Pacquiao vs. Margarito: Speed and Technique vs. Physical Size and Pressure

By Paul Strauss: First of all, don't you wonder, at least a little bit, why Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao and Freddie Roach agreed to this fight in the first place? The fight is scheduled for November 13th, 2010 at Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX? Potentially, it's a dangerous fight, and one with little ground to be gained by Manny. Who really gives a hoohah about another meaningless belt or title anyway? If Manny beats Antonio "The Express Train" Margarito, as most believe he will, what will it prove? Certainly there will be those gushing over the fact that Margarito was Manny's biggest opponent to date, and how tough Tony had been over the course of his career. But, you know the post fight glory will quickly tarnish with comments that the Pac Man beat a post-Mosley Margarito, and not the real Tijuana Tornado terror that demolished Cintron and Cotto and appeared unbeatable. It seems that Manny, Freddie and Bob Arum are once again determined to stick it to Mayweather by saying, "We're moving on." This time it's another big live crowd and a lot of $55 PPV's. They already demonstrated they can do it with the Clottey fight. It too was a potentially dangerous one, but was made relatively harmless for Manny when Clottey failed to live up to his biblical namesake Joshua who succeeded Moses and conquered Canaan For Manny it was a frustratingly tough fight, and for fans it was a boring fight. More importantly, what did it prove?

For Margarito this fight is a chance for redemption. At least that's what he believes, because he sees a victory over the P4P best will prove to fans that he is a great fighter and a clean fighter. However, there's no chance an upset win on his part will change the public's preception of him as a cheater. No matter how hard he tries to deny any knowledge of wrongdoing, it's just not going to wash. However, a victory over the Pac Man will thrust him back into the limelight, and place him in a position for another huge payday. Several possibilities suggest themselves such as a rematch with Cotto; although, Cotto should stick to his guns and says no thanks. What about a big rematch with Williams, or Martinez if Sergio beats the Punisher?. Maybe both guys if their rematch is another great close fight. There's plenty of other guys too, like Berto, Angulo, and Kirkland. Of course, there's even the possibility of a fight with the elusive one - Mayweather. If Floyd doesn't have to flee from legal problems, then he will be drooling over that one, because in his view he could make Margarito look foolish, and take care of the conquerer of Pac Man all in one night.

Before jumping ahead too far, it's wise to look at some of the numerous questions leading into this fight. For example, has the Tornado dissipated? Freddie Roach seems to think so. Freddie boldly predicts a knockout within eight rounds, to which Antonio chuckles and asks, "What makes you think so? Do you think I'm crippled or something?" Freddie simply responds by saying, "I've seen your last two fights!" Ouch! Well, the Tijuana Tornado didn't seem to be so intimidating after that comment, but of course he wasn't wearing gloves.

Antonio and his camp seem supremely confident in the fact that Antonio is so much bigger, and is able to take the punches of hard hitting junior middleweights and middleweights. They feel his granite chin and intimating style will be the difference. After all, Margarito is 5' 11" with a 73" reach, as opposed to Manny, who is maybe 5' 6" with a 67" reach. Tony will also enjoy at least a ten to fifteen pound weight advantage, which means more when you equate it to the natural skeletal structure. Manny's weight will have been achieved by force feeding himself about 7000 calories per day just to maintain a weight of about 148lbs. After rehydrating, Tony will most likely weigh closer to a natural 165 lbs by the opening bell.

But, the experts and fans aren't convinced. They've seen what the little Pac Man can do to bigger men. Some also point out that Tony is currently undergoing a lot of physical stress and strain trying to get and keep his weight down, and will lose strength and stamina because of it. They further believe it's something he won't be able to regain in one day by simply rehydrating. Whereas, Manny is undergoing a carefully structured and controlled diet that is providing necessary fuel and healthful benefits to his expertly conditioned body. Critics of Manny point out that when Juan Manuel Marquez was preparing for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr., he thought the same thing.

More importantly, experts and fans seriously question whether Antonio might be making a big mental mistake. In fact, some contend that he might be playing right into Manny's hands by going into the fight with the simple goal of trying to prove how tough he is and throwing caution to the wind. Antonio's camp is so confident that they claim to not even have bothered to formulate any kind of game plan, other than the most basic. They feel Tony will be able to use his jab and force Manny backwards and up against the ropes, which will enable Tony to unleash his hooks and uppercuts. They saw Clottey land a few effective shots, and take solace in the hope that a tough, aggressive fighter like Tony will be able to do much more damage. They claim to understand that Tony knows he will get clipped with some sharp right hooks and straight lefts from Manny, but they feel Tony will be able to weather them and wear down the Pacman and then knock him out. They express little concern about Pacman's speed or technique. They also place little or no importance in reports about Manny injured his heel, or rumors that he's not training hard. They choose to dismiss such claims, and feel Manny will present himself in tip top shape on fight night. They also imply it will make no difference!

Manny and Freddie, on the other hand, feel Tony will be playing right into their hands. They saw how effective Mosley was in taking away Tony's aggression by turning it against him. First, "Sugar" Shane Mosley had Tony running right into his hard jab, which often was thrust straight and hard into the pit of Tony's stomach, not the head. That in itself slowed up Tony. Shane continued to frustrate him by beating him to the punch with right hands to the body, which kept Tony's left occupied with defense, as opposed to his usual method of throwing hooks to the body. Another point Manny and Freddie picked up on was Mosley's decision to move inside, instead of out like Cotto. By doing so, Mosley avoided being trapped against the ropes and he either smothered or momentarily tied up Tony, keeping him from letting go with those body shots and uppercuts. They also feel that Tony has never fought anyone with Manny's kind of speed and movement. They know Tony will attempt to keep Manny from moving to his right by first throwing right hands up top, and then sliding to his left to corral the smaller man. But by doing so, Tony can expect to be eating some hard straight left hands that will find him leaning in and to his left. Then Manny will be able to move to his right anyway, and make use of his right hooks to the head and body. Freddie and Manny believe that soon Tony will think he's being attacked by a pack of wolves, ripping first here, and then there, with a continual increase in pain. They envision the express train will break down, and the fighter formerly known as a tornado will be gasping for air. In their eyes, his lengthy frame and long arms will be reaching out in desperation like a wounded animal. Then, the way they they foretell it, the end will be near.

Article posted on 21.10.2010

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