Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) and Antonio “Tijuana Tornado” Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs) are scheduled to fight for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight/WBC Light Middleweight title on Sunday, November 14 (Philippine time) at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Pacquiao fights for a record 8th world title in his 8th weight class and boxing god-like status.
Margarito, on the other hand, seeks redemption after a hand-wraps controversy and a 9th round TKO loss to Shane Mosley.
A lot of boxing fans believe Margarito’s one-year suspension should’ve been a lifetime ban.
They find PlasterGate incident was so gross that they’ve even labeled him “Margacheato.”
Boxing enthusiasts feel he doesn’t deserve a huge-ass payday of $3-6 million—his career’s biggest—and a shot at Pacman.
So why is Manny fighting Margarito? Because Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. ain’t available and Margarito is.
On a business standpoint, people disliking—okay, hating—Margarito so much works for everybody. Why? Because fans are willing to pay good money just to see Manny beat the cheater. So, financially, it’s a match!
Physically however, it’s a mismatch. Margarito has monster—a six-inch, to be exact!—advantage: He stands 5’11” over the 5’6 ½” Pinoy southpaw.
Given his size and the amount of training he's seen coming into this fight, Margarito can take in a great deal of punishment. If he uses his height and reach to his advantage, he will connect big shots.
A quick run of his credentials: He was WBO champ for five years, defended it seven times, and was three-time world champ. He’s knocked out 60 percent of his opponents versus Manny’s 67 KO percent.
Desperation can be Margarito's best motivation. He is seeking redemption so Margarito does have, though highly improbable, a chance of winning.
But then, there’s Manny. We all know Mexicans don’t sit well with “The Mexicutioner.” He’s the 6-to-1 odds favorite to win.
Manny is on a 12-fight winning streak; 8 of which ended in KOs. His resume boasts victories over 16 fighters with world titles, including Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Cotto.
Given Margarito’s animalistic hunger for redemption, and physical advantages, how can Manny win?
We say, Pacquiao’s exceptional speed paired with powerful punches can do the trick.
Thanks to his fast footwork, his small frame can throw punches from both hands on all angles. He has overall command of the ring. If he initiates the punch-exchange in the early rounds, he should be able to dictate the entire fight and then eventually dominate it.
We look at Margarito’s average bout-length at 5.3 rounds, and then at Pacquiao’s at 5.6.rounds, and then we listen to Freddie Roach’s prediction, that is an 8th round KO by Pacquiao and we make our fearless forecast: It’s Pacquiao via KO in the 6th round.
WORDS BY AIMEE MORALES
ILLUSTRATION BY FRANTZ ARNO SALVADOR