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Upset Win Over Manny Pacquiao Will Not Change Antonio Margarito’s Legacy

Count me as someone who will be rooting for Manny Pacquiao during his fight with Antonio Margarito on Saturday night in Arlington. Pacquiao has won titles at seven different weight classes and will make it eight if he can beat Margarito. Margarito has won a title at the welterweight level and is fighting for just the second time in nearly two years. The reason for his delay is shameful and unethical: he was found to be using illegal hand wraps prior to his fight with Shane Mosley and had his boxing license suspended in the United States.

The bout with Pacquiao will be his first in the U.S. since January, 2009, and it’s one he’s hoping will help clear his name. “It’s been really tough, but this is a great opportunity for me, and I have to take full advantage of it,” Margarito has said leading up to the fight. The state of Nevada, along with California, refused to reinstate Margarito’s boxing license, so they took the case to Texas where it was ruled he would be allowed to fight. Margarito still has hopes of fighting in Las Vegas, however “I think I will fight in Vegas again,” Margarito said. “Once I get this opportunity, I know I’m going to come through.”

Margarito’s huge TKO win over Miguel Cotto in 2008 already has been called into question because people feel he may have been loading his gloves for that fight. Even though he’ll be watched heavily prior to this fight, he won’t get the credit he should for beating Manny Pacquiao. Margarito made an unforgivable move against Mosley, and perhaps against other fighters. I can never respect someone who cheated to the extent Margarito did, especially in a sport where the objective is to do physical damage to one’s opponent.

It’s sad to say it because people believe in redemption so firmly, but much like Barry Bonds and all the other steroid-users in baseball, Antonio Margarito will never escape his association with the cheating scandal. He is responsible for his actions and his legacy, and even a win over Pacquiao won’t change any of it. The only thing worse is that Pacquiao may be in a similar position.

Antonio Margarito Appears Dehydrated at Weigh-in for Fight with Manny Pacquiao

Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao were present for their weigh-in leading up to Saturday’s clash at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The smaller Pacquiao weighed in at 144.6 while the Tijuana Tornado came in at 150, the exact agreed-upon weight limit for the fight. The two boxers are meeting for the vacant WBC light middleweight title where the weight range is 147-154 pounds. Because Pacquiao is smaller, they agreed to fight at 150. It sure looks like Margarito had to do some serious training along with weight loss efforts to reach the 150 pound maximum:

While Margacheato is defined, he looks like he pissed out about 10 pounds for this fight. He seriously looks like Lance Armstrong after doing the Tour de France. Oscar De La Hoya, while seemingly in excellent shape for his fight with Pacquiao, was over-trained for their bout. Margarito looks similar, and his durability may be a concern for Saturday. Then again, if things go as Freddie Roach predicts, that won’t even matter.

Freddie Roach: Manny Pacquiao Was Not Focused Early in Training

On Saturday night in Arlington, Texas, we will find out if Team Pacquiao is honest or just a bunch of lying salesmen. In preparation of Manny Pacquiao’s fight with Antonio Margarito, trainer Freddie Roach (part of a controversy himself), has made it clear he’s been dissatisfied with Manny Pacquiao’s focus. In the first episode of HBO’s 24/7 series on the fight, Roach said that the time they spent in the Philippines prior to returning to LA was the worst training they ever had. Roach said he remembered times when Manny never missed a day of training, but this time around he was busy focusing on other things and even missed sessions.

Freddie even made another reference to Pacquiao’s lack of focus early in training during his pre-fight press conference. “A little bit of a different training camp this time. I think Manny spoils us. Usually he’s ready for a fight after three weeks of training. This time, it took us a little bit longer because Congressman Manny Pacquiao had his mind on congress a little bit too much in the Phillipines,” Roach said. “He missed his job and it was direct competition with boxing, but once we got on a plane ride home he assured me that he would get back and get focused. As soon as we got back to LA, the real Manny Pacquiao came back. Manny worked really hard for this fight.”

As for Manny, he took the opportunity to defend himself saying, “There is no problem about my training camp. The first two weeks in our training camp we had a problem because we were trying to gain weight, but the problem is I can’t move and my body feels so heavy and my speed’s gone. So I decided to maintain at 148 pounds, 147 to focus on speed.”

So, you buying any of the talk that Manny Pacquiao is unfocused or unprepared for this fight? Is any of it possible, or is it just a trick by Roach to help hype the fight and generate more fan interest? Count Antonio Margarito’s trainer, Robert Garcia, as one who thinks Freddie Roach is full of it: “This is just the stuff Freddie says to mess with our minds or hype up the fight a little.”

Manny’s win over Joshua Clottey was such a one-way beating maybe the promoters feel they have to generate more buzz by suggesting the fight will be closer than people expect. Hey, all I know is they have me somewhat curious, so the strategy must have worked.

Floyd Mayweather Sr. Rips on Manny Pacquiao with Slurs

Whether it was his crew attending a cock fight or rocking a $50,000 iPod, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been making headlines here at LBS over the past week. This time around, it’s his father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., getting his name in the news. As Out of Bounds shared with us, Mayweather Sr. had harsh words for boxer Manny Pacquiao while serving as a guest for the On The Ropes boxing podcast.

This isn’t the first time Mayweather Sr. has verbally bashed Pacquiao, but it’s certainly been the harshest expression. Mayweather Sr. not only called Pac Man a bitch, but he also used a slur for homosexuals to describe him. Here you can listen to a disheveled Mayweather Sr. rip on Pacquiao:

The biggest point Mayweather Sr. made is that Pacquiao is the one afraid of fighting, not the other way around. To me, it’s somewhere in between; Pacquiao is concerned about the drug testing while Floyd is not eager to make the fight happen. They each have reasons to be hesitant. Boxing fans just have to hope Pacquiao beats Antonio Margarito and the superfight goes down sometime next year.

Sources:
Floyd Sr. on Pacquiao: ‘He’s a fa****. Go stick your head under your dress’ [Out of Bounds]
On The Ropes Episode #82 [On The Ropes]

Manny Pacquiao Plans to Sue one Steroids Accuser but Fight Another

In one of the greatest paradoxes I’ve seen in sports, Manny Pacquiao and his camp are making making themselves look even worse for their recent decisions. The madness began a few days ago when the agreement between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao to fight on March 13th began to fall through. Pacquiao began backing out of the fight because he didn’t want to submit to olympic-style drug testing. Manny’s promoter, Bob Arum, then went on a verbal assault trying to come up with every possible angle to spin the reason for why Pacquiao is backing out. Pacman is even going on the offensive now, saying he’s going to sue for defamation over the allegations. In the meantime (and this is my favorite part of the story), Arum says he’s in the process of arranging a fight with Paulie Malignaggi for the same March 13th date. This is the same Paulie Malignaggi who ALSO accused Pacquiao of using PEDs:

The level we have of testing in boxing is not really that deep. I mean, we have urine tests on the day of the fight and we don’t have much else…there’s things that don’t come up in drug tests. There’s ways to beat drug tests.

Manny Pacquiao is the first guy in history, and he might be the special thing that everybody says he is, he might be, the first guy in history to go up in weight and knock out more people as he goes up in weight than he did when he was smaller. He might be that special person. Me, I think that looks a little fishy. I think that’s a little bit fishy.

So let me get this straight, it’s fine to accuse Manny Pacquiao of using steroids or performance-enhancers so long as you don’t demand he submits to strict drug testing? Good, just wanted to make sure I had that straight. This should put an end to the debates about Pacquiao and Arum’s motive. Manny complaining that having his blood drawn will sap him of his power is like one of those people who claim they can levitate so long as nobody is watching. Uh huh. The onus is on Pacquiao here and he should submit to Olympic-style testing if he has nothing to hide. End of story.

If Manny Pacquiao Weren’t Guilty, He Wouldn’t Have Anything to Hide

Maybe things happened too quickly creating a “too good to be true” scenario in boxing. After all, organizing a fight and getting two high-profile individuals to agree to contract terms is one of the most complex processes in sports. Despite all that, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. supposedly had agreed to fight mid March in Las Vegas until a matter of drug testing came in the way.

Floyd’s father accused Pacquiao of using steroids and/or supplements in an interview a few months ago and it looks like he was right on. Mayweather’s camp wants both fighters to submit to Olympic-style WADA drug testing prior to the fight, which is more stringent than drug testing outlined by the Nevada Gaming Commission. Pacquiao only wants to submit to drug testing prior to the media kickoff tour of the fight and after the fight. It does not take a genius to figure out that the lapse between tests is plenty of time to do a cycle of drugs.

The excuses coming from Pacquiao’s side are pathetic. Trainer Freddie Roach says the request proves Mayweather is scared. Promoter Bob Arum says Floyd is just harassing Pacquiao because he knows Manny feels weakened by giving blood. There’s no doubt that Floyd recognizes the talent of Pacquiao and that he’s in danger of losing. Even with that being the case, there’s nothing wrong with requesting stringent drug testing for the fight. The retort by Arum is pathetic and offbase. It’s clear he’s just trying to spin the issue but he doesn’t have much ammunition in this argument. The undeniable bottom line is that Pacquiao would not have anything to hide if he weren’t doing anything wrong. What’s so hard about Manny agreeing to random drug tests during his training? There shouldn’t be anything wrong with it as far as I can tell. Maybe there’s a lot more to Pacquiao’s story that helps explain his late career surge.

Floyd Mayweather Jr: I have Nothing to Gain by Fighting Manny Pacquiao

After seeing Manny Pacquiao dismantle Miguel Cotto on Saturday night, I said that a Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight has to happen for the sake of boxing’s integrity. There’s only one fight left that makes sense for each fighter. One fight, and one fight only, and it’s between them. Unfortunately Pacquiao expressed no immediate interest in fighting Floyd, and Floyd has gone on record saying he doesn’t want to do business with Bob Arum (Manny’s promoter). Making matters worse is that Floyd told Sky News he feels like he has nothing to gain by fighting Pacquiao:

Floyd says that everyone wants to see him lose while Manny’s already lost three times therefore there’s no upside for him. While there’s no erasing Pacquiao’s three losses and Floyd’s undefeated record, there is a question as to who is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and who the top welterweight is. Right now Pacman is on top of his game and considered to be every bit as good as Floyd. Because of that reason, Mayweather stands plenty to gain by fighting (and beating) Manny. The term “undisputed” champion is often used in boxing. Right now there’s a dispute that can only be settled in the ring. Floyd should recognize that and make this fight happen to boost his legacy. After that, beating Sugar Shane Mosley would just be icing on the cake of an unblemished career.