Pacquiao vs. Margarito: Pre-fight analysis
The main event should begin between 8:30 and 9 p.m. Pacific time.
Pacquiao (51-3-2) has ascended to become a congressman in the Philippines since his last visit here, a dominant unanimous decision over the defensive-minded Joshua Clottey in March.
Tonight, he is seeking a record world title in an eighth weight class, his first being at 112 pounds.
This bout is at a catch-weight limit of 150 pounds, a number that Margarito should easily eclipse when he steps into the ring.
Pacquiao, 31, only weighed in at 144.6 pounds Friday, telling me afterward that he wasn't concerned because he was focused more on making his incredible speed his best asset in this bout against the hard-chinned, tough Tijuana fighter.
"Hard chins don't win titles," Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach said this week.
Hours before the fight on Saturday, the fighters weighed in on HBO's scales and weighed in at an amazing 165 for Margarito, 148 for Pacquiao.
Experts assessing this battle, in which Margarito stands at a 5-to-1 underdog, contend Pacquiao's leg strength advantage will be the determining factor. Roach calls Margarito's footwork "terrible" and his style is forward-charging, raising questions about how he can catch the fleet, well-trained Pacquiao.
The bout is Margarito's first in the U.S. since his license was revoked for nearly taking plaster-caked inserts into the handwraps of his gloves in January 2009. The wraps were confiscated before the fight, and Shane Mosley scored a ninth-round TKO in the welterweight title fight.
Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs) returned to the ring in May, claiming an unimpressive decision in Mexico.
He claims his performance tonight will prove he's a clean fighter who never needed to load his gloves.
A crowd in the range of 50,000 is expected at the home of Super Bowl XLV.
Photo: Cowboys Stadium. Credit: Tom Pennington / Getty Images