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Manny Pacquiao seeks new worlds to conquer after dismantling of Antonio Margarito

Although Manny Pacquiao still hopes a lucrative showdown against Floyd Mayweather Jr. can be arranged, lesser foes and his legislative duties in the Philippines also beckon.

November 14, 2010|By Lance Pugmire

Reporting from Arlington, Texas — Manny Pacquiao was kind enough to visit Antonio Margarito in his locker room early Sunday morning.

Margarito weighed 17 pounds more than Pacquiao when they walked into the Cowboys Stadium ring Saturday night, but now he was lying motionless on a table with ice packs on his battered face and head. Stitches and a brain scan at a hospital would await.

At the hospital, doctors found that Margarito had suffered a broken right orbital bone.

Sergio Diaz, the fighter's co-manager, said Sunday that an eye muscle is lodged in that fracture and needs to be surgically repaired.

"The doctor mentioned that it is a common injury and there is nothing to be worried about," Diaz said.

Maybe not.

But for Floyd Mayweather Jr., who has already given every indication that he wants no part of a Pacquiao fight, Margarito's condition is a nightmare reminder of Pacquiao's ability.

Margarito is a former world champion who had nearly 20 pounds of extra weight, along with a notable height advantage over Pacquiao.

"Mayweather has ducked Margarito in the past," Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, said Sunday. "I'm sure this put more fear into him and puts him even further away from wanting to make this fight."

Important people will try to persuade Mayweather to accept a lucrative payday and take on the gifted Filipino.

"When you get to the point where Pacquiao is, the American public asks, 'Who's out there who can beat him,'" HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg said. "I don't have to tell you who that name is."

Whether Mayweather can beat Pacquiao is another question.

In claiming a record eighth world weight-class title by battering Margarito in a unanimous decision, Pacquiao (52-3-2) moved toward a third effort to negotiate a super-fight against the unbeaten Mayweather.

"My marching orders are to see if the Mayweather fight is feasible," said Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum.

There are impediments. Not only is Mayweather's openness to a Pacquiao fight in question, but he also has a criminal case to deal with in Nevada. He faces felony and misdemeanor charges after he was accused of hitting the mother of his children and threatening the kids.

His next court date is scheduled for Jan. 24, and even though a Clark County (Nev.) legal source said 2011 could pass without Mayweather going to trial, Arum wants a more complete picture.

"Floyd will fight when he's ready to fight. I hope it's now time," Greenburg said of talks that have previously collapsed over a drug-testing dispute and Mayweather's general reluctance. "Isn't there a saying that the third time's a charm?"

Pacquiao, 31, won every round of the Margarito fight on one of the judge's scorecards.

The performance was mesmerizing, as Pacquiao landed more than half of his 700-plus power punches, withstood Margarito's most powerful blows against the ropes and impressively scooted free each time to reverse the tables.

Diaz said Margarito had double vision after a bone-breaking uppercut in the fourth round. The fighter told his manager afterward that Pacquiao is "a special fighter with a God-given talent that will make it difficult for any fighter to be victorious against him."

No judge gave Margarito more than two rounds, even if Pacquiao's face (swollen lip, black-and-blue cheekbones) looked more beaten than ever and he appeared to be uncomfortable while holding his left side at the postfight news conference.

"This was the hardest fight of my career," Pacquiao said, returning to the incessant question about a future with Mayweather. "My job is to fight in the ring. My promoter's job is to get the fight. … I'll fight anyone, anywhere."

Meanwhile, Pacquiao will return to his congressional seat in the Philippines and perhaps rest for as long as six months, Roach said.

Will he hear from Mayweather? That's an answer one man knows, and he's not talking.

Arum said he will explore fights for Pacquiao against Shane Mosley, 39, or Juan Manuel Marquez -- which would make a trilogy -- if Mayweather remains elusive.

Roach said he has no excitement about Mosley, and Arum said he would want to handle the everyday details of the Marquez promotion -- a longshot given his stalemate with Golden Boy Promotions.

As for Margarito, Arum said his future may include a rematch with either Miguel Cotto or Mosley, depending on how the Tijuana fighter recovers from his beating.

Diaz said, "We'll be sitting down as a team to discuss his future once we are back home" in California. "The doctor did mention that Antonio will not have any problems continuing his career as a fighter."

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimespugmire

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