Pacquiao to take on Antonio Margarito!

July 25, 2010 in Boxing by pacejmiller

It’s official: Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather Jr is dead — at least for 2010.

After the negotiations for the biggest fight of the decade between the pound-for-pound champs fell through (again), it has now been decided that Pacquiao will now take on disgraced cheater Antonio Margarito, preferably in Las Vegas on 13 November 2010 (provided Margarito can get licensed, or else it may have to be in Mexico).  The fight will take place at 154 pounds, giving Pacquiao the opportunity to win a world title in an unprecedented 8th weight class.

Look, boxing fans around the world have every right to be furious with this outcome.  I don’t want to go over this again (read here) but the entire Pacquiao-Mayweather thing has become a total farce.  First it was the drug testing, then it was the gagged negotiations that appeared to be finalising, then it was the “deadline”, and then it was the denial that negotiations ever took place.  Whatever the reason for the fight between the two best boxers in the world not being made, it doesn’t matter anymore — they should all be ashamed of themselves.

But it’s not just the disappointing fact that Pacquiao-Mayweather isn’t happening that has me all riled up.  It’s the fact that Pacquiao will now be taking on Margarito instead.

Antonio Margarito?  Really?  The cheater?

It’s slightly more interesting than the alternative, which is a Pacquiao-Cotto rematch, simply because Pacquiao has already shredded Cotto, and Margarito (5’11” with 73″ reach) is so much bigger than Pacquiao (5’6.5″ with 67″ reach).  But Margarito doesn’t even deserve to be in the ring after being discovered carrying illegal hand wraps in his bout with Shane Mosley last year.  And do I even need to mention that Mosley knocked out Margarito in that fight and that since then the cheater has not looked anywhere close to the feared fighter he was back when he battered Cotto into submission (probably because he was also cheating back then)?  Oh, and Margarito can’t even get licensed to fight in the US after the hand wrap debacle?

I believe despite the size difference, the matchup will still heavily be in Pacquiao’s favour (provided he hasn’t lost a step or any focus since being elected to Congress) simply because of his overwhelming advantage in hand and foot speed.  Margarito is the plodding type, which plays right into the Filipino buzzsaw’s hands.  As long as Pacquiao can avoid being tagged by a big shot (he proved against Cotto he could take a few hits), he’ll be able to slide in and out of range and blast Margacheato into a beehive.  If he couldn’t take Shane Mosley’s speed (and telegraphed overhand right), there’s no reason to think he could manage Pacquiao’s.

Nevertheless, let’s face it — the only reason these two are facing each other is because of the cowardice of Floyd Mayweather Jr and the greed of the repulsive Bob Arum of Top Rank.

Mayweather was in the perfect position to take on Pacquiao (who had apparently agreed to blood testing procedures that were “acceptable” to the Mayweather camp, assuming those negotiations took place at all) but wimped out without offering any logical reason or explanation.

Okay, so Mayweather is out of the picture (at least for now) — but that doesn’t mean there’s no worthy opponent out there for Pacquiao.  Arum only offered two alternatives — Cotto and Margarito — just because they are also promoted by Top Rank, which means greedy Arum gets to keep all the money in house.

Arum offered a bunch of totally lame and transparent excuses for Pacquiao not even considering taking on another fighter (which really includes any top boxer between 140 and 154 pounds — Timothy Bradley, Andre Berto, Paul Williams and heck, even Shane Mosley), but we all know the true reason Pacquiao is not taking on someone more worthy.  If Pacquiao can fight the virtually unknown Joshua Clottey, then he can take on any of those guys mentioned above and make it a bigger fight than against Margarito or Cotto.

That said, I’m still going to be watching on November 13.  Darn it.