Prediction: Pacquiao vs Margarito

November 11, 2010 in Boxing by pacejmiller

I know a lot of people are disappointed that the much anticipated Pacquiao-Mayweather fight did not come to fruition, but fortunately on 13 November 2010, we still have an intriguing boxing match to watch between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito.

As with all of Pacquiao’s recent fights, I’ll be throwing in my two cents worth, though this will be a straight up analysis of the two fighters and what they bring to the table. Margarito might not be a deserving opponent because of the hand wrap scandal, but it is what it is, and I’d like to leave it at that.

The fight will take place at Cowboy Stadium in Dallas, where Pacquiao last dominated a timid Joshua Clottey in front of 50000+ people. This will be a catch weight bout at 150 pounds, even though Margarito’s junior middleweight title (which usually has a limit of 154 pounds) will be on the line.

Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs) is coming off a unanimous victory over Roberto Garcia in May, whereas Pacquiao’s (51-3-2, 38 KOs) unanimous decision over Clottey was in March. Margarito is going into his second fight with new trainer Roberto Garcia [Cortez] (yes, almost the same name as the guy he cast beat!), while Pacquaio has been with Freddie Roach for what seems like forever.

Both fighters had solid training camps, though Pacquiao’s camp supposedly had a few distractions because of his congressional duties in the Philippines and the usual craziness that surrounds the man wherever he goes. Roach went as far as calling it the worst training camp Pacquiao’s ever had, but both trainer and fighter claim that things are back on track and that they are 100% prepared.

On fight night, it is likely that the nearly six foot Margarito will enter the ring at between 160-162 pounds, whereas the under five foot seven Pacquiao will likely be around 148 pounds.

With these factors in mind, I’m still going to predict that Pacquiao will defeat Margarito by TKO within the first eight rounds. I don’t necessarily see Pacquiao knocking him down, but I do see the referee stopping the fight because of the relentless pounding that Pacquiao is known to dish to his opponents.

Despite this bold prediction, I must admit I am not entirely comfortable with it. As with almost every Pacquiao bout since David Diaz, I always feel as though something might go wrong — as in Pacquiao may have finally bitten off more than he can chew — but to date he has continued to prove me wrong.  Perhaps this could be the time?

Source: sportales.com

I don’t really buy into the distracted training camp business for Pacquiao, but what I am concerned about is the massive height and weight disparity. Yes, Pacquiao has fought the equally tall Oscar de la Hoya before, but that was at just 145 pounds, whereas Margarito will not be weight drained and have a good 10-15 pound weight advantage on fight night. Accordingly, with Margarito’s ‘come forward’, attacking style and his reputable chin, I can certainly see a scenario where he might be troubled by Pacquiao’s movement and speed, but he will also end up landing his fair share of punches. And if just one of those punches hurts Pacquiao, the much smaller man, the fight could be over in a hurry.

Speaking of speed, Pacquiao clearly has a massive foot and hand advantage over his opponent, but Margarito is not as slow as some people paint him out to be. He throws a lot of punches in relentless combinations, and it will be foolish to think he doesn’t at least stand a puncher’s chance.

The main reason people have written Margarito off is because he was mauled by a 37 year old Shane Mosley, who was made to look pretty quick, and Pacquiao is even faster, perhaps by a fair margin. Further, his most notable victory against Miguel Cotto is now questionable because of the hand wrap scandal.

However, people tend to forget that the Mosley loss was at welterweight, meaning Margarito was likely weight drained, and more importantly, his mind must have been all over the place after what happened in the dressing room. It’s certainly not an excuse for the brutal loss, but it does leave a question mark over whether Margarito was operating at full capacity. On the other hand, Margarito’s return bout against Garcia was not exactly dominating, so perhaps I’m not giving Mosley or Margarito’s hand wraps enough credit!

Don’t forget, after the De la Hoya fight, when Freddie Roach was asked about a potential fight with Margarito he dismissed it outright, saying the Mexican was too big for Manny and that they knew their limits.  Could this come back to haunt him?

Ultimately, I think if Pacquiao can stick to Roach’s meticulous gameplan (as he usually does), he should be able to win easily.  I presume we will see a slightly more cautious Margarito in the earlier rounds because he’ll be gauging Manny’s speed and try to wear him down so that he can take him out in the later rounds.  As long as Pacquiao uses his trademark speed, stay off the ropes, keeping turning his man and go in and out all night, he should be able to pepper Margarito into a beehive with his rapid-fire combinations.  But if he thinks he can trade blows with Margarito or lay against the ropes like he did at times against Cotto, I think it could prove to be a fatal mistake.

Both boxers are relentless offensively, so it should be a very entertaining fight.  The question is, win or lose, will this be Pacquiao’s last (especially if Mayweather goes to prison for a few years?)?