Superbowl del Boxeo is what the Mexican boxing magazine, Boxeo La Vista, has tagged this promotion.
Not exactly a poetic amalgamation of tongues this combination of Spanish mixed in with an American original euphemism that has become the crown jewel of a multi billion dollar business, the NFL.
Spanish and English are among the most poetic of languages, and boxing can be among the most poetic of sports, but any poetry in this matchup will have to be found in the rhythmic sounds of abrupt combination impacts of gloved fists slamming into faces and soft body tissues.
The Superbowl of Boxing is an apt translation of Pacquiao vs Margarito given the kill or be kill nature of the way the fight is likely to unfold. The shiny new billion dollar domed wonder, the Dallas Cowboy Stadium, is the venue as well as coincidentally the site of the next Superbowl, although Top Rank has tagged the promotion more simply as Pacquiao/Margarito.
Pacquiao attempts to win a record setting 8th divisional world title with the vacant WBC junior middleweight belt up for grabs. There is a catch however, that catch being a catchweight being imposed on Margarito of 150, 151, or 152lbs, I’ve heard all three numbers being bandied about. Regardless, the catchweight adds to what is already a controversial fight in many quarters, a fight which seems to be gathering strength much as a hurricane sitting out in the Gulf of Mexico before it makes landfall to sweep over the populace with deadly force.
I’ve also heard whispers of a limited rehydration clause in the contract for Margarito, something that first surfaced when Pacquiao first fought Oscar de la Hoya. I can live with the idea of a reasonable catchweight, but limiting rehydration would be very disturbing if true.
Make no mistake, Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito are two of the most seriously trained ring assassins in the game regardless of what anyone may think of their matchup. Every fighter who has ever existed had weaknesses to offset their strengths, and savvy managers, matchmakers and promoters have made and lost fortunes with the selections and conditions they make, and this promotion means to make a fortune.
Bob Arum is a wily, grandfatherly, meaner than a Chinese junkyard dog lawyer with 5-6 decades worth of boxing experience who is the promoter of record with the Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones massaging the promotion with his magic.
Manny Pacquiao has become the crowning achievement of Arum’s long HOF career. Proven beyond a doubt to be the most well known and respected boxer in the world currently practicing his craft, Pacquiao has been at the apex of his career for the past few years. The physics of boxing and by extension, life itself, those physics are well known to Arum.
What goes up must eventually come down.
No fighter can remain at the top forever except in the minds of the most rabid fans for whom a Rocky Marciano or Muhammad Ali are the best who would beat the best no matter the time or place. Manny has risen to that point in time where he has many, many millions of those kind of fans around the world, too many in too many far and away corners of the world to count, and to be fair, his has been a storybook fairytale type of the most flea ridden rags to the most incomprehensible riches and acclaim imaginable.
This simple, humble man has proven to be a swift and fit warrior beyond belief, headlined more than a dozen PPVshows, swept the fighter of the decade awards, has his own band where he is the lead singer, is the lead actor in movies written and directed just for him, and most recently elected to the highest legislative branch of his country, the Philippines.
There has never been another like him and likely never will be into the distant future.Yet all those accolades and earnings are but a bunch of fluff to be dismissed by the first Magarito punches when the first bell sounds for the first round, so there is more to lose than any other fighter today for Manny if the unthinkable happens.
Antonio Margarito has 36 minutes to bludgeon him into chopsteaksuey and Antonio has had the look of a lean and hungry ripped to the gills Cassius sizing up his fat emperor, Cesar, since the promotion was first kicked off.His style may appear crude and simple to unstudied eyes like his horrific beatdown of the highly acclaimed, undefeated Miguel Cotto, but his sole mission has to be one of seek and destroy since it’s highly unlikely he could ever actually outbox the speedy, highly skilled little southpaw to win a decision on the cards any more than he could against Cotto.
Margarito will be wearing the black hat as the heel to put a euphemistic spin on this promotion. His detractors probably outnumber his supporters at this stage, but it wasn’t always this way.
The Tijuana Tornado is American born who curiously reversed the immigration trend to return to Mexico to live. Turning pro as a skinny 15 yr old, 133 lb nino, his is the prototypical Mexican rise from poverty of their storied boxers in the mold of Julio Cesar Chavez and other great Mexicans who learn to fight tough hombres in postage stamped sized rings where no quarter is asked or given.
He became the King of the Beatdown in his division, so brutally delivered that he had problems landing top fights once he became ranked. He was too much risk for too little reward in the pick and choose promoter’s world that run boxing, but he finally got a shot at a vacant WBO belt that he won and doggedly held on to as Arum stayed loyal to him, trying to hook him up against Oscar de la Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr, but they just wouldn’t bite to be landed in the ring.
Then there was the set back against the freakish Paul Williams, another high risk, low reward fighter in the division who took his title away, and suddenly Margarito was without an anchor and lost at sea. Finally, some good news when Floyd Mayweather Jr retired in a pique of hysteria that left Miguel Cotto without his superfight, so Margarito agreed to a fight in a convenient in house Arum promotion. Cotto put up a huge battle but was ultimately beaten to a pulp, making Margarito the newest boxing sensation after all these tough years of unloved labor.
The tough Mexican’s fall from grace was as brutal as his beatdowns when he was busted for having illegal inserts in his handwraps before he went against hometown California hero, Sugar Shane Mosley in his next fight. His longtime trainer confessed to the set up, but the damage was done. He lost his new title, instead picking up a one year suspension and the ire of the boxing press and public.
So, now Margarito makes his return to his home country after being written off by hasty critics. He’s been at training for more than a very hungry year and we already know what he did coming off a big loss before the Cotto fight against the media and fan favorite, or did we?
The claim is that Margarito also used his illegal inserts in that fight, and maybe previous fights as well. I’ve addressed the handwraps topic repeatedly if you want a more sequential detailed history of the events as they played out:
The controversy will be irrelevant once the combatants enter the ring. Margarito will be watched like a hawk by all interested parties to insure a fair contest, as will Manny, so how does the fight itself actually break down?
Two things really stand out for the fight, the current condition each fighter with both having a history of being among the finest conditions of any fighters in history. These two professional boxers have taken their careers very seriously, but reports out of Manny’s training camp have been troubling, reinforcing my own predictions once he was elected to public office. It’s impossible to be both a full time fighter while representing your people in elective office while additionally being a father and husband and everything else under the sun that Manny enjoys, but he obviously means to try.
Margarito was ripped and ready from day one of the promotion. He is a career welter only fighting sporadically with mixed results at junior middleweight, yet he garnished a #2 boxrec ranking and #1 WBC ranking with his last win over Roberto Garcia in Mexico. The Oscar de la Hoya Ring magazine has refused to rate him after the wraps controversy after near a decade of consecutive welter rankings, but regardless, nobody has ever seen Margarito look so shredded and muscled in his career as now.
Margarito looks drop dead dangerous as hell!
It seems to have been ignored that Margarito’s team claimed he was coming off eye surgery a week before the Mosley fight and was not fit to fight. He was brutalized and knocked out that night, though after one year of suspensions and steady training, he recently walked through a rough tough Roberto Garcia in his shake the rust loose bout.
Margarito has never been tested at the level that Manny brings on fight night regardless of any poor training camp although Paul Williams tested him and won their fight. Williams is a different breed of cat from Manny with an extra 10” of height and reach though both are southpaws.
Then we get into the performance enhancing drug accusations against Manny leveled by Floyd Mayweather Jr and his uncle Roger and Golden Boy counterbalanced by the Margarito illegal wraps. Facts are if Manny and Marg are really cheating than so is the same likelyhood of their opponents and every other boxer since they are all given the same pre and post fight screenings during their careers.
So for me, this is a pickem fight with too many unknowns squirreled away in dark corners to know about. Manny will be the overwhelming favorite in the betting, but being the betting favorite has never been a guaranteed prognosticator of results as new fans found out when Mosley pulled a big upset over Margarito.
A more solid prediction would be that this could be a fight of the year type which is why Arum was willing to match two of his stars against each other. The time is ripe with Manny rapidly running out of big opponents in what may be his last bout, the Dallas Cowboy Jerry’s World new shiny cool venue being made available, and the combatants as game as it gets with a white hat against black hat, a Pinoy Mexican assassin against the biggest, strongest, toughest Mexican gunslinger available in their new division.
Perhaps the most undersung part of the promotion is the storied Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders going up against the red hot Ines “L00kie-L00kie” Sainz for eye candy honors.
This is the biggest fight of the year, and with near 50,000 thousand watching Manny shutout the unknown African, Joshua Clottey in his last fight, it’s possible 80,000 could pack Cowboy Stadium and raise the roof.No doubt there will be a few heart attacks and dozens of fights breaking out among the viewers before the dust clears.
It’s that kind of epic battle.