In a few days, Dallas will host one of the more controversial fights of the year, as Manny Pacquiao takes on Antonio Margarito for the vacant Super Welterweight 154 pound title.
While many fight fans will tune in to this mega-bout, most would have preferred a matchup between the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighters, Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. But, when Mayweather walked away from negotiations for the superfight that everyone wanted, promoter Bob Arum quickly cobbled together a fight with the Tijuana Tornado. Many in the boxing community cringed.
A lot of people think that Margarito, still shrouded in controversy from his 2009 hand wrap scandal, should be banned from the sport. At the very least, the argument contends the guilty boxer should not be given a date with the sport’s biggest draw, and the subsequent payday that awaits.
In the other corner, many sources believe that Pacquiao has lost some of the focus that brought seven world titles and a reputation for consistency. In addition to Pacman’s well-publicized singing career, life as a product pitchman and the responsibility of being the most famous person in his country, he is also a sworn-in member of the Philippine Congress.
On HBO’s 24/7, both Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, and conditioning coach Alex Ariza have implied that their boxer has had too many distractions in the weeks leading up to the fight, which have led to a poor training camp.
So, whether you believe Margarito deserves a chance at redemption, or Pacquiao has spread himself too thin, this will be a fight worth watching.
Here is a round-by-round prediction of the Nov 13 bout:
Both fighters start off slower than expected, showing mutual respect for the other. Pacquiao, as he did against Cotto in the early rounds, feels out Margarito’s timing. Look for Margarito to start applying pressure in the latter part of the round. Round to Margarito, 10-9
Margarito will come out more aggressive now that the early fight butterflies are gone. Pacquiao, listening to Roach will try to move and counter as Margarito moves in. Margarito starts to learn that hitting the smaller Pacquiao is not as easy as expected. Round to Margarito, 10-9
Margarito continues the pressure, looking to cut off the ring and work Pacquiao’s body against the ropes. Look for Pacquiao to land some big counters with Margarito starting to take chances. A close round goes to the Congressman. Round to Pacquiao, 10-9
Margarito brings heavy pressure, continuing with combinations to the body. Pacquiao’s timing and hand speed start to pickup. Expect a lot of flurries from both fighters, with the number of shots landed going to Pacquiao. Round to Pacquiao, 10-9
Margarito, perhaps frustrated with Pacquiao’s speed, starts taking bigger shots. A few big shots land against Pacquiao, with Roach commanding his fighter to continue moving and countering. In vintage Pacquiao form, Pacman taps his gloves together, urging the bigger man to “bring it on." Round to Margarito, 10-9
After a corner scolding by Roach, Pacquiao comes out with a renewed commitment to movement. Margarito continues with his pressure game plan, swinging at a constantly moving Pacquiao. Pacquiao lands some of his best counters in this round. Round to Pacquiao, 10-9
Pacquiao’s speed is really starting to frustrate Margarito. Like the previous round, Pacquiao continues to land rapid punch combinations from all over the ring as Margarito looks for singular big shots to the body. This one could go either way. Round to Pacquiao, 10-9
Margarito is starting to wear down. His uppercut is not landing as Pacquiao continues moving in and out, landing multi-punch combinations. Look for a knockdown as Pacquiao is landing punches at a 2-1 ratio. Round to Pacquiao, 10-9
More of the same. Margarito still looking for big, body shots while Pacquiao continues to exploit the speed difference. Pacquiao is still taking an occasional big shot, but throwing a lot of punches in return. If there is a knockout, this is the round. Round to Pacquiao, 10-9
The fight is heavily leaning in Pacquiao’s favor at this point. Margarito has slowed down, and Pacquiao spends the first half of the round moving out of Margarito’s range. Margarito lands a few shots toward the end of the round but does not cause any heavy damage. Margarito’s trainer, Robert Garcia, urges his fighter to be more aggressive. Round to Pacquiao, 10-9
Pacquiao picks up the pace, perhaps looking for a knockout. Margarito has slowed but continues to lean into Pacquiao, absorbing combinations from the Filipino. Pacquiao ends the round with a flurry, bringing the crowd to its feet. Round to Pacquiao, 10-9
The round starts slow, as Margarito and Pacquiao tap gloves. The crowd is urging both fighters to let their hands go. The round ends in a flurry with both fighters showing fatigue, but no knockout. It goes to the cards. Round to Pacquiao, 10-9
Pacquiao wins by unanimous decision in a highly entertaining bout.