crazy with each exchange. Nino would hit Viloria with some nice combinations and Viloria would return with a hard left. Clearly, Viloria was the harder puncher, noticibly throwing huge shots in comparison to Nino's much weaker shots. Joe Cortez warned Nino a few times about hitting behind the head and keeping it above the belt but Nino had to concentrate more on swinging than aiming at this stage of the fight. Nino was breaking him down with his soft right and hard left combo.

It was nearly over in the fifth round, when Cortez had to check Nino after he stumbled from a missed punch. It appeared he was hit but the replay showed no connection, only Nino leaning back and stumbling. Nino was fighting like a desperate man, swinging non-stop, and even landing a few after the bell. Viloria remained strong on his feet during the entire fight, staying back and dodging numerous power punches. Nino slipped again in the seventh round, but he remained consistent with fighting like it was his last meal.

In the Super Bantamweight fight between Edel Ruiz (27-16-5, 16 KO's) and Fernando Beltran Jr. (28-2-1, 17 KO's), Beltran won the fight when Ruiz was disqualified for low blows. Kenny Bayless stopped the fight in 2:00 in the fifth round. In the Super Welterweight fight between Edgar Reyes (10-6, 3 KO's) and Vanes Martirosyan (11-0, 7 KO's), Martirosyan won by TKO when Reyes didn’t return center ring after the fourth round. In the WBC Youth Super Bantamweight bout between Bernabe Concepcion (18-1-1, 10 KO's) and Joksan Hernandez (11-1, 6 KO's), Concepcion won by unanimous decision in the 10 round card.

Article posted on 21.11.2006

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