4 reasons to embrace Pacquiao-Margarito ... and 4 not to

By Michael Rosenthal | ringtv.com

Some boxing fans will love the fact Manny Pacquiao is fighting Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13 in either Las Vegas or Monterrery, Mexico, and some won’t. And both sides will have their arguments.

Here are four reasons to embrace Pacquiao-Margarito and four reasons to reject it.



EMBRACE IT

1. Entertainment value: Pacquiao-Maragrito might not be more competitive than Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey was in March but rest assured that it’ll be a lot more entertaining as long as it lasts. Clottey barely engaged Pacquiao, apparently content on collecting his career-high payday without putting up a fight. The event was a disappointment. Margarito knows how to fight one way, moving forward regardless of the consequences. That will play into the hands of Pacquiao, who will almost certainly pick the bigger man apart because of his far-superior skills and speed. The end will look a lot like that of Shane Mosley-Margarito, with Margarito being helped to his corner.

2. End of negotiations: Hallelujah! No more Floyd Mayweather Jr. No more speculating about how negotiations for a Pacquiao-Mayweather monster fight might be going. No more middle-of-the-night conference calls and weird press releases. No more bull you know what. Now, we can focus on the reason we follow this sport -– the actual boxing. We should be talking about young stars like Chad Dawson, Andre Ward and Amir Khan, not a proposed fight that has been killed twice now by raging egos. No more being lured into thinking the fight is possible and then being disappointed -– at least until next year.

3. Must-see performer: Pacquiao is the undisputed most-exciting fighter in the world. We want to see him fight anybody. We proved it when he faced Clottey at the magnificent Cowboys Stadium. The Ghanaian had a measure of credibility and name recognition but it was the sport’s No. 1 attraction and the unusual venue that seized our attention. Pacquiao is simply a must-see performer, as the healthy 700,000 pay-per-view buys for the fight indicated. No one wants to miss him do something spectacular. And, remember, he won’t be around forever. He’s 31 and probably has no more than 10 more fights left in him, unless he hangs around too long.

4. Making history: Pacquiao will be attempting to extend his current record of most titles in separate weight classes (seven) to a mind-boggling eight in eight divisions -– flyweight, junior featherweight, featherweight (RING magazine), junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight (RING magazine), welterweight and (if he wins) junior middleweight. We don’t put much stock in the sanctioning-body belts –- all 68 of them (more, if you count interim, super and other ill-conceived titles) -– but they do indicate that the Filipino icon has remained an elite fighter over a remarkable span of seven weight divisions.


REJECT IT

1. Hand-wrap scandal: Some people believe that Margarito should be banned for life after he was caught with hardened knuckle pads in his gloves as he was about to fight Mosley last year in Los Angeles, which resulted in his suspension in California. Others believe his 13-month exile –- the time between Mosley and his comeback fight –- isn’t long enough. Yet Margarito will more than compensated for any losses in income with a payday that probably will surpass his career earnings. That’s justice? Most people, including many fighters, believe that Margarito knew exactly what was in his gloves even if he says otherwise. And, if we give him the benefit of the doubt, he should’ve known. He refuses to admit even that. Thus, no one can be blamed if they choose to boycott this fight.

2. Not competitive: Pacquiao-Margarito probably will be more akin to a slaughter than a competitive boxing match, which will rub some people the wrong way. The fans crave action but they don’t necessarily want a cruel beating of a brave but helpless fighter. They want some tangible reason to believe the underdog can win. Promoter Bob Arum said that Margarito was chosen over Miguel Cotto because people perceive him to be a more-credible opponent, which is true given that Pacquiao already beat Cotto convincingly. The perception is wrong, though. Cotto, a much more skillful than Margarito, would give Pacquiao a better fight even in another defeat.

3. Margarito undeserving: Why does Margarito deserve this opportunity? He was pulverized by Shane Mosley at 147 pounds in February of last year, missed 13 months because of his suspension and looked shaky at 154 in his comeback fight against journeyman Roberto Garcia in May in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Still, the WBC has made him the No. 1 junior middleweight contender for its vacant title. That’s all you need to know about the WBC. Margarito is fighting Pacquiao for a major title because he is well connected, not because he even remotely deserves it.

4. The letdown: We should be gearing up to watch the fight of the century on Nov. 13, not Pacquiao-Margarito. One could argue that we’re condoning the two camps’ bizarre inability to put the monster fight together if we buy the consolation prize, which will probably be in the $55 range. If we reject it and it does poor pay-per-view numbers, then we’re sending a message to the powers that be in boxing that we’re tired of all the garbage. Alas, the majority of fans who are angry now will probably end up forking out the money to see Pacquiao-Margarito because they’re devoted to the sport and want to see the biggest fights. We can only hope their current anger resonates with those who run boxing.
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