By Lamar Sparkman
The speculation is over and the date is set, Manny Pacquiao will be facing Antonio Margarito on November 13th at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX. After being denied a boxing license in California; the state that revoked them last year after he was found to have a hard plaster-like substance in his hand wraps before a welterweight fight with Shane Mosley, the Texas Dept of Licensing and Regulation has granted him a license.
Ever since Bob Arum announced he would attempt to make a fight with Margarito after a second attempt at a Mayweather/Pacquiao fight fell apart there has been an enormous amount of outrage from boxing fans and a lot of dissent from writers. Some believe Margarito’s year long suspension wasn’t harsh enough while others believe he should be able to fight but not against Pacquiao for what will the biggest payday of his career.
I for one have no problem with him being licensed again in the U.S. He did go back to California for a reinstatement hearing as he was instructed and even though he protests his innocence in not knowing what was being put in his hand wraps he did serve his year long suspension. Its been 18 months and he’s fought once, that being a fight this past May against Roberto Garcia in Mexico and won a 10 round UD.
On the other hand I do have a problem with this fight on many levels; for one it’s a catch weight fight for a vacant WBC junior middleweight belt (154lbs). Once again Pacquiao is getting a shot at a title in a weight class he’s never fought in as he did at lightweight against David Diaz and junior welterweight against Ricky Hatton. Margarito fought at 154 in May against a C class opponent but he hadn’t fought in that weight class since 2004 so why do they get to pass over all the other fighters ranked in the division. Secondly it will be at a catch weight of 151 or 152 pounds, I know its been done throughout the history of boxing but there’s a reason they have weight classes and these fights make them irrelevant because the fighters will jump around collecting belts rather than campaign in a division to see who’s the best. Thirdly, by fight night it will be Margarito’s second fight in nearly 19 months and he looked very sluggish in May and I see this fight looking similar to Manny’s fight with Oscar where he moves in and out throwing quick combinations peppering him with pin point shots that will have his face bruised and beat up. Michael Rosenthal of ringtv.com said it best, “Imagine a man walking into the whirling propeller of a plane. That’s what’s in store for Margarito.” I think that’s about as accurate a picture you could paint for this fight. There will be a substantial size and reach advantage but the disparity in skill and speed are so great that I don’t think it applies to this fight.
I’ve heard many fans say they will boycott this fight which I’ve heard before with fights that were not appealing but ended up doing decent numbers and the fact that Manny is the p4p king and there’s no other big fights scheduled for fall people will buy the PPV if only to watch Margarito get the butt whooping they feel he deserves. I will end up begrudgingly watching this fight just for the 5% chance that something unimaginable happens but I won’t be happy knowing that Bob Arum has pulled another bank robbery putting his fighters against each other to keep the money in house at the expense of the hard paying customers and the sport. There’s other fighters that deserve this shot and would be more compelling even though Top Rank will sell the fight as competitive. Until we wise up, put our foot down and keep our money in our pockets, Promoters will continue to keep business as usual and the fans will be the losers.
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