November 9th, 2010 By Kevin Perry
Los Angeles, CA- This coming Saturday marks what is expected to be the most important prizefight of 2010 when Filipino icon and congressman Manny “Pacman” Pacquaio (51-3-2, 38 KOs) defends not only his pound for pound crown, he looks to gain a world title in an eighth weight division, albeit at a catch weight. His foe is the shamed cheater Antonio “Tijuana Tornado” Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs) whose trainer at the time, Javier Capetillo was caught loading his handwraps with a “plaster” like substance before his fight with “Sugar Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) in January 2009.
NOBODY BUT SHEEP BELIEVE THE ” I DIDN’T KNOW” BULL SPIT
Margarito maintains his innocence, that he did not know what was being inserted into his wraps. Whether you believe his story or not, the accused honored the one year revocation of his boxing license by the California State Athletic Commission, but was denied reinstatement. The nice guys that they are in Texas, their commission decided to grant Antonio a boxing license (ching, ching) and as a consequence this Saturday the two will fight for the vacant WBC junior middleweight (154 lb) title at Cowboys Stadium in front of a crowd said to exceed 50,000. While this bout is being waged at a catch weight of 150, a weight that on the surface seems to give the Mexican an advantage as Margarito reportedly started his seven week training camp weighing close to 160.
CONTRARY REPORTS ABOUND ON MARGARITO
Antonio reportedly has looked great in camp, however by possibly overtraining that success might not translate to the ring on fight night. Especially when fighting a buzz-saw in the likes of Pacquiao. At the same time, there are reports that Antonio is a walking dead man trying to make weight.
A BUM TO MANY, STILL TONY’S A BIG BUM
There’s a lot to like about Margarito’s chances on paper. He’s the larger man, stronger specimen and possibly the bigger puncher. However, it’s no secret that his footwork is mediocre, he’s not just a tad slower than Pacquiao he is significantly slower, and extremely predictable. The Mexican has a decent jab, but tends to not use it effectively or consistently, and throws wide punches, many times lunging at his opponents. He will need to get the Filipino star on the ropes to do damage, an area where Manny’s trainer Freddie Roach knows there’ll be considerable peril. Don’t expect him to spend much time in that vicinity, if it is up to him.
CAN EAT PUNCHES & WEAR GUYS OUT
The huge factor in this match is that for all the pressure that Margarito puts on his foes he eats a lot of punches trying to get his shots in. In his fight against Miguel Cotto (35-2, 28 KOs) in 2008 he took clean shot after clean shot in most of the early rounds. When Cotto, who is known to fade late in fights, had to stand and trade after his legs began to get weary from moving so much, the Mexican eventually stopped him in the 11th round. Against Paquaio he will be dealing with a fighter that’s got better footwork than Cotto, hits just as hard and is a southpaw. The Filipino also possesses amazing stamina. Manny’s superior defense to that of Cotto should be the difference here. He won’t be available to take the punishment because he will be dishing it out and getting away from the return fire.
LACK OF DEFENSE NOT HELPING MEXICAN HERE
It was extremely evident in the fight with Mosley that Margarito has defensive liabilities, some that may have been corrected, but habits that will be taken advantage of. He is regularly open for right hands, and from the southpaw stance that may be even more dangerous especially when you consider the speed and awkwardness of the Filipino’s style. One popular assessment is that although Margarito is touted for having an iron chin, he took considerable punishment in his two biggest fights (versus Mosley and Cotto) and as a result may be a spent bullet.
EX-CHAMP GARCIA NOW IN CORNER
The Mexican has the heart and courage to win the fight, I just don’t see how new trainer Roberto Garcia can turn an outright slugger into a boxer in two fights. Margarito who is about five inches taller than Pacquiao negates his size advantage by choosing to fight on the inside. If Tony was a better boxer it would be easier to institute a successful game plan, but if the plan is to just put pressure and rely on power and size he’s going to be waving shots at Pacman all night without doing the necessary damage to pull off an upset. Unless the Filipino’s reported distractions have diminished him to a level where he can’t keep Margarito off him for 12 rounds, I expect Pacquiao to weather what should be an early “Tornado” and cruise to a 12 round decision.
Kevin “KP” Perry