A dynasty in Dallas
Manny Pacquiao must be considered one of boxing's greats, says Glenn McCrory, who was ringside.
Last Updated: 16/11/10 2:31pm
Saturday night in Dallas has to go down as one of the greatest night's in my boxing life. I have won a world title, I have been ringside as a commentator for some great fights down the years, but to be part of that will live in the memory forever.
The whole occasion was quite simply magnificent. In terms of entertainment, the whole night was worthy of what has to be the best stadium in the world.
And to go with the best stage in the world, we had an absolute masterclass from the best fighter in the world right now. Manny Pacquaio was simply magnificent.
In some ways Antonio Margarito was the perfect opponent because we knew he has a massive heart, would keep coming forward and was much slower than Pacquiao so would give him the chance to get his shots off. But what shots he got off. What shots.
In every round there was at least one flash of brilliance from the Filipino. The combinations and footwork were a joy to behold and being at ringside, this was the first time I'd really got a true appreciation of his speed and power.
You were also aware of how much bigger Margarito was as well. He was something like 17lbs heavier on the night, had a big reach advantage and the fact that he had done so well against the world's best welterweights, meant he really had a chance of winning this.
But Pacquiao blew that right out of the water. Even though Margarito's guard was good, his arms high, how many times did he just smash that right straight through the middle, or whip either hand round the side? That is how quick this guy is.
And you didn't need to be ringside to see the damage he caused - Margarito's face was testament to the fact that there is still power there even with this being his sixth recognised world title at a different weight.
There were one or two occasions when Manny was hurt, as you might expect against a much bigger man, but when he was trapped on the ropes and just turned his man, slipped out of danger and then fired off another furious combination, you could hear the crowd gasping in admiration.
There was, according to the release sent out at ringside, only 41,000 in the Cowboys Stadium, which I find hard to believe. I regularly go to St James' Park to watch Newcastle where there are 52,000 and it dwarfed that.
I could only see two small sections that weren't full - and that's in a stadium that has 110,000 seats, never mind the pitch we were sat. It took us 90 minutes just to get out afterwards as well, so everyone must have brought their own car!
Still, the whole event was something to behold. The giant TV screen above us meant even the people in the very back row of the upper sections must have felt like they were watching a 56" plasma in their living room. And the noise generated by the stadium sound system made the floor shake beneath your feet.
It was just one of those occasions that you had to lap up, you had to take in. There were times when I was just stood up at my commentary position looking around at the stadium, at the crowd, and at ringside where the famous faces were gathered. It shows the standing of Manny Pacquiao in the sport today.
There is no doubt in my mind that we are talking about one of the greats. The fact that he has got those six recognised world titles at different weights already separates him from Floyd Mayweather, from Thomas Hearns, from Sugar Ray Leonard - and he even skipped a couple of divisions on the way up.
It's not just those achievements or the performances that put Manny right up there either; it's his persona. He is such a nice, humble man, he brings a smile to the ring, he never bad-mouths people and he is always full of respect for his opponent and the sport.
You wouldn't put it past him to go on and add title number seven at middleweight either, because that's all there is left for him really. Unless of course, that fight with Floyd Mayweather happens! I said 18 months ago on these pages that it was too early for that fight to be signed, but surely now it has to come about.
I have said all along that I would give Floyd the edge and I think he will win. But now, having seen Pacquiao do what he did in the flesh, I am not so sure. Yes, Mayweather is a brilliant defensive boxer, but has he ever dealt with someone with as much speed as Manny and above all else, the workrate. Can Floyd work every second of every round? All of a sudden I am not so sure.
Like all of you, I hope that fight is announced and we are talking about it again, very soon. But even if doesn't, it should not take away from the legacy of Manny Pacquiao because he should still go down as one of the very best the sport has seen.