Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito Preview & Crystal Ball Prediction

November 13, 2010

When Manny Pacquiao and disgraced former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito square off Saturday in Dallas Cowboys Stadium, both conventional wisdom and sports betting odds will be overwhelmingly in favor of Pacquiao.

As most casual sports fans are now aware, Pacquiao is in the midst of a great winning streak, the likes of which the sports world in general, and boxing specifically, have not seen in quite some time.

During his twelve-fight, nearly 6-year winning streak, the newly appointed Congressman has defeated such big name challengers as Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Erik Morales.

On the flipside of the marquee, Margarito will be attempting to reverse Pacquiao's dominance over Mexican pugilists -- a daunting task for a boxer who has only fought twice in the last two years. To emerge from this fight victorious, the man known as the "Tijuana Tornado" will have to fight better than he ever has if he is to halt the wave PacMan currently is riding.

That task becomes even more difficult considering that he has lost two of his last six fights, the last defeat being a horrendously lopsided beating he suffered at the hands of aging warrior Sugar Shane Mosley.

All things considered however, the proverbial elephant in the room is the fact that this is not the Pacquiao Super Fight that sports fans wanted to see. That fight of course was the oft-discussed bout between the two preeminent pound-for-pound prizefighters in the world -- Pretty Boy Floyd Mayweather and the PacMan.

It is clear to anyone with eyes and ears that Pacquiao really wanted a Mayweather fight this November.

This factor cannot be ignored, despite claims to the contrary by all involved. In fact, it is one of the more intriguing of the many delicious subplots surrounding the fight: will the Mayweather fallout produce a lack of motivation for Pacquiao because he will be fighting his Plan B opponent?

Or, will it serve as the perfect motivating factor for the tough-as-nails Margarito, who was a mere afterthought and consolation prize when the Mayweather negotiations collapsed.

Without further adieu, here is the breakdown of what each man must do to win the fight, followed by what will actually transpire in the ring on Saturday night:

What Margarito Must Do To Win The Fight

Margarito is best described as a straight forward fighter. There is not even the slightest hint of subtlety in his game, as he is about as one-dimensional as they get. That being said, Margarito's forward-pressing, attacking style is actually both his greatest weapon and his most glaring weakness.

What this means for Pacquiao is that he can safely bet on Margarito unleashing a constant barrage of punches -- both to the head and downstairs to the body, for he is a body puncher of some renown. In fact, expect the fight at times to quickly turn into a toe-to-toe slugging match right in the middle of the ring.

This would seem to favor the much larger, heavier, and longer Margarito because in most slugging matches, the bigger, stronger guy usually wins. However, should they fight at distance and not in the corner or up against the ropes, then the infinitely swifter and more skilled Pacquiao will hold a decided advantage over his Mexican adversary.

For an all-out attack style fighter such as Margarito (and to a lesser extent, Pacquiao), the one requisite to be successful is an unquestionably tough chin, since this style dictates that one will indeed get hit while coming face-forward.

If we are to judge Margarito by his record on paper, he undoubtedly has one of the toughest chins in boxing, having suffered only one knockout loss to Mosley.

With Margarito, it is plain to see that his success is rooted in his ability to persevere through punishment while dishing out shots to his opponents. He essentially is a plodder, a grinder, and a body-punching pressure fighter of the first order.

Margarito would be wise to try and exploit his distinct advantage in size by roughing up the smaller Pacquiao, but not in the traditional sense. Most conventional wisdom would seem to dictate that Margarito should use his 6" reach advantage to box Pacquiao on the outside, keeping the smaller man on the end of his punches. However, Margarito has not fought that way in the past, and don't expect him to start now.

Instead, he will do his best to pressure Pacquiao, cut off the ring, and pound away at the PacMan's body, arms, hips, ribs, thighs, and even kidneys. In essence, Margarito must try and make this an ugly, all-out brawl, as this gives him his best chance at utilizing his superior size, while simultaneously negating Pacman's huge advantage in speed.

As if Margarito needed any more fuel for his fire, he will be fighting in front of "La Raza," his many Mexican fans. By all accounts Margarito is a highly motivated man, fighting to regain his honor and prove his critics wrong. Undoubtedly, Margarito is coming out with a chip, if not a boulder, on his shoulder, ready to reclaim his good name as a proud warrior among the boxing elite.

What Pacquiao Must Do To Win

First the obvious: Manny Pacquiao will be heading in to this fight as the prohibitive favorite, and rightfully so. Quite simply, the PacMan is the much better, more skilled fighter. Since connecting with Freddie Roach 7 years ago, he has become increasingly more polished and well-rounded as a fighter.

However, Roach has noted that as Pacquiao's accomplishments in the ring have grown, so too has his celebrity and distractions. In fact, there has been no shortage of stories during the fight buildup describing how those distractions have had an adverse effect on Pacquiao's training camp.

The question on most minds has been whether these stories were actually accurate, or whether they were simply manufactured from the Bob Arum and Top Rank hype machine in an attempt to sell publicity for a fight many believe will be one-sided.

This writer believes that although the distractions were indeed real and not imagined, Manny Pacquiao is the rarest of fighters who is able to smile, laugh, and seemingly act silly and disinterested in training, yet still show up on fight night ready, willing, and able to wage war.

As has been the case in the last 6 fights for the Fighting Pride of the Phillipines, much of the pre-fight talk amongst experts has been whether Team Pacquiao has finally bitten off more than their fighter can chew in surrendering so much size, strength, weight, and height to their opponent. As we all know, Pacman has been able to overcome this size disparity using superior timing, ring generalship, and of course, his blistering handspeed.

But, this fight could prove to be different. Margarito is a full 5'11" and has been fighting at welterweight and above for most of his career. Margarito also has a 73" wingspan, and will probably enter the ring on Saturday night at or above 160 pounds.

Pacquiao is 5′6½″ with a 67" wingspan. He began his professional fighting career as a 106-pound junior flyweight in 1995. This will be just his fourth contest campaigning at a weight above 140 pounds.

To those who point out Pacquiao's sensational victories over larger men, know this: a good big man almost always beats a good smaller man.

Indeed, there is good reason why boxing has assigned weight classes, and that reason is that people who are taller and heavier more often than not have a distinct size and strength advantage over their opponents. At the highest level of boxing, a person's height and weight will make a huge difference during the course of 12 rounds.

As further evidence of this fact, look no further than Pacquiao's sage trainer Freddie Roach, who did not hesitate in turning down a proposed fight against 6'2" southpaw Paul "The Punisher" Williams. Roach he essentially stated that Williams was simply too tall and too long of an opponent for Pacquiao.

But for some reason -- known only to those in Pacquiao's inner circle -- Team Pacquiao was unflappably confident and more than willing to fight the "Tijuana Tornado."

That brings us to another important aspect of the fight -- the trainers in each respective corner.

Margarito's trainer, Roberto Garcia of Oxnard, is no slouch, as he has trained or is currently training such notable fighters as Vicious Victor Ortiz, Brandon Rios, and former 154-pound champ Fernando Vargas. There are many in the fight game who already consider Garcia an elite trainer, but he only recently joined forces with Margarito. As a result, Garcia and Margarito simply cannot match the vast amount of trust that Manny and Freddie have with each other.

What Will Happen

Out of all the numerous media pieces on Pacquaio in recent weeks, one of the more revealing moments came in a 60 Minutes profile when Pacquiao spoke about his duties as a congressman and openly pondered whether or not he would ever seek the presidency of the Philippines. Pacquiao would also state that he had accomplished all of his goals in boxing.

That might be a good thing for Manny, except for the fact that Antonio Margarito has not accomplished all of his boxing goals, and is clearly hungry for redemption. In fact, Margarito is on a mission.

Everyone knows Pacquiao's goal is to eventually fight Mayweather and settle once and for all the tedious debate over who deserves to be the pound-for-pound king. But if he falls against Margarito, that fight will probably not happen, and all the hype will be for naught.

In other words, if Pacquiao puts so much thought and energy into his mythical GOAT fight against Mayweather, he might miss the battering ram named Margarito charging at him full speed.

The scary thing is that there's a very real possibility that such a scenario could happen.

Margarito is not going to spend his evening covering up and running away from Pacquiao’s relentless attack because Margarito fights in a similar manner and is the stronger man. Look for Margarito to jump on Pacquiao from the opening bell in an attempt to impose his will on his smaller opponent and establish control of the fight.

At the same time, look for Pacquiao to use the identical strategy, meeting Margarito's pressure with pressure of his own, similar to how he vanquished Mexican adversaries Erik "El Terrible" Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.

Neither of these men has ever shown anything resembling a reverse gear, so expect each man to press forward, turning this fight into a toe-to-toe slugfest, trading blows relentlessly by about the second or third round.

In a war, it’s the man who wants it more who wins, and based on the evidence presented, Margarito might just want it more.

He knows everybody is counting him out.

He knows that most believe the "MargaCheato" moniker is well deserved, and that even more feel he should have been stripped of his boxing license permanently or perhaps criminally prosecuted.

Margarito knows that while Pacquiao is revered and beloved by most, he is reviled by all outside of Mexico, as many of his critics do not think he deserves the second chance that he received.

The fact that he and stablemate Brandon Rios were recently caught on film distastefully mocking the Parkinson-afflicted Freddie Roach, certainly did nothing to endear himself to the general public.

However, the one saving grace for Mr. Margarito could be that Pacquiao appears to be taking him lightly, as indicated by his flight to Vegas in the middle of training camp.

There will undoubtedly come a time in this fight where Margarito, exhausted and spent from the frenetic fighting pace that the Filipino Flash forces him to maintain, will reach his physical limitations.

It is at that point where the "disrespect" factor can be used as extra fuel for the fire. Margarito is a truly proud proud man, and a Mexican Warrior in the truest sense of the term. Moreover, he has something to prove, and is an infinitely more dangerous fighter, despite his limited skill set in the ring. If Pacquiao has indeed been taking him lightly, he will find out that he is in for a real fight with a live dog -- quick, fast, and in a hurry.

That being said, Manny Pacquiao is many things. A congressman, philanthropist, a terribly inept singer, and a sporting icon. Above all else, Manny Pacquaio is also a born fighter.

When tested, he only knows one way to respond.

Fearless Crystal Ball Prediction

After being rocked and standing on wobbly legs on two separate occasions from brutal uppercuts and left hooks to the body in rounds 4 and 6, Pacquiao storms back, and during one of many furious two-way exchanges, catches Margarito with a picture perfect counter right-straight left combo. The combination rocks and drops Margarito.

After the knockdown, Pacquiao pours it on, eventually prompting the disgraced former champ's corner to throw in the towel just before the end of the bell, in either round 7 or 8, for the TKO stoppage.

Manny Pacquiao maintains his spot atop the prestigous Daily Sports Herald's Pound-for-Pound rankings with another thrilling victory, leaving only one remaining question . . .

Who will be Pacquiao's running mate in the near future? A politician running on the same ticket as the PacMan in the next Filipino Presidential election?

Or perhaps a certain Mr. Mayweather, circling him around the ring in a springtime mega-fight?

By Kweku Turkson
Staff Reporter for


  1. Can't wait for Margarito to go down. PBF, you can't run forever!

  2. good rite up , biggup pac-man !! MABUHAY PHILIPINAS!!!1


We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...