Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pacquiao vs. Margarito - Big Fights on the Horizon

With the November showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito getting ever closer, many are postulating on how much the latter has to offer at this stage of his career. Coming from a recent suspension and only one fight removed from a knockout loss, many assume that Antonio Margarito is past his best and that he doesn't have anything to trouble the surging Pacquiao.

What many are forgetting though is that Margarito already has six losses on his record, three to journeymen from early on in his career, one each to Daniel Santos, Paul Williams, and Shane Mosley. So a loss to the fighter regarded by many as the best in the sport isn't going to damage his standing in the sport so long as he gives a good account of himself.

By all accounts, both fighters are impressing in training, and both are promising a war. Pacquiao is overwhelming larger sparring partners brought in to mimic Margarito's size and height advantages. Margarito himself is training harder than ever, and knows this is probably his last chance to remain relevant in the upper echelons of the sport.

Assuming that Margarito gives Pacquiao a competitive fight, eventually losing but giving a good account of himself, then what does the future hold for both?

The obvious rematches to make after the Pacquiao bout, regardless of the outcome, are bouts against Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley, both of which deserve do overs after the extenuating circumstances surrounding the first fights.

It was just prior to the Mosley fight that Margarito was caught with tampered hand wraps, and his dismal performance against Mosley, who has looked decidedly average since, can partly be put down to a lack of focus during the fight. Mosley is a bad match up for Margarito stylistically, so this would be no walk in the park for Margarito even if Mosley has slipped lately, but it would keep one of them high enough in the rankings to make a case for bigger fights down the road.

The Cotto fight was not directly tainted by the incident and subsequent suspension, but many fans have also called into question parts of Margarito's record prior to the hand wrap scandal. The penultimate closest fight to which was a thrilling 11th round TKO over Miguel Cotto.

A rematch with the same result would remove all doubt as to whether or not Margarito was fighting within the rules that night, and might also allow him to capture the WBA junior middleweight title. If he can accomplish this before any of the rising stars rumored to be taking on Cotto get their chance, namely Vanes Martirosyan, Saul Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, then he should be in line to defend against one or more of them himself.

Middleweight king Sergio Martinez has also expressed interest in fighting Margarito again in the near future, which if he beats Paul Williams this year could give Margarito a shot at the lineal middleweight title as well. Not that that would be an easy fight by any means, but it would be lucrative and probably a lot more than Margarito was expecting after his suspension and the public outcry against him.

For Pacquiao, things are a lot more simple in that the fight everyone still wants to see is between himself and Floyd Mayweather, although whether Top Rank and Golden Boy will be willing to work together at the moment will have to remain to be seen.

Bob Arum is staying tight lipped on the matter, Richard Schaefer is saying he hopes something can be worked out, but with the legal battle going on over Pacquao at the moment it isn't clear whether he will ever face another Golden Boy fighter right now.

Mayweather and Pacquiao themselves have both said that they want the fight to happen, but it now hinges to some degree on Floyd's legal troubles as well as whether the difficulties of warring promoters can be overcome.

If that fight doesn't come off, again, then a rematch against Miguel Cotto is possible, as are bouts against the likes of Andre Berto or even a third bout against Juan Manuel Marquez.

The fact that Pacquiao is such a big draw means that everyone wants a piece of him, and that he can more or less choose who he wants to fight. Although of course other fellow Top Rank fighters always have to be considered the front runners.

Deon Phillips, Philly: "Boxing is better off without Floyd, he deserves to be banned of h gets convicted of beating up a woman and this isn't the first time he's done it either"

Sean Grayson, Pittsburgh: "If the Mayweather fight doesn't happen Pacquiao should just retire. He can't fight Martinez or Williams, the best light welters aren't ready and Cotto and Marquez are past it".



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