Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009 | 10:50 a.m.
It was a brutal battle between Manny “The Pac-Man” Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto for 12 incredible rounds. They both took a beating from each other for the first six rounds at MGM Grand Garden Arena last night, with Miguel going down twice in the early going -- and yet still continuing to fight to the end. But Pac-Man proved the ultimate warrior in the end. Miguel took the hardest beating but somehow managed to last still standing -- albeit wobbly -- to Round 12 until the fight was called on a TKO, giving Manny the big win.
Hollywood stars were at the fight, including a rare appearance by former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. There will be much analysis over whether Miguel’s corner tried to end the fight after Round 11, believing that he’d taken enough punishment. His face had been pummeled into a swollen mess. Still valiant, he started Round 12, although sports analysts said he was no longer willing to fight.
At the weigh-in yesterday, Miguel was 145 pounds and Manny was 144 pounds. Now 30, Manny was only 106 pounds when he made his debut as a pro boxer in 1995. Tonight, he made some $14 million from the $7.5 million purse and the ancillary share of pay-per-view around the world. Miguel received $4 million for the fight and probably picks up an additional $3 million from the TV rights.
Miguel was taken to our local University Medical Center per orders of the Boxing Commission but said he was feeling fine. Manny showed up in the pressroom with his head bandaged from an ear-draining procedure to avoid cauliflower ear. Our contributing photographer Erik Kabik shot the fight, the audience of celebrities and the post-fight pressroom.
Click HERE for our sporting colleagues’ extensive coverage at the Las Vegas Sun.
Bob Arum’s two winners
Fight promoter Bob Arum, my neighbor here in Las Vegas, was aglow in the media center afterward as he introduced Israeli fighter Yuri Foreman, who became the new WBA Super Welterweight Champion. Yuri defeated Daniel Santos of Puerto Rico in an undercard fight.
Bob said as a Jewish American, he was very proud of Israel producing its first boxing champion. He then brought in his bandaged fighter Manny.
Manny was in great spirits and even sang a chorus of “Sometimes When We Touch” to tease his celebration party and concert performance later with his band Calsada at Mandalay Bay Beach.
Before leaving for a medical check at University Medical Center, Miguel said he was feeling OK … “Just beat up, but nothing unusual.”
A historic fight
Pac-Man went into the record books with his win: He became the first fighter to win seven titles in seven divisions. “It was all about making history,” Manny said. “To be the first person to win seven for seven.” Manny connected 336 of 780 punches, Miguel only 172 of 597 punches. Manny had 276 power punches to Miguel’s 93.
Despite the cuts and bruises all over his face and his right ear being completely bandaged, Manny still took to the stage for over an hour early this morning to entertain the 4,000 people at his celebration party at Mandalay Bay Beach. We’ll have those exclusive photos from contributing photographer Tom Donoghue later since the bash was still going strong at 3 a.m.!
Manny sang with the heart of a champion, performing more than a dozen songs with his band from 1 a.m. past 2, all despite having gone through 12 punishing rounds at the fight and a mandatory hospital visit ordered by Nevada’s boxing commissioners.
Among the stars turning out for the fight were Jeremy Piven of Entourage, who had emceed the weigh-in a day earlier, and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and rapper 50 Cent, who had both hosted a private, corporate party at the new Hard Rock Cafe Strip in the afternoon. We’ll have all those photos tomorrow right here.
Nearby in the celebrity front rows were Muhammad Ali, Tommy “Hitman” Hearns, “Dr. J” Julius Erving, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Mario Lopez (who will be back to host the Miss America Pageant in January), Larry King, Mark Wahlberg (in town filming The Other Guys with Will Ferrell), Will, Mickey Rourke, Joe Pesci and World Series champions Derek Jeter and C.C. Sabathia.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground. Read more of Robin's stories at VegasDeLuxe.com.
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