Boxing


Pacquiao vs Margarito - Keys to Victory, Four to Explore, Official Prediction

By Vivek Wallace: For the past 8 weeks, two men, literally from two separate worlds, trained strenuously for one common goal. After an unprecedented contribution of blood, sweat, and tears, tonight, the culmination is a date with one another that will end in what most expect to be a bloody war. An old adage has it that "opposites attract", and there could be no greater contrast between two men than that in which we have between the two who now sit center-stage. In Pacquiao, you have the humble....in Margarito you have the horrific. In Pacquiao, a symbol of love....in Margarito, a villainous thug! But, no matter how much the two contrast, their collective faith is one daunting task. As we get set to watch it all unfold, we take a look at "Keys to Victory", "Four to Explore", and an "Official Prediction":

MANNY PACQUIAO - "KEYS TO VICTORY"

For Manny Pacquiao, the key to victory tonight is simple. Speed. There's nothing like the element of surprise, and as Oscar De La Hoya was honest enough to admit after he felt the wrath, "it's the ones that you DON'T SEE that hurt the most"! No matter how fast an opponents sparring partner was, no two men throw punches in the same order, so there's no way Margarito could have prepared for what is coming his way. Pacquiao brings not only speed, but also angles and power. One thing that will be very important along with his angles and power is his execution of not only entry angles, but exit angles, as well.

Floyd Mayweather jr. is a master-boxer, yet we saw what happened against a far-less-talented opponent with an innate ability to cut off the ring (Jose Luis Castillo). Pacquiao is not a master-boxer, yet he will have to deal with a man who is easily and arguably the best in the biz today at doing that very thing (cutting the ring off). He will have deficits in height, and reach. If he can refrain from letting Margarito trap him, he wins this fight on points, or possible late round stoppage. No question.


ANTONIO MARGARITO - "KEYS TO VICTORY"


For Antonio Margarito, this fight will be his toughest, but can be a lot easier, depending on the strategy he uses and the intelligence in which he executes. Some may take great exception with even a remote possibility of this fight being easy for Margarito, but the truth is, despite the handwrap questions, what has always made him dangerous is the fact that he has the punch output to outwork you, and the iron-chin to outlast you. No one in the biz today is better at cutting the ring off. With Pacquiao only weighing in at a slim 144lbs, his speed will be critical, but his ability to handle a physical fight may prove near fatal.

Margarito will need to bang anything he can touch above the belt. Shoulders, elbows, forearms; anywhere that's legal, Margarito needs to be as physical as possible. Margarito will also need to avoid his patented slow start, because Pacquiao will come in with guns blazin', and a slow start could mean a fast ending. One other key note is that Pacquiao's only career losses and near losses (except Torrecampo) all came to right hand dominant men who had a penchant for uppercuts and bodyshots. That's Margarito's playground. A heavy dose of those and a good jab utilizing that great reach advantage, and by the end of the night, history could be broken, and ultimate vindication served!


"FOUR TO EXPLORE"


'4 Corners': As children, most were taught the elementary game entitled "4 Corners". Similar to that fundamental plot, tonight's showdown will also feature a contestant trying to eliminate the person who's currently considered to be "it". While that "it" participant (Pacquiao) will try to stay in the middle of the ring, the objective of his opponent (Margarito) will be to keep Pacquiao in one of those "4 Corners" of the ring, where his best attributes are most easily nullified. In another imitation of the game, Pacquiao will remain alive ONLY if he stays centered. But a few long spans trapped along the edges could turn this bout of "4 Corners" into a game of "Tag", and if that happens, Pacquiao may not be "it" much longer! Can he avoid the "4 Corners"?

Upper-Cut, or Cut-Up?: It's virtually impossible to imagine a Pacquiao loss, but in the "theater of the unexpected", (as HBO's Jim Lampley calls it), anything is possible. That being said, one can only question the formula in doing so. Some say a Pacquiao loss - if at all possible - would stem from the vicious uppercuts often landed by Mexican warrior Antonio Margarito. Others point to the facial damage Pacquiao received at the hands of two men (Cotto and Clottey) who barely landed over 12 rounds of action. If things get tough, no question, a loss could come either way.....but which would you place your money on? TKO via cuts? Or vicious upper-cuts?

Trading Places: At yesterday's weigh-in, an interesting conversation took place that shed light on what could be a very dark subject. In the past, Pacquiao and those in his camp have been able to rest easy, while opponents and their team failed to sleep tight. Suddenly, it's been openly acknowledged that Roach, Ariza, and others from Team Pacquiao admittedly have a case of nerves; while Margarito, himself, who has no discomfort in the mind, has slept like a baby. The HBO 24/7 spin on this topic was made for television. But hearing this scary admission directly from a source within the camp leaves many asking "isn't it funny how some things completely turn around"? Team Pacquiao and the opponent appear to have completely traded places! Now, lets see if that translates to going from the "W" column to the "L" column! Possible, but very improbable!

Instant Replay: During Pacquiao's unprecedented run through the history book, each of his fights have all started with a strong dose of doubt, speculation, and question, yet ended in familiar fashion. In the case of Antonio Margarito, there's an epic night on his resume where he defied all odds that he would like to re-familiarize himself with again, as well (Cotto match). In the end, will Pacquiao's path to supremacy "replay" itself? Will Margarito take take control of the 'pen' and write his own script of redemption in an "instant"? The finished product tonight between these two will be so entertaining that it won't matter, because Mayweather's refusal to budge on testing will ensure an "instant replay", Summer of 2011, coming to a city near you!


OFFICIAL PREDICTION/UPSET BAROMETER (RATING 1 - 5)


When the smoke clears and it all boils down, there are two things that matter the most in this fight. One man is bidding for history....the other for redemption and ultimate vindication. Perhaps the most telling moment of this entire pre-fight hype came when a woman stopped Antonio Margarito and asked for his thoughts on Manny Pacquiao, and the smiling Margarito immediately grew a stone-face, responding by saying "I'm not here to make a friend, I'm here to take out an enemy"! This candid demeanor was later solidified as the two warriors stood face to face for the final stare down, and Pacquiao broke his stone-face for a smile, twice, and never got one back in return.

When you think of the constant smiling and gallivanting between Joshua Clottey and Manny Pacquiao only a few months ago, this subplot pales in comparison. Anyone on a different sheet of music, instantly, and officially, at that precise moment, the true 'tone' was set.

Only twice in my life have I literally back-tracked and changed a prediction on fight day. The Hopkins/Pavlik fight (swapped to Hopkins), and the Margarito/Cotto fight, (swapped to Margarito). In this case, I've maintained "Pacquiao on points" from day one, but, realizing that his most grueling affairs have come at the hands of Mexican warriors, and here he's in against one whose physical dimensions dwarf his own, it has become virtually impossible not to sway the other way. I've only picked against Pacquiao two times, and each time he has proven me wrong. I vowed never to do it again, yet in the end, here I am again. With Mayweather waiting in the wings, I can only hope Pacquiao finds a way to keep that streak of proving me wrong alive. I simply don't have enough courage to put my word on it! For Pacquiao it's about history.....for Margarito it's about redemption.....but in the end, this night is about the people, as the only certainty is a "Fight of the Year" candidate waiting to happen!

(ANTONIO MARGARITO via 12RD TKO ---- UPSET BAROMETER: PEAKS at 5 of 5 --- As Pacquiao can clearly win on points or late stoppage)

(DAVID HAYE via 10th RD TKO ---- (UPSET BAROMETER: PEAKS at 3 of 5 --- Harrison dangerous, not fast enough. Best chances will come in late rounds)


(Vivek Wallace can be reached at vivexemail@yahoo.com, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEKWALLACE747), FaceBook, and Myspace).

Article posted on 13.11.2010



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