ARLINGTON, Texas – Manny Pacquiao had no concerns Friday despite weighing a stunningly low 144.6 pounds for his World Boxing Council super welterweight title fight at Cowboys Stadium with Antonio Margarito.
The limit for the super welterweight division is 154 pounds, but by contract, the boxers agreed not to be more than 150, which is what Margarito weighed Friday. Pacquiao had guessed at Wednesday's final news conference that he would be 148 pounds, but he was far beneath that on Friday.
Pacquiao is 9.4 pounds from the super welterweight limit and only 9.6 pounds over the lightweight limit of 135.
He may be as many as 20 pounds lighter than Margarito when the bell rings for the main event of the HBO Pay-Per-View bout somewhere around 11:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. After he rehydrates from his weight cut, Margarito may weigh around 165 by fight time. Pacquiao doesn't figure to change.
He said early in his camp, he was sluggish as he tried to eat a lot of food to gain weight.
"They tried shoving a lot of food down my throat to help me gain weight [early in camp] and I didn't feel good," Pacquiao said Friday. "I felt bloated. The extra weight is not necessary. I didn't feel good with it on, but I feel better at this weight."
When Michael Buffer announced the weight, there was a gasp from the raucous pro-Pacquiao crowd on the concourse of Cowboys Stadium. Pacquiao's conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, appeared surprised when he heard it.
Trainer Freddie Roach insisted he was not worried about the weight. Pacquiao weighed a career-high 145 pounds when he fought Joshua Clottey in Cowboys Stadium in March and he was as sharp as ever, rolling to an easy victory.
"I didn't know what the exact number would be, but I'm not concerned," Roach said after the weigh-in. "This is his natural weight. He'll be quicker and that's to his advantage. Manny's speed is the key to this fight and I have no problem with what he weighed."
Margarito, who is fighting for the first time in the U.S. since his boxing license was revoked last year by the California State Athletic Commission after he was caught with an illegal knuckle pad in his hand wraps prior to a Jan. 24, 2009, bout with Shane Mosley, was greeted with a mixture of boos and cheers.
At one point, a small group of fans began to chant, "Cheater! Cheater! Cheater!" as he was announced, but there were just as many who were chanting his last name.