Antonio Margarito: Why I'm Starting To Dislike Him As A Boxer

10.11.06 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: Well, perhaps the title is a bit misleading, since I can’t fathom ever really disliking any boxer, seeing as I can even handle John Ruiz, but this Margarito aura crap has to stop. Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been around for years, amateur and professional, and to carry on about how he is scared of Antonio Margarito, at least to me, is ridiculous. As I have said before, the word “fear,” in the world of professional boxing, is very misleading because if off the street bums are not afraid to be dusted by the best why would somebody who is much stronger?

If played right, a loss can be marketed just as well as a crappy win, anyway, since it shows the guy has balls to fight whoever, so fear is not the issue. Floyd Mayweather, in part, due to his skill, and in part due to our fan support (which he sometimes forgets), and huge TV deals, has gotten to the pinnacle of professional boxing. Everyone wants a fight with him and Antonio Margarito is just not at the top of that list. Is Margarito a good fighter?

Possibly, I have yet to see enough of him, but that is irrelevant because he is just not as popular as some of the other people who Mayweather could fight for more recognition and dollars. Hoya, Mosley, Cotto, and maybe even Wright are much bigger boxing names then Margarito, and it doesn’t matter if Margarito is better then them or not. The best way for Margarito, or his hype machine, to get Mayweather into the ring is to fight a high profile guy and beat him convincingly. Why?

Simple, because Mayweather has already done that a couple of times. If the tables were reversed, Margarito or the people around him would be doing the same thing. For instance, if anyone remembers my interview with Roman Karmazin and his response regarding the cancellation of the De La Hoya fight, even he did not believe he was being ducked. If Mayweather can go out and fight Brusseles and other bums of that nature after having proved himself, and get HBO to televise it, we may not like it, and we sure as hell may criticize him for it but we would probably do the same in his place.

The reason Margarito wants the fight is to make some good money, win or lose, and on the 50/50 (or 80-20 in my book) chance he wins, do the same thing Mayweather is doing now. In other words, Margarito wants to dictate the type of course his career takes. As it so happens, Mayweather has some freedom in this regard, while Margarito does not, which is why he, or his team probably launch these attack ads.

Let's be a little honest here. Mayweather has not come close to losing to the types of guys Margarito has lost to. Larry Dixon? Victor Lozoya? Sure, he had issues with getting the type of grooming Mayweather did, I mean he probably grew up poorer then PBF, and couldn’t get the same opportunities that Mayweather did, but remember, relatively speaking, that is why Mayweather took greater risks, and why he is in a position to ignore Margarito now.

As it stands, Margarito needs Mayweather, while Mayweather does not need Margarito, and if he retires now, history will be kind to him, anyway. This is precisely why if Margarito wants to do something he should beat somebody like a Cotto to make the fight more enticing.

Now the reason I mention Cotto is because that is precisely who I think can cause Mayweather those Castillo1 like problems. Those who read my pre fight predictions for the Baldomir fight, and some of the post fight reports about Mayweather’s hand problems yet again, know I was not surprised by Mayweather’s hand problems. Brittle hands and cement heads just do not mix. Miguel Cotto while an honest underdog does have one key strength that can help in a potential Mayweather fight.

Cotto is an absolute savage with guys who block shots. I have seen about 4 or 5 fights of his, including the one against Abdullaev, and Branco bouts, where he just decimates everything in the way of his punch, glove, shoulder and all. For his part, before Arturo Gatti got decimated by Mayweather, he mentioned doing what I think would have been a wise strategy by jabbing Mayweather’s shoulder. What’s more, is if a fighter were to commit to hitting Mayweather on the gloves and on the wrists and forearms, especially if he packed a punch, he could accomplish something in this regard. Most of the fighters Mayweather has fought have tried punching him clean in the head rather then being aggressive with the part to be hit in his body. This is partly why, in conjunction with those busted Floyd hands, Castillo had a measure of success because he was aggressive but not only looking to land flush.

Furthermore, Cotto has the ability to fight with a guard that can allow straight punches to get through, but can move forward anyway, and that is where he can really cause damage to PBF’s hands. Straight punches are Mayweather’s best weapon, but they are also what can hurt his hands the most, especially if his opponent is moving forward as Mayweather delivers them.

While Mayweather is versatile enough to compensate or foresee this outcome, at some point if Cotto can adequately execute this tactic, I feel plans will go out the window.

Still, if Margarito can defeat Cotto, as seemingly apparent by the lead up of them being on the same Showtime card, perhaps he does have more then just a really annoying fan club? In fact, dare I say more annoying then the Klitschko fan club of old? Part of the reason why the Klitschko brothers were, and to some degree are still hated so much, is the rabid “everyone is afraid of Klitschko” fans who dominated every boxing related outlet on the net and out of normal world. Who can forget the Lewis is afraid of Wlad topics which circulated widely until Corrie Sanders embarrassed many of the authors of such threads?

Let this be fair warning to you Margarito fans, be humble and let your man prove, or keep proving, himself in the ring before you start calling more accomplished fighters, “cowards,” or “afraid of fighting him. That is not coming from a Mayweather fan, either. I just don’t want the Margarito folks to put their foot in their mouth more then Floyd has already done with his foot and his mouth over the years, because its possible then Margarito won’t have that humble, Cinderella man’s sympathy in case the fight is made.

Article posted on 11.11.2006

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