Friday, August 13, 2010
Bob Arum has been talking up Manny Pacquiao's November clash with Top Rank stable mate Antonio Margarito lately, going so far as to say that the Tijuana Tornado will be Pacquiao's 'toughest opponent' yet.
To some extent it is of course Arum's job to say that every opponent his fighters are taking on will be their toughest opponent to date. Without at least the semblance of fights being competitive few casual fans would be interested in watching. But in this case though, he doesn't seem to be convincing too many people.
Antonio Margarito was a great welterweight at one time and might still be against most competition, but the fact of the matter is that his style and abilities simply don't match up well against Pacquiao.
Margarito has always been very easy to hit, and coupled with that he is a lot slower than Pacquiao. He does have a height advantage at his disposal but tends to plod forward hunched over rather than using it to his advantage. As the fight wears on Pacquiao will probably find he is fast enough to get in close, land from all angles and not take much back in return, as Margarito struggles to throw much back with any accuracy.
To make matters even worse, it doesn't sound like much progress has been made with regards to game plans in the Margarito camp. Speaking to Philboxing recently, trainer Roberto Garcia said:
"The world will see a different Margarito this time around. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to change him completely. If Manny wants to go to war, we will help him get his wish. Our focus is to box, but we are ready for a war if Manny wants to go there.”
Using Margarito's big height and reach advantages against Pacquiao would sound like a sound game plan if not for the fact that he has spend the rest of his career looking to brawl and pressurize. He had clearly been working on his technique against Roberto Garcia in his last outing, but there is a world of difference in a tune up fight and taking on one of the best fighters in the world.
Whether he has the patience, movement and ability to box Pacquiao for 12 rounds is far from certain, and if or when he does get caught the big question is whether he will revert to his old self again.
Floyd Mayweather Sr. tried something similar with Ricky Hatton in that he seemingly changed too much too soon, and the British brawler was finished within two rounds against the Filipino as a result. Granted he didn't really do as he was told and try to box Pacquiao that much but trying to fight differently to how you would instinctively is a lot harder than it sounds.
Margarito does have a great chin, as you can see from the fight above, and took some huge punches from Shane Mosley before eventually being stopped in the 9th.
The question for many fans is whether Manny Pacquiao can stop Margarito or merely win by decision, rather than who will win the fight. Anything less than an impressive stoppage given the style clash will not sit well with many people, although given the abuse Margarito can take that is still an impressive feat that not many could achieve.
Speaking to Ronnie Nathanielsz, Arum said:
“I really think Manny is going to win the (Margarito) fight but it will be the toughest, the most grueling fight he’s ever had and its going to be a sensational fight. This kid (Margarito) is going to throw a million punches from all different angles. He’s much bigger than Manny is, he has a great jaw and its going to be a great, great fight.”
The one thing Margarito will have is a big size advantage, and as the tallest fighter Pacquiao has ever fought coupled with the first in another new weight class, he will likely be much heavier on the night. Those championing Margarito's cause are saying that the key will be his ability to walk through Pacquiao's punches and keep him under pressure.
In 93 days Manny Pacquiao will return to a boxing ring.
We are not sure where the fight will take place as Monterrey, Mexico faded into a rumor of yesterday, Dubai is still mentioned in conversations, and Dallas, Texas leads the race with its loosey-goosey boxing commission.
Antonio Margarito’s status as an unlicensed fighter keeps promoter Bob Arum re-shuffling his shells when it comes to a locale. Pacquiao will have to fight where ever the undeserving challenger is allowed to fight.
On the sidelines crafty old Don King has entered the myopic, drama-filled life of Floyd Mayweather Junior fueling the belief amoung Pacquiao, and many around him, that the fight we all crave will be made for 2011.
But in 93 days this entire conversation will be forgotten, a distant memory only accessible on the world wide web, because Manny Pacquiao will enter the ring.
Love him, or hate him, the “Destroyer” is one of the greatest acts available for your consumer dollars right now. He enters the ring and fights with an athleticism and a warrior-like pride that is not on possessed by any fighter, anywhere else in the world.
Some question if Pacquiao’s new role as a congressman in his believed country of the Philippines will dull the embers of the fire he wields, I for one have no doubt he will be ready to slay Margarito, as I have been on the wrong side of the Pacquiao conversation more than once.
Manny might need a little bit more money before he signs on the dotted line to officially step in the ring, but in 93 days all of boxing’s ills will be put on pause for an hour or so as the sports most exciting fighters puts his craft on display.
When it was announced in late July that Antonio Margarito would be the likely choice for Manny Pacquiao’s November 13th opponent the matchup was met with much criticism and disappointment. Coming on the heels of the reality that Pacquiao meeting Floyd Mayweather this year wasn’t likely to happen, seeing the tarnished brawler from Tijuana get the call was a definite letdown.
Once one of the world’s premier Welterweights, Margarito’s career has taken a hit ever since it was revealed that he had elements of Plaster of Paris in his hand wraps prior to his January 2009 loss to Shane Mosley. Margarito would end up getting blown out by Mosley on that night, further adding to his frustration, and soon after he was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission for a year. Pinned with the label of a cheater, Margarito has since been scathed by fans and insiders alike.
One man who still sees the validity in the matchup is Top Rank boss Bob Arum, who has insisted that Margarito has served his time following the hand wrap incident and that he shouldn’t be condemned for life because of it. Arum has been a part of some of Margarito’s most thrilling moments as a fighter and despite giving Pacquiao the obvious edge he still sees danger in the contest.
“I really think Manny is going to win the fight but it will be the toughest, the most grueling fight he’s ever had and it’s going to be a sensational fight,” Arum recently stated in a Boxing Scene article penned by Ronnie Nathanielsz. “[Margarito] is going to throw a million punches from all different angles. He’s much bigger than Manny is, he has a great jaw and it’s going to be a great, great fight.”
Many insiders are giving Margarito little chance to upset Pacquiao, as the paths of the two fighters has seemed to be polar opposite in the past few years. Following his career-highlight win over Miguel Cotto in July of 2008, Margarito has only fought twice, the Mosley debacle and his return bout against Robert Garcia at 154 pounds a few months back, while Pacquiao has amassed a four-fight winning streak that has saw his star rise in convincingly beating the likes of bigger men in Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, and Joshua Clottey.
A lot of people feel that Margarito isn’t the same fighter because of his advanced age of 32, his move up in weight, and the black cloud hanging over his head that likely could still be affecting his confidence following his suspension. The overall feel is that Pacquiao’s speed and combination punching from all angles will simply befuddle Margarito and that a stoppage isn’t out of question. Two years ago such a scenario didn’t seem possible but things change drastically in the sport of boxing.
If Margarito is to have success he will have to capture the same magic that he had in him when he turned the tables and stopped Cotto in the 11th round at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Trailing on all cards after six rounds, Margarito’s pressure and power punching would began to take a toll on his Puerto Rican foil and he soon began dominating the fight before dropping Cotto twice and forcing him to stay on his knees in the championship rounds. Margarito will have to find a way to absorb the early flurries from Pacquiao will still doing enough damage to have an effect on his adversary from the Philippines.
Continuing further with his thoughts Arum revealed that he simply doesn’t see any fighter in the sport that would be able to defeat Pacquiao at the moment. Mayweather definitely has a chance to be that man but Arum insists that Floyd is out of the picture for 2010 and that he hopes to make their fight next spring, especially if Mayweather decides to sign with Don King, whom he has been spending much time with as of late.
It is rather peculiar to see Margarito getting ready for a shot against Pacquiao and a look back at his career can be revealing. Click on the image gallery below for the words that have defined the career of the ‘Tijuana Tornado’…
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Elie Seckbach, the Embedded Correspondent, brings his exclusive video reporting to FanHouse. Check back regularly for more videos.
FanHouse sought the opinions of fighters and trainers at the Goossen's Gym in Van Nuys, Calif., concerning who will win a Nov. 13 bout between current WBO welterweight (147 pounds) champion Manny Pacquiao and ex-world titlist Antonio Margarito.
The match up between Pacquiao and Margarito, who are promoted by Top Rank Promotions, will be contested for the WBC junior middleweight (154 pounds) belt.