Margarito not an easy opponent
By Sid Ventura
Special to Yahoo! Southeast Asia
So it’s final: there will be no megafight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. for Manny Pacquiao, at least not this year. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports wrote that Pacquiao is booked to fight Antonio Margarito on November 13 at a venue still to be determined.
If Pacquiao wins, he will annex the World Boxing Council (WBC) super middleweight title at 154 pounds, although boxingscene.com is reporting that the title match will be fought at a catchweight of 150 pounds. In an earlier blog, I had written that anything less than a Mayweather fight for Pacquiao would be a waste of everyone’s time, and I still believe this.
But since Mayweather’s camp won’t cooperate, we’re now stuck with Margarito, the Mexican fighter who was caught with a foreign substance in his hand wraps prior to his bout with Shane Mosley in January 2009. From a box-office standpoint, this is a big letdown. Everyone who’s even casually followed boxing wanted to see Pacquiao-Mayweather.
But from a boxing standpoint, Margarito isn’t gonna be easy pickings. Pacquiao will still be the prohibitive favorite, no doubt, but he likely won’t be as dominating as he was against Miguel Cotto. At 5’11″, Margarito will easily be Pacquiao’s tallest opponent ever, even taller than Oscar Dela Hoya. The Golden Boy was badly outclassed by Pacman, but it’s worth noting that he never went down. And aside from being taller, Margarito also has a six-inch reach advantage.
Pacquiao and Margarito have fought and defeated two common opponents: Cotto and Joshua Clottey. Both TKO’d Cotto in the latter rounds, Margarito in 11 and Pacquiao in 12. Cotto actually dominated Margarito early on, but the Mexican came back strong in the latter half, battering Cotto almost at will until the Puerto Rican just gave up and took a knee.
The manner by which Margarito turned the tide in that fight bordered on the incredible, and when those illegal substances were found in his hand wraps prior to the Mosley fight, not a few people openly questioned whether he also had this unfair advantage against Cotto. Nothing was ever proven, though.
This is why I’ve been harping on Bob Arum to arrange a rematch between Cotto and Margarito first. It would settle the issue once and for all.
Pacquiao, of course, also had his way with Cotto, knocking him down in the third and fourth rounds before Cotto’s corner threw in the towel in the 12th. After those twin knockdowns, Cotto got on his bicycle and backpedalled for the rest of the rounds until that fateful 12th.
Now, for their fights against the Ghanaian Clottey, whom they both defeated by unanimous decision, I noticed something unusual. For some reason, both Pacquiao and Margarito threw over a thousand punches. I guess there’s something about Clottey’s style that makes you want to try and hit him non-stop.
We all remember how Pac-Man threw an almost inhuman 1,231 punches against Clottey in their March 2010 fight, which comes out to around 100 per round or 33 per minute. I thought that was impressive, until I found out that the all-time record on CompuBox for one fight was 1,675 held by — you guessed it — Margarito. His opponent? None other than Clottey. That’s around 140 per round, or around 47 per minute. It should be noted, though, that Clottey hurt his hand in the fifth round, thus forcing him to be on defensive mode.
Of course, these stats don’t necessarily mean that Pacquiao-Margarito will be a non-stop punch-fest (although it would be great if they do). Yes, Clottey was injured against Margarito, but either way the Ghanaian is always such an inviting target because of his counter-punching style and tendency to cover up rather than attack.
Let’s make one thing clear, though: I think this fight is a waste of time for Pacquiao. It’s high-risk, low-reward. But since it’s practically a done deal already, then I say Manny should at least beat him in style and do what no other fighter has managed to do: knock out Margarito inside of six rounds.
Reposted From Sid Ventura Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia