'Call Em Out Fridays': Pacquiao vs Margarito - A Matter of Non-Stop Subplots
By Vivek Wallace: Saturday night was supposed to be the Super Bowl of all Super Bowls. That once in a lifetime sporting event with transcendent power to the highest order. Appears the mega event most of us wanted won't be happening after all, but in its place is a fight that could very well turn out to be even better as Mexican warrior Antonio Margarito prepares to square off against Filipino Manny Pacquiao. With any great fight promotion comes a ton of subplots, and this case is no different. As we draw closer to the showdown, we take a closer look at several of those subplots, as well as the implications they have on the present, the event itself, as well as the future of both men:
Article posted on 12.11.2010
Only days away from the biggest fight of the year in the sport, several fight fans find themselves wondering how is it possible that we are on the brink of seeing a recently suspended fighter cash in on his biggest career payday without ever truly being cleared of the very dangerous allegations he faced? In all stretches of life, politics have been long known to trump all logic. The world of boxing is apparently no different. With a ton of money on the table and a promoter who knows how to go get it, it's no coincidence that we now find ourselves on the brink of this mega affair. When asked "who would be the winner on the night of November 14th between Margarito and Pacquiao", a huge fight fan and friend of mine stated "Bob Arum"..
Considering the catastrophic career damage a loss could do for Pacquiao's illustrious career, and the fact that Margarito is still not a huge draw in the sport, one has to wonder if my good buddy Nas was right? Pacquiao could have accomplished this milestone of 8 world titles in 8 weight classes by facing former champion Yuri Foreman, but Foreman wasn't a stablemate. This decision to keep things "in house" was one man's decision. And although he stands to be the biggest winner, a loss for Pacquiao could result in him being the biggest loser, as there has never been a more inspirational story in the sport. If it goes bad, one can only hope he openly accepts that credit, too!
Mexican(s) vs Manny
Manny Pacquiao has done so well against Mexican's in his illustrious career that he was given the name "The Mexicutioner". As we look down his resume, we see all the greats of this era in each of his respective weight classes. Barrera, Morales, Dela Hoya, and Marquez, to name a few. When you think of traditional Mexican fighters, the first thing that comes to mind is the proud warrior spirit, and the tenacity to fight tooth and nail until the bitter end. The irony here is that although Pacquiao has done a strong job competing with these proud warriors, there's no denying that his toughest bouts have also come against this group of die-hards that try harder! His last career loss came at the hands of Erik Morales, and with nearly 60 victories under his belt, the one man he has yet to defeat decisively calls Mexico home, as well (Juan Manuel Marquez). In just a few nights, he will take this effort a step further by adding the biggest Mexican contender he has ever faced to the list. It's no secret the bigger a man, the larger his appetite. Margarito will have more than enough to chew on this time around - so will Pacquiao. Will Manny's onslaught of Mexican warriors continue?
Emotions: Battle of the Minds
Weeks ago, Manny Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach had some less than pleasant things to say about Antonio Margarito's hand-wrapping scenario, with the normally humble Pacquiao even making a mockery of the affair - dramatization and all - in which he spoke of Margarito's lack of "common sense". Never one to be outdone, Margarito and those closest to him took things to an all-time low by pulling the trump card of all trump cards, making a mockery of Freddie Roach's debilitating bout with Parkinson's disease. Very few things have ever been credited with causing Roach to lose his cool, but this was one, as rumor had it that the normally reserved trainer went as far as seeking out members of Team Margarito to make this verbal affair a physical one.
There are no words to describe the idiocy demonstrated here, but this is yet another of the fact that for the first time, probably ever, Pacquiao and Roach are dealing with a true thug who will go to any extent to cement (pun intended) his name in victory. Roach is said to be over the initial sting caused by this poor display, but in the heat of the battle when things get rough and plan A and plan B are not working, will this anger boil over causing Roach to go against his normally subdued quiet-storm approach in the corner, leading Pacquiao to panic in the ring? We won't know until Margarito starts to do his damage come Saturday night. What we do know is despite the low-blow, without question, score one point for Team Margarito.......as this ignorant move somehow turned brilliant! He officially became the first to effectively get into Roach's head! (Something even Mayweather has failed at thus far).
Nothing Left To Give?
Seeing Antonio Margarito here recently left me (and probably many others) with one thought and one thought only! Yes.....he has campaigned most of his career at the welterweight limit.....and yes, this bout is taking place a few pounds north.....but that being said, I have no idea where the last 4lbs he needed to lose will come from. The man has practically no body fat. I don't ever recall seeing an athlete who has veins poppin' out of his feet and his legs the way that I saw with Margarito here in Dallas recently. His calf literally looked like a very firm object wrapped in skin with some sick veins poppin' out! He was already said to be at 154lbs at the time.
It initially appeared that going up to 150lbs would be a benefit to him because it's 3lbs above the weight class he's been a part of forever; but after further review, I have no idea how in the hell he will shed that final 4lbs without sacrificing something critically necessary deep in the fight! This issue looms large above this affair, as for Pacquiao's critics, it's a stipulation that has no room in history or a title match.
Tenure vs Temperament
Very few tandems around the sport have accomplished the rare solidarity seen between Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach. Very few ever will. But at this level, does there truly have to be such a closeness between fighter and trainer to find success? This is the very question that will be raised as Pacquiao and Roach square off against Margarito and Garcia. The interesting factor here is that there are underground rumblings that Roach has somewhat lost control of his pupil, with Pacquiao showing limited effort and energy throughout camp. The flipside to this is that Garcia has seemed to hit pay dirt with Margarito, getting every ounce of respect from what appears to be a very driven challenger. The more and more we analyze this reality, the more one has to wonder whether the close bond developed over time between Roach and Pacquiao can trumped by the raging force of two men eager to prove that they always belonged? Redemption and history continue to get the top billing, but in essence, this is a matter of "tenure versus temperament".
Here was a basic analysis of only 5 of the many subplots which have taken this event to new heights. On Saturday night it will all culminate to epic proportions as the two men finally answer the many questions that exist. Check out tomorrows fight day countdown with "Official Prediction", "Keys to Victory", and "Four to Explore".
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEKWALLACE747), FaceBook and Myspace).
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