Thursday, November 11, 2010
GRAPEVINE, TEXAS—There was one emotional guy who took the mike at the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito press conference Wednesday who sounded as though he was ready to remove his suit jacket and rumble right there.
Unfortunately for the promotion, it wasn't Nice Guy Manny or the disgraced handwrap cheater, Margarito.
The mad as hell guy was promoter Bob Arum, who is an exceptional actor as he nears age 79 next month.
Arum was buttering up the rep from the Texas boxing commission, William Kuntz, and praising the Lone State State for licensing Margarito even though California and Nevada refused to do so.
“Where other commissions feasted on innuendoes, lies and smears,” Arum snorted, “a real American who stands up for principle did that and I mean Bill Kuntz.”
Arum also prefaced his intro of Tijuana resident Margarito with some angst.
“This man has gone through horror because of California, where he got no fair shake,” Arum said.
“We did not think they would convict this man because of innuendo and suspicion but, for 18 months, this man has gone through hell and, on Saturday night, he will come up with the fight of his life.”
Margarito sounded all business but, unlike Arum, he spit no venom.
“The time is here and there are no excuses. I am ready for the fight. I had one of my best (training) camps, one of the best I have ever had and I am here to show I am back.”
(Bookmakers, pegging Pacman as wide as a 6 /12-1 betting choice, indicate they think the Mexican will wind up on his back or lose a decision over 12 rounds.)
Pacquaio was more upbeat.
“I expect a good fight on Saturday night,” the 31 year old said. “He's a very good fighter and he throws a lot of punches and this is what I want. It is going to be fun.”
After Pacquiao took to the podium for his usual, confident but not offensive spiel, which did include a plug for an authorized book about his life, Arum said the Pinoy Idol was more garrulous since he became a solon.
“He used to speak in small sentences,” Arum said, “but since he became a Congressman, he speaks in paragraphs.”
Don Jose Sulaiman, president for life of the World Boxing Council, interjected a Mexico versus Philippines historical note and drew laughs with a reference to the absent Jerry Jones' stuggling badly at 1-7 Cowboys.
Sulaiman said research shows the Philippines has won 24 of 61 title bouts against Mexican rivals and Pacman is responsible for half of those dozen victories.
“The Sulaimans, we are Cowboys,” he said. “When they lose, we cry, When they win, we get drunk.”
All that losing this year and attendant drinking must have been music to the ears of the guy on the dais who represented Mexican beer sponsor Tecate.
HBO PPV exec Mark Taffet spoke about Pacman's drawing power.
He noted that in 12 PPV TV bouts, Pacman's numbers indicate 6.25 million buys with the last four bouts all over one million buys.
“This is a megafight,” Taffet said.
Arum on the Pacquiao segment on Sunday's “60 Minutes” program:
“Too bad they gave me a lousy opening act.”
The news magazine led off with a long Steve Kroft interview of President Barack Obama.
Arum revealed to me that Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, just aided by a Pacquiao appearance at a last minute Las Vegas campaign rally, and California Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger would both attend the fight.
Interesting splits in fight outcome opinions from rising star and son of the legend Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and longtime Esto boxing scribe Jose Luis Camarillo.
Chavez said Margarito is coming to fight but will get licked by Pacquiao. His being trained by Coach Freddie Roach may compromise his forecast, though.
Old friend Camarillo believes “that Margarito will knock Manny out.”