Pacquiao slims down to take on Margarito
Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito weighed in for their World Boxing Council super welterweight fight in Dallas on Friday with the Filipino superstar coming in just over five pounds lighter than his opponent.
Wearing plaid boxer shorts and white and orange socks, the 31-year-old Pacquiao tipped the scales at 144.6 pounds, which is also 3.9 pounds lighter than his trainer Freddie Roach had originally anticipated.
Margarito weighed in right on the catch-weight number of 150 pounds for Saturday’s title fight at Cowboys Stadium.
Pacquiao said he was pleased with his weight because he loses too much speed when he gains pounds.
"I trained a lot," he said. "I think because I trained so hard, and because the training hard, that’s why my weight is what it is."
Pacquiao is going for his eighth world title in as many weight classes and his 12th consecutive victory.
Roach said they had been experimenting with higher weights for Pacquiao, but in the end Pacquiao wanted to shed more pounds.
"I gave him the green light to just take care of himself," Roach said. "That [144 pounds] is what he weighs naturally. So this is his natural weight. That’s what we decided to come in at."
The weigh-in took place at the north end of Cowboys Stadium, which is the home of the Dallas Cowboys. The only dignitary of note on the stage with the fighters was Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs) is the largest fighter Pacquiao has ever faced. And the Mexican fighter could be 10 to 15 pounds heavier than Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) by fight time.
The threat of rain caused organizers to move the weigh-in indoors. Fans started lining up hours before the ceremony began, and the crowd grew to about 1,000.
Many wore yellow, blue and red and waved Filipino flags while chanting "Pacquiao, Pacquiao, Pacquiao."
There also was a smattering of Dallas Cowboys jerseys and Mexican flags from Margarito’s supporters.
Margarito is fighting in the United States for the first time since serving a one-year suspension after getting caught with illegal hand wraps for a fight against Shane Mosley.
Earlier this week, Margarito was seen mocking Pacquiao’s trainer Roach in an internet video that sparked a heated war of words between the two camps. Roach suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
Organizers are hoping for a larger crowd than the 51,000 that attended Pacquiao’s last title fight in Dallas eight months ago against Joshua Clottey.
Promoter Bob Arum said they had sold about 41,000 tickets by Thursday, but they expected last-minute sales and the walk-up crowd to raise the total to about 60,000 by Saturday.
The fight will start about 10:15 p.m. ET and is expected to be shown in 80 million homes and venues in more than 135 countries around the world.