Friday, October 1, 2010
FanHouse spoke to Mexican-born, ex-champion Antonio Margarito by telephone from his training facility in Oxnard, Calif., where he is preparing with trainer Robert Garcia for southpaw seven-time titlist and WBO welterweight (147 pounds) king Manny Pacquiao and an HBO pay per view televised Golden Boy Promotions clash that will take place on Nov. 13 at The Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The 31-year-old Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 knockouts) of the Philippines will be in pursuit of his eighth crown in as many weight classes when he meets the 32-year-old Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs) for the vacant WBC junior middleweight (154 pounds) title.
Margarito will be fighting on American soil for the first time since January, 2009, when he was dethroned as WBA welterweight (147 pounds) titlist following a ninth-round knockout loss to Shane Mosley at The Staples Center in Los Angeles, and a resulting hand wrapping scandal led to the removal of his license by the California State Athletic Commission until last month when Texas licensed him to face Pacquiao.
Margarito discussed the illegal, plaster-like substance that was placed into his gloves by then-trainer Javier Capetillo and discovered in his wraps, removed and confiscated prior to his facing Mosley, his strategy against Pacquiao, as well as his quest to restore his hard-punching image and ring mystique in this Q&A.
Translated by trainer Robert Garcia.
FanHouse: Where are you training and how is training going so far?
Antonio Margarito: We're training in Oxnard, California right now at Robert Garcia's Boxing Academy. Everything has gone very well. We've done our training perfectly. I'm feeling good, my weight is good, and we have nothing to worry about.
Who have been your sparring partners?
This is our first week of sparring, and today was our third day of sparring. We sparred three times this week. We've got four sparring partners. One of them is named [southpaw] Ricardo Williams Jr. [16-2, nine KOs.] The rest of them, we know their nicknames.
We four sparring partners, most of them have nicknames that we don't know. But we have four, good, fast, strong and solid sparring partners, and the work is going very well with them.
How do you expect to counter Manny Pacquiao's speed and mobility?
Cutting off of the ring and just generally applying a lot of pressure and throwing a lot of punches will be a big factor. I will need to throw punches in four- to five-punch combinations.
Will the body shot be critical to your strategy?
Yes, that will be a key to my doing well in this fight. There will need to be a lot of body shots thrown.
Do you believe that you can win a decision in Texas, where Manny Pacquiao has already gained a lot of popularity with his unanimous decision victory over Joshua Clottey, or do you believe that you need to knock out the champion?
I feel as if I have the power to knock out Manny Pacquiao. But if the fight goes to a decision, then it will have to be a decision where I'm the one that threw most of the punches. I have to throw a lot more punches than Manny Pacquiao to win a decision like that.
But I do feel as if I have the strength and the power to knock out Manny Pacquiao.
How damaging was the loss to Shane Mosley to your career and your mystique, spiritually, emotionally, and physically, and how do you explain that knockout loss?
That's in the past, but it definitely affected me because I was the world champion, and after that I lost my title. When I lost, that eliminated a lot of big fights that were part of my future and that could have happened for me with a win. But I lost, and now, I'm focused on this next fight.
I'm very much focused on winning this next fight.
In what ways is it both refreshing and rejuvenating to be working with a young trainer like Robert Garcia?
I am learning a lot from the mistakes that he is correcting in my style from Robert. I'm very comfortable and very happy to be here. I'm feeling better than ever right now. Every thing is going perfect. We're correcting a lot of mistakes that I had been making.
That's what is happening. This is a very positive move for me.
Were you surprised and pleased with the reception and autograph-seeking fans who pursued you, and the reception from the fans, in general there, when you were in Dallas attending the Manny Pacqiao-Joshua Clottey fight?
I was very happy to see all of the Mexican people and all of the fans in general who showed up for the press conference to support me and to let me know that they're behind me, and to let me know that they will be there for the fight.
Can you discuss why you agreed to a catch weight of 151 pounds -- or is it 150 pounds -- and whether or not making the weight will be a factor for you?
Well the catch weight is 150. I believe that the Manny Pacquiao camp thinks that it's going to be a problem for me making the weight. But I know my body, and I believe that they they expect me to have some problems losing that extra three or four pounds.
But I have no problem making 150. I'm already close to it right now, and that will be no problem at all.
Can you assess Manny Pacquiao's performance against Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey, and did you learn anything from those performances that will help you?
More with Joshua Clottey. With Joshua Clottey, the few punches that Clottey threw and landed were effective against Manny Pacquiao. Clottey just didn't follow up. I think, you know, that my key is just going to be to throw and land punches that are critical, but I just have to follow up.
I have to throw four- to five-punches and to keep busy and to throw punches in general. That's what I learned from the Joshua Clottey fight.
Was the Miguel Cotto who fought Manny Pacquiao and was knocked out in the 12th round in November the same Miguel Cotto who you fought and was knocked out in the 11th round in July of 2008?
No. I truly believe that after Miguel Cotto fought me that he was not the same Miguel Cotto.
Do you have a timetable for how long you will continue boxing?
No I don't. I think that time and the fights that are available are what will be the major factor in making my decision on how long I will continue to fight. At least, that's how it is for me. So time will tell.
If you could line up your next three or four fights, including your fight with Manny Pacquiao, who would your dream fights be against?
Well, after Manny Pacquiao, you know, of course I would like to fight Floyd Mayweather. That's the first name that is on my mind and the first name that I think of. But after that, any champions.
Any fighter, any champion I would like to fight after that. You know, any big names. No names in particular, but any body out there.
Do you believe that Floyd Mayweather ducked you in the past?
I don't know the reasons why Floyd Mayweather didn't take the fight with me. The fight was offered, and he didn't take it, and, instead, he fought Oscar De La Hoya. I'm sure that he had his reasons for doing that ,but I know that he's not scared or else he wouldn't be in this sport. So I'm not saying that he's scared. He must have had other reasons.
I think that Floyd is going to have to fight me with me, of course, being victorious over Manny Pacquiao. Floyd has always talked about fighting Manny Pacquiao, but that won't happen after I beat Manny Pacquiao. And after I fight Manny Pacquiao and beat him, Floyd Mayweather will have to fight me.
When you knocked out Sergio Martinez in February of 2000, and Javier Capetillo was not in your corner, who was your trainer?
Joe Valdez was my trainer at the time.
Does it bother you that Sergio Martinez is gaining all of the attention after beating Kelly Pavlik, and would you like to fight Sergio again?
No, it doesn't bother me at all. He's a good fighter and he's got his own career and he's doing really well. But if the fight is to happen, I'd fight anybody. I'd really be up for fighting him.
What do you say to people, including the fighters themselves, who believe that your gloves were loaded against Kermit Cintron and Miguel Cotto, considering the beating that you gave those two fighters?
I've always been a clean fighter. I've never used or done anything illegally. I can't change what people think, but I'm going to prove to everybody after the Manny Pacquiao fight that I am a very, very clean person in the ring.
Were you surprised or disappointed to hear that Manny Pacquiao believed that you knew about the plaster-like substance that Javier Capetillo place into your hand wraps, and, if so, does that serve as motivation for you going into the fight with him?
Manny Pacquiao can believe whatever he wants. I don't worry about what he's saying or what he's not saying. I could say the same thing about, you know, what people say about him being on steroids, and everything that has gone on with all of the steroid stuff.
But I don't even bring that up, because we're going to fight, and I'm the one who is going to show what I can do in the ring against him.
What would you say to Javier Capetillo today if you could get him in a room by yourselves and talk to him, one-on-one, and, man-to-man?
Nothing, really. I don't even want to think about that anymore. You know, that's in the past. I am with a different trainer now, and we're doing a great job and I'm really happy. I don't even think about that. That's in the past and I don't even want to remember those things.
Do you believe that Oscar De La Hoya, who applauded California's decision not to license you and who believes you should be banned for life, had something to do with your not being licensed by the California State Athletic Commission?
Yes, I do believe and think that the California Commission's final decision had a lot to do with Oscar. Oscar made a lot of comments. Oscar said that he hoped that I don't get my license in California. I just feel that he is very influential here in California.
So, yes, I believe that he had something to do with it, and their decision was influenced by some of the things that he has said about me.
Will you pursue regaining a license in Las Vegas in the future?
I would love to fight in Las Vegas again. Las Vegas is the place where, you know, every body wants to fight. But any other state would be fine as well. I would love to fight here in California also, if they were to give me the O.K. to fight here. But until they do that, then I can't.
But Las Vegas is the place where I really, really want. Everybody wants to fight in Las Vegas. I want to thank everybody who has supported me throughout my career and through all of the bad things that have been a part of my career, lately.
But also, to all of those people who don't believe in me, I want to still thank them and show them that I'm a clean fighter. I want to prove to everybody that I don't need to do anything illegal to win fights. I am planning to show them on Nov. 13 against Manny Pacquaio, and after that, I will make them believers.
BAGUIO CITY – Unlike the last time when he was virtually untouched against Joshua Clottey, Manny Pacquiao should know only too well that he has to fight smart against an opponent of the caliber of Antonio Margarito.
Conscious of the Mexican’s noted punching prowess, trainer Freddie Roach has reminded the Filipino world boxing champion to constantly move inside the ring and not allow himself to be caught with the solid 1-2 punches Margarito has been known for.
For 13 tough rounds over the mitts on Friday, Roach emphasized the importance of not allowing himself to stay in front of the 5-foot-11 Mexican or even get cornered on the ropes.
“Don’t stay in front of him because he will hit you," Roach hollered during the weekend training at the Cooyesan hotel here.
Pacquiao had the luxury of staying on his feet when he fought Clottey the last time at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas where his Nov. 13 title bout with Margarito will also be held. After all, the 31-year-old challenger from Ghana hardly threw any punches, content with covering his face with both hands.
But it won't be the same with Margarito.
“Don’t take two punches in order to land three," Roach reminded Pacquiao when the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter got a little lax during one stretch of their mitts session.
For 12 straight rounds, Roach and Pacquiao went through a furious mitts session, taking only a break prior to the 13th and last round.
“Move, move away," Roach told Pacquiao.
The 31-year-old Filipino ring idol is expected to spar for the second time in training camp today, probably against Michael Medina after going four rounds with Glen Tapia Thursday.
Roach initially liked what he saw.
“He’s not yet 100 percent obviously, but his rhythm is already there," said the four-time Trainer of the Year.
But Tapia, a native of Dominican Republic and now based in New Jersey, also did well in his first sparring session with the world’s best boxer today.
“Glen did better than I expected," said Medina, who bought two large boxes of pizza as his way of acknowledging the job well done by his buddy.
"I had cheese, while Glen had pepperoni," he added. - KY/RCJ, GMANews.TV
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – After a good day of sparring last Thursday, Manny Pacquiao worked even harder on and off the ring yesterday.
The pound-for-pound champion was out early in the morning for a 30-minute run inside one of the golf courses here, and by 2 p.m. he was at the Shape Up Gym for a rigorous two-hour workout.
Pacquiao was limbering up when he said his body was aching as a result of four rounds of sparring with Glen Tapia, pointing to his legs, his arms and body, and saying “it just aches all over.”
But it didn’t really show when he worked the mitts with Freddie Roach for 14 rounds non-stop.
Roach tried to mimic Pacquiao’s opponent on Nov. 13, Antonio Margarito, and paid dearly for it when he took a couple of shots from the heavy-handed southpaw, who sometimes went after him like he was out to put him down.
At one point, Pacquiao accidentally landed a punch right on his trainer’s face, but was quick to apologize. Roach, a former fighter himself, simply laughed it off, later saying he’s gotten used to getting hit nowadays.
“Yeah, he got me there,” said Roach, who a few days ago, at the Elorde Gym in Quezon City, hit the canvas after getting caught with a hard shove and lost his balance.
Roach said Pacquiao will spar with Michael Medina today before motoring to Manila for his daughter’s birthday before sundown. He promised to be back late Sunday so he could resume working out on Monday.
“He also said he misses his job,” said Roach of the fighting congressman from lone district of Sarangani. “I really thought of giving him a day off tomorrow because of all the hard work but now we need to work.”
Roach is just making sure that if Pacquiao overstays in Manila, there won’t be too much of a lull.
“Breaks are over,” said his strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza.
Overall, however, Roach is happy with the way the camp is going.
“It’s just our fifth day here in Baguio and I like it where we are right now. Glen Tapia did very, very good in sparring yesterday. He fights like Margarito with his right and he’s cocky,” said Roach.
“And he tried to get the best out of Manny yesterday. I love that because Manny will pay him back. I will give Medina a shot tomorrow. And I see another good day of sparring,” added the celebrated trainer.
His face was red as Baguio tomatoes after the non-stop session with the mitts, and often- times he was heard telling Pacquiao what kind of a fighter Margarito is, and how he should be handled.
They worked a lot on throwing punches from different angles, and how to get out of the ropes once the moment he touches them, how to avoid getting clipped by Margarito’s elbows, or by a headbutt.
“Remember, he’s not always pressing. Sometimes he’ll wait for you so he can give something in return. And I don’t want you to fall into the trap,” said Roach, adding that he spent a lot of time the other day watching Margarito’s fights.
He said he saw eight of those fights, including four against southpaws, and noticed a very strong similarity in each of them.
“When he throws, he throws wide. And he needs to set up with his legs,” observed Roach, confident that Pacquiao will get the 5-foot-11 Mexican even before he could throw his punches.
“We’ll knock him out,” Roach promised.
With the November showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito getting ever closer, many are postulating on how much the latter has to offer at this stage of his career. Coming from a recent suspension and only one fight removed from a knockout loss, many assume that Antonio Margarito is past his best and that he doesn't have anything to trouble the surging Pacquiao.
What many are forgetting though is that Margarito already has six losses on his record, three to journeymen from early on in his career, one each to Daniel Santos, Paul Williams, and Shane Mosley. So a loss to the fighter regarded by many as the best in the sport isn't going to damage his standing in the sport so long as he gives a good account of himself.
By all accounts, both fighters are impressing in training, and both are promising a war. Pacquiao is overwhelming larger sparring partners brought in to mimic Margarito's size and height advantages. Margarito himself is training harder than ever, and knows this is probably his last chance to remain relevant in the upper echelons of the sport.
Assuming that Margarito gives Pacquiao a competitive fight, eventually losing but giving a good account of himself, then what does the future hold for both?
The obvious rematches to make after the Pacquiao bout, regardless of the outcome, are bouts against Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley, both of which deserve do overs after the extenuating circumstances surrounding the first fights.
It was just prior to the Mosley fight that Margarito was caught with tampered hand wraps, and his dismal performance against Mosley, who has looked decidedly average since, can partly be put down to a lack of focus during the fight. Mosley is a bad match up for Margarito stylistically, so this would be no walk in the park for Margarito even if Mosley has slipped lately, but it would keep one of them high enough in the rankings to make a case for bigger fights down the road.
The Cotto fight was not directly tainted by the incident and subsequent suspension, but many fans have also called into question parts of Margarito's record prior to the hand wrap scandal. The penultimate closest fight to which was a thrilling 11th round TKO over Miguel Cotto.
A rematch with the same result would remove all doubt as to whether or not Margarito was fighting within the rules that night, and might also allow him to capture the WBA junior middleweight title. If he can accomplish this before any of the rising stars rumored to be taking on Cotto get their chance, namely Vanes Martirosyan, Saul Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, then he should be in line to defend against one or more of them himself.
Middleweight king Sergio Martinez has also expressed interest in fighting Margarito again in the near future, which if he beats Paul Williams this year could give Margarito a shot at the lineal middleweight title as well. Not that that would be an easy fight by any means, but it would be lucrative and probably a lot more than Margarito was expecting after his suspension and the public outcry against him.
For Pacquiao, things are a lot more simple in that the fight everyone still wants to see is between himself and Floyd Mayweather, although whether Top Rank and Golden Boy will be willing to work together at the moment will have to remain to be seen.
Bob Arum is staying tight lipped on the matter, Richard Schaefer is saying he hopes something can be worked out, but with the legal battle going on over Pacquao at the moment it isn't clear whether he will ever face another Golden Boy fighter right now.
Mayweather and Pacquiao themselves have both said that they want the fight to happen, but it now hinges to some degree on Floyd's legal troubles as well as whether the difficulties of warring promoters can be overcome.
If that fight doesn't come off, again, then a rematch against Miguel Cotto is possible, as are bouts against the likes of Andre Berto or even a third bout against Juan Manuel Marquez.
The fact that Pacquiao is such a big draw means that everyone wants a piece of him, and that he can more or less choose who he wants to fight. Although of course other fellow Top Rank fighters always have to be considered the front runners.
Deon Phillips, Philly: "Boxing is better off without Floyd, he deserves to be banned of h gets convicted of beating up a woman and this isn't the first time he's done it either"
Sean Grayson, Pittsburgh: "If the Mayweather fight doesn't happen Pacquiao should just retire. He can't fight Martinez or Williams, the best light welters aren't ready and Cotto and Marquez are past it"
MANILA, Philippines - Manny Pacquiao once again skipped his roadwork yesterday but was impressive in his first day of sparring at the Shape Up Gym where he did four rounds with Mexican Glen Tapia.
“It was a very good sparring. Freddie Roach was very happy and he had no complaints,” said Pacquiao’s adviser, Mike Koncz.
Pacquiao played basketball Wednesday evening and spent more time with the treadmill the morning after. While his handlers say it’s perfectly fine, experts believe going out on the road is still the best thing to do.
It’s the first time in training that Pacquiao has skipped roadwork quite often. Tuesday morning he also opted to stay in his hotel room after playing basketball the night before.
Pacquiao also complained of some pain on his left foot the other day. It may be considered a slight injury which he sustained while working out at the Elorde Gym in Quezon City last Friday.
This could be the reason why Roach pushed the first day of sparring from last Tuesday to yesterday.
“Still, he sparred well today,” said Koncz, who expects the number of rounds to gradually increase as the days come by. Another sparring partner, Michael Medina, may be tapped when sparring resumes tomorrow.
Koncz said sparring was done behind closed doors, and not even some members of Team Pacquiao were allowed in, as well as mediamen, including photographers based in Baguio City.
“Yes, even Team Pacquiao members were kept out. I think there were just three or four of us inside as he sparred,” said Koncz, of course not counting Roach and fellow trainers Alex Ariza, Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri.
“Tapia did a very good job,” added Koncz of the 5-foot-11 junior welterweight.
Roach said Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. might come in as a sparring partner but seems to be have difficulty with his travel papers.
Even when Pacquiao was still in Manila, Tapia had already expressed his like for the Filipino champion who is gearing up for a Nov. 13 clash with Antonio Margarito for the vacant WBC super-welterweight crown.
“He’s fast. He has the speed and he has the footwork. He’s going to pop Margarito,” said Tapia. – With report from Rose Tamayo-Tesoro
MANILA, Philippines—His timing expectedly still needed some fine-tuning, but pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao could already find his spots and sneak in those bombs during his first sparring session with Glen Tapia in Baguio City on Thursday.
Pacquiao uncorked a left straight that landed squarely on the jaw of Tapia midway in the second round, jarring the promising light middleweight.
On his first day of sparring at his training camp in Baguio City, pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao went four rounds with undefeated 20-year-old light middleweight Tapia, a strong puncher who has a record of 7-0 with 5 knockouts.
Trainer Freddie Roach shut down the gym and cleared it of onlookers, including members of the media and even some Team Pacquiao members.
Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz said “it was a good four rounds of sparring” but had no explanation as to why it was previously mentioned that Pacquiao would spar with the bigger and far more experienced Michael “Murder Man” Medina who has a record of 24-2-2 with 19 knockouts but instead stepped into the ring with Tapia who is known for his big right hand which is the main asset of Antonio Margarito.
Pacquiao once again played basketball on Wednesday night and skipped his morning run around Burnham Park.
Koncz said Pacquiao didn’t jog precisely because he played basketball which is one way he likes to get in shape physically.
Koncz allayed fears of some fans that too much basketball could open up the danger of aggravating his foot injury saying there was no need to worry and that everything was on schedule.
Freddie Roach earlier said that Pacquiao would be allowed to play basketball only up to one month before the Margarito fight.
Pacquiao’s next sparring session is set for Saturday.
He is expected to pick up the tempo next week, which will also see the arrival of WBC silver middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to join Pacquiao’s training camp.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
If early indications are anything to go by, the tickets for Manny Pacquiao's November clash with Antonio Margarito are going fast, and the live attendance for the bout will probably eclipse the crowd that gathered to watch Pacquiao's last outing, a 12 round decision over little known Joshua Clottey in March.
A recent Manilla Bulletin article by Nick Giongco quoted Top Rank boss Bob arum as saying:
“Tickets just went on sale and the response is great and most of the high-priced seats have been sold. Soon, sales will hit the roof,”
That fight boasted a live attendance of 41,843, of which 36,371 were paid for, and for the most part the fans had turned out purely because of Pacquiao rather than his Ghanaian opponent.
In taking on Antonio Margarito this time out he faces an opponent who not only has a much higher profile in the sport generally, but also has a huge following in the area surrounding the record breaking Cowboys stadium.
Even more importantly than the live attendance though, which usually only tends to make up a small percentage of the overall money generated from such an event, is how many pay per views Pacquiao and Margarito can sell.
Obviously the best indicator of how well the event will likely sell is through the previous appearances of the two pugilistic protagonists. But in this case there are a number of other potentially important factors that might affect the sales:
-Pacquiao can capture a title in an 8th weight class, breaking his own record of 7 titles in 7 which he achieved in beating Miguel Cotto last year. The question of whether he can climb up in weight once more, given the big size difference between him and his opponent, coupled with the added scheduling pressures of being a congressman, makes the fight compelling.
-Antonio Margarito has traditionally never been a huge pay per view draw by himself, but equally has never had the same kind of promotion or publicity given to his fights as he is getting against Pacquiao. Given his style, size advantage and the distinct lack of big Mexican stars in the sport right now, Margarito could well sell a lot more than he usually does. (Saul Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr are well on their way, but not as big as they will be in a couple of years)
-Although the year now seems to be ending with a bang, with both November and December featuring a number of pay per view worthy events and several long awaited matches being announced, the rest of this year has been fairly quiet. The number of big pay per view events up until now has been limited, meaning that the ones that are happening soon can expect higher numbers than they might have otherwise.
-The public opinion of Antonio Margarito as an opponent to Pacquiao has gradually been shifting since the announcement of the bout was made. At first many were quick to condemn the choice, given that Margarito's recent record isn't anything to brag about, and that he was suspended for being found with loaded hand wraps early last year. More recently though the public and media have started to accept the event, and the bout is quickly becoming as anticipated as many of Pacquiao's other recent fights.
But why is the amount of pay per views Pacquiao and Margarito sell even important?
The amount of viewers a big fight can attract, even one with fairly long odds such as this one, acts as an indicator of the health of the sport as a whole. The more pay per view events sell well, the more that the promoters will be inclined to put on. Not all of them necessarily fight of the year candidates (Mosley-Mora anyone?), but none the less, more fights will be on offer.
Anyone still hoping to see a fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather sometime in the future is also no doubt hoping that the fight sells well. If the event tanks and negotiations with Floyd go ahead next year, he might well demand a bigger percentage of the purse split than Pacquiao, and the fight falls apart again. If the event sells well, then the two sides are kept on an even keel, and any eventual terms are then that much easier to work out.
Shaun Smith, Philly: "Margarito probably has a bigger following than Cotto, so I wouldn't be surprised if they could do the same or close to Floyd and Shane's fight did"
Liam Bower, Pittsburgh: "First people were saying they were going to boycott the fight and now everyone can't wait for it to happen. Floyd's attention grabbing and women beating probably helped as well"
The hard work is starting now as Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito hunker down at their respective training camps as they prepare for their vacant junior middleweight title bout Nov. 13 (HBO PPV) at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Pound-for-pound king Pacquiao is due to begin his sparring this week at his training camp in Baguio City in the Philippines with sparring partners Michael Medina and Glen Tapia, despite a sore left foot.
And after two weeks of mountain road work and preliminary gym work in South El Monte, Calif., Margarito and trainer Robert Garcia have relocated to Garcia's Oxnard, Calif., gym for the remainder of training camp.
"We got a lot done in the first two weeks and Tony looks great," Garcia said. "I love his focus and intensity and our first phase of training camp was an eye opener for him and me. The first two weeks have been really terrific and productive."
Margarito is also scheduled to begin sparring this week.
"I know how important this fight is to my career and to all of Mexico," Margarito said. "That is why I will prepare like never before and will defeat Manny Pacquiao, proving to everyone that I am one of the best fighters in the world. The belt is very important to me, but the most important thing is to give the fans a great fight and one that they will remember for a long time. I love to fight and Manny has proven that he is a warrior. This fight is going to be a war."
HBO's four-part "24/7 Pacquiao/Margarito" series following the buildup to the fight premiers Oct. 23 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.
• Mexico's Rafael Marquez is back in full training in preparation for his showdown with featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez (29-0, 26 KOs) of Puerto Rico on Nov. 6 (Showtime) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Marquez, a former bantamweight and junior featherweight champ, was forced to postpone the fight because he injured his right thumb when he accidentally slammed it in a car door. The fight was supposed to take place Sept. 18. But the thumb has healed and Marquez (39-5, 35 KOs) is training without restrictions in Mexico City. "The injury is totally healed. This will be the best preparation of my career," Marquez said. "I will work very hard so I defeat Juanma when we meet because I know he will also be in top shape. We are going to give the fans the fight they deserve, which will be nothing less than the fight of the year." Marquez knows a thing or two about fights of the year. His second and third fights with Israel Vazquez were named fight of the year in 2007 and 2008, and the only reason the first one wasn't was because it happened in the same year as the rematch.
• Former junior featherweight and junior lightweight titlist Joan Guzman (30-0-1, 17 KOs), 34, is coming back as a junior welterweight. Guzman, of course, was supposed to fight Ali Funeka for a vacant lightweight belt in March but badly missed weight. He came in at 144 pounds for the 135-pound fight and wound up outpointing Funeka (in a rematch of their draw), leaving the title vacant. It was the second time in recent fights that Guzman had missed weight. Now, he'll try things out in the 140-pound division. Guzman meets Chris Fernandez (18-10-1, 11 KOs), loser of three in a row and five of seven, in the main event of Telefutura's "Solo Boxeo Tecate" on Nov. 5 in New York. "I know Chris is going to be a tough opponent but I feel very comfortable fighting at 140 pounds," said Guzman, who lives in Brooklyn. "There are a lot of great fighters in this weight class and I am ready to prove that I am still one of the best out there." Slated for the undercard are Mexican featherweight Salvador Sanchez (19-4-2, 9 KOs), the nephew of the Hall of Famer with the same name, and junior lightweight contender Argenis Mendez, a New York-based Dominican like Guzman.
• Former heavyweight champ Hasim Rahman (48-7-2, 39 KOs), still trying to land another title bout, faces journeyman Marcus McGee (22-17, 11 KOs) in Panama City on Saturday night on the WBA's "KO Drugs" charity card. Rahman has won three low-level fights since being destroyed by champion Wladimir Klitschko in seven rounds in a 2008 title challenge, and goes for No. 4 against McGee in an eight-rounder. "It's Rock's fourth fight in six months. He's keeping busy and getting into better shape," promoter Greg Cohen said. "He's definitely on a mission. He's been working hard with [trainer] Eddie [Mustafa Muhammad]. Rock is only 37. I think he'll get another chance." Headlining the show are a pair of title bouts. Cruiserweight titlist Guillermo Jones of Panama, fighting for the first time in two years, faces Valery Brudov, a long overdue mandatory opponent, and Panama's Luis Concepcion defends his interim flyweight belt against former titlist Denkaosan Kaowichit.
• Welsh light heavyweight contender Nathan Cleverly stopped Karo Murat in the ninth round of their title eliminator last week, and now Cleverly wants his shot at German titleholder Jürgen Braehmer (36-2, 29 KOs). Cleverly (20-0, 10 KOs) has taken exception to Braehmer calling him "feather fisted" and hopes to face him in December. "I've stopped my last seven opponents, and it will be eight if Braehmer plucks up the courage to get in the ring with me," Cleverly said. "My promoter, Frank Warren, will provide the perfect platform for him to back up his claims on Dec. 11 in London. If Braehmer wants the fight, then I will be there in the opposite corner, and I'll do to him what I did to Murat. I changed my style to take on Murat when I could have made it a lot easier and boxed him from the outside all night, but I forced the fight all the way, forced the stoppage and broke his nose. Now I'm a man and I am punching harder with every fight and if Braehmer wants to back up his words then I'm here ready for him. I won the British title with a stoppage, I won the European title with a stoppage, and I will win a world title when I knock Braehmer out."
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
BAGUIO CITY – Barring any untoward incident that might have occurred last night, seven-division world champion Manny Pacquiao shifts his preparations for his coming world superwelterweight championship bout with Antonio Margarito to high gear today.
After eight days of confining his build up program to doing mitts with chief trainer Freddie Roach, shadow boxing and physical conditioning regimen, the reigning junior-welterweight champ turns his focus into his main job – fighting atop the square arena – with his long-awaited sparring against up-and-coming mates.
Mexican super-welterweight champion Michael Medina and New Jersey prospect Glen Tapia have, for the past week, been waiting in the wings to lay their hands on the world’s pound-for-pound king and give the Filipino icon what they can offer by way of providing the Pacman a glimpse of what stuff Margarito is made of in terms of fighting style.
Their turn to do that starting today, two days after Roach himself canceled the scheduled start of sparring Tuesday on fears that Pacquiao’s injury had worsened following a two-hour basketball game Monday night.
The game pitting Team Pacquiao against a local squad lasted near midnight resulting in the Sarangani Congressman not being able to do his routine morning roadwork and led Roach to suspect he hurt his left heel.
Pacquiao though easily erased his trainer’s suspicion with an untiring work on the mitts that had his trainer of nine years all smile after the 12-round session elated on his ward’s superb physical condition.
“It’s gonna be Thursday,” Roach blurted out to the Manila Times in the post-session interview. “I’m 100 percent the start of the long sparring will be on Thursday so we can focus on game plan and strategy.”
Roach, owner of the famous Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles in California who between Medina and Tapia takes a crack first except saying both can as both resemble Margarito’s fighting style.
Sparring at the Coyesan Hotel gym will be closed door.
Roach had stated in the early stage of training at the Elorde Boxing Gym in Quezon City that Medina could play the most important role in sparring.
The least known out of the bunch line up by Roach, including stylish Julio Cezar Chavez, who will be arriving within the week, but Medina is a fighter with good skills, who has sparred with numerous solid fighters.
Medina owns a respectable record of 24 Wins against 2 losses and what makes him a most ideal is his experience in sparring against top fighters. He was Floyd Mayweather’s and Chavez Jr.'s sparring partner in their respective fights against Mosley and Duddy.
Coincidentally, those fight are the biggest fights so far in the career of Floyd and Chavez Jr., making serve, too, good luck charm.
At 20 years of age and sporting a 7-0 record with 5 stoppages, Tapia, on he other hand, offers his youth, physical strength and aggression that would be a welcome change of pace in camp.
“They needed a young guy, a prospect, who was just a little bit faster,” Tapia said in a talk with this writer. “I was told that the first name that came up to their (Team Pacquiao’s) mind was me. So they called me up and that was it, suddenly I’m here.”
“This is a great opportunity for me. This is a great experience for me. I’m just happy to be in the Philippines and being Pacquiao’s main sparring partner,”he said.
Before leaving overseas Tapia from Dominican Republic, doubled as a trainer in Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.
Besides helping in preparing Pacquiao for his Nov. 13 fight at the Dallas Cowboys’ Stadium in Texas, both Tapia and Medina also hope to gain valuable experience the can use in their chosen profession.
Manny Pacquiao will be in pursuit of his eighth crown in as many weight classes when he meets Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13 at the Dallas Cowboys' Stadium.
Margarito, whose reputation was tarnished as a result of a hand wrapping scandal in January of 2009, will be in pursuit of redemption in the wake of ridicule during the darkest portion of his career.
For when Margarito throws his first punch against Pacquiao, it will also be the first time that he has done so on American soil since January of 2009, when he was dethroned as WBA welterweight (147 pounds) titlist following a ninth-round knockout loss to Shane Mosley at The Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Prior to the loss to Mosley, an illegal, plaster-like substance was discovered in Margarito's hand wraps, then removed and confiscated. Not only was Margarito's license to fight in the United States revoked a month later by the California State Athletic Commission, but the hard-punching fighter's life, image and ring mystique were severely damaged.
Against the 31-year-old Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 knockouts), the WBO welterweight king, the Mexican-born, 32-year-old Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs) can gain some measure of respect by winning the vacant WBC junior middleweight (154 pounds) title.
"I know how important this fight is to my career and to all of México," said Margarito. "That is why I will prepare like never before. I will defeat Manny Pacquiao, proving to everyone that I am one of the best fighters in the world."
Margarito's suspension officially ended on Feb. 11, but on Aug. 19, he was denied a license for the second time by the CSAC, even as he continued to blame then-trainer Javier Capetillo for the wraps and deny knowledge of the substance's presence.
Among the things pointed out during the nearly six-hour hearing in August was the fact that during Margarito's year-long suspension, he and trainer Robert Garcia unknowingly conducted illegal sparring sessions in Oxnard, Calif.
The workouts were in preparation to face Roberto Garcia in a bout that Margarito won by decision in May in Mexico, where he was licensed to fight.
Margarito has been licensed in Texas for the HBO-televised, Top Rank Promotions bout with Pacquiao, this, despite opposition and outrage from many in the sport, including Oscar De La Hoya, president of rival Golden Boy Promotions, who believes that Margarito should be "Banned for life."
"Anybody can have whatever opinion they want to have, but this is still the United States of America, and there's not one shred of evidence any place or anywhere that Antonio Margarito knew that those inserts were in his hand wraps. Now, it's one thing when they put the inserts in, and you're still being wrapped up. And it's another thing maybe when you're fighting," said Top Rank Promotions' CEO, Bob Arum.
"But these inserts were discovered while his hands were being wrapped, and five, top trainers said that they could put similar inserts into the hand wraps of fighters without the fighters knowing what was there. So at this point, there's no evidence whatsoever that Margarito knew anything about what was going on," said Arum.
"Is there any evidence that he didn't know? Well, the inspector said by that by Margarito's surprise reaction that he didn't know what was inserted in his hands," said Arum. "In order to take the position that lot of writers are taking, where's the evidence that he knew what was in the hand wraps? There is none."
Margarito's credibility has even been questioned even by Pacquiao, who made his assertions during a press conference last month in Los Angeles that was part of a three-city promotional tour that included New York and Dallas.
"I don't believe him [Margarito,]" said Pacquiao, who takes a 12-bout winning streak that includes eight knockouts against Margarito. "Of course he knows about that [illegal hand-wraps.] It's his hands, and he watches the taping."
Although blasted by some for taking the fight, Pacquiao has since said that he believes Margarito deserves a second chance.
"All of this stuff is in the past. And now, virtually everybody is talking about the fight, and whether it's going to be a great fight. They're talking about how good a fight it's going to be, how tough of a fight it's going to be for Manny," said Arum. "That's the discussion that every body is having. And people who still want to dwell on the hand wraps issue, they're entitled to that, but nobody is paying attention anymore."
Margarito has spent the past two weeks running the mountains of South El Monte, Calif., where the emphasis was on road work and a preliminary gym regimen under the guidance of Robert Garcia.
"We got a lot done in the first two weeks, and Tony looks great. I love his focus and intensity," said Garcia, a former IBF junior lightweight (130 pounds) titlist. "Our first phase of training camp was an eye-opener for him and me. The first two weeks have been really terrific and productive."
On Tuesday, Margarito's training camp relocated to Oxnard, Calif., where his initial training will include early morning runs in the mountains as well as on the beach and the track.
"The belt is very important to me, but the most important thing is to give the fans a great fight and one that they will remember for a long time," said Margarito. "I love to fight, and Manny has proven that he is a warrior. This fight is going to be a war."
MANILA, Philippines—Former three-time welterweight champion Antonio Margarito has promised a “war” when he battles pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao for the vacant WBC super welterweight title at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium on Nov. 13.
But, according to conditioning expert Alex Ariza, Pacquiao is prepared to give it to the Mexican dubbed the “Tijuana Tornado.”
Ariza believes it would be the seven-division world champion who would bring the fight to the taller, bigger Margarito.
“Once we are done preparing Manny... for fight night, I don’t see Margarito lasting more than eight rounds,” said Ariza.
“I really don’t. I don’t think he’ll be able to take Manny’s power. And as far as Margarito pushing him, I think it’s going to be Manny pushing him.”
Ariza said he won’t be surprised if “we see Margarito go on retreat and stay away from Manny because he is not going to be able to deal with his power.”
Ariza, who began working alongside celebrated trainer Freddie Roach a few weeks before the Pacquiao-David Diaz fight, also shrugged off Margarito’s five-inch height and six-inch reach advantage.
“[They) don’t mean anything,” said Ariza. “Speed negates all of that stuff. People seem to have forgotten that Manny hits hard.
“Ricky Hatton was supposed to be stronger, Oscar De La Hoya was supposed to be stronger, and Miguel Cotto was definitely supposed to be bigger and stronger, but Manny proved that he is stronger than them,” Ariza added.
Margarito, who has moved to Oxnard, California, with trainer Robert Garcia, wound up a two-week initial training phase in South El Monte, where the fighter put emphasis on mountain roadwork and light workouts in the gym.
Garcia, who also handled former IBF light flyweight champion Brian Viloria and now mentors Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire, said Margarito will continue with his early morning run in Oxnard before beginning sparring this week.
Margarito said he is highly motivated for the megabuck, pay-per-view bout.
“I know how important this fight is to my career and to all of Mexico,” Margarito told Boxing.com. “That is why I will defeat Pacquiao.” With a report from Frank Cimatu, Inquirer Northern Luzon