WE ARE READY FOR A WAR IF MANNY WANTS TO GO THERE.”
By John Martinez - August 1, 2010
On November 13, a fight fan’s dream will come to fruition. Former welterweight belt holder and banger, Antonio Margarito will take on current WBO welterweight strong man, Manny Pacquiaoin a junior middleweight showdown for the WBC bragging rights.
Margarito will enter this fight with not only a sizable advantage over his foe in physical stature, but also with a new teacher in former champion, Robert Garcia. With Garcia as his strategist,” Large Marge” will be armed with a trainer that won’t be so quick to utilize Antonio’s fan favorite style of “take three hits to give one” approach. “…before me, he (Margarito) just wanted to beat on somebody,” Garcia continued, he was like ‘wait till I hit you; you will feel me.’”
Garcia believes that his now infamous (reference the numerous accounts of Margarito’s loaded gloves and ultimate ban of him and his former trainer Javier Capetillo) pupil has learned and continues to grow under the trainer’s tutelage. “ Antonio has already learned so much under me. He’s doing things that he’s not done before like defense, head movement, and jabbing. Antonio looks and is far different than what people know him as from before.
“The world will see a different Margarito this time around. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to change him completely.“Garcia added, “If Manny wants to go to war, we will help him get his wish. Our focus is to box, but we are ready for a war if Manny wants to go there.”
In speaking with Top Rank boss, Bob Arum, he sized up the fight to me by saying, “John, Margarito will be the toughest and biggest guy Manny has ever fought plain and simple. That being said, the question that will be answered on fight night is going to be if Manny’s ability to fight with both hands and work his quick foot work be enough to overcome Antonio’s strength and heart?”
Many people believe that Margarito hasn’t proven himself worthy of winning the Pacquiao sweepstakes none more so than WBA super welterweight king Miguel Cotto’s newest trainer, Manny Steward.
In a phone conversation with me, Steward blasted Arum’s decision to pick Margarito as Pacquiao’s next opponent. “This fight shouldn’t be happening, John. Margarito got caught with loaded gloves and isn’t even licensed to fight. Bob (Arum) has his own agenda. It’s obvious. This fight should be judged by the fans and the media should question the validity of this poor decision.”
I agree with Steward’s views on the making of this fight, but I also believe his verbal venom is tainted since he has a stake in Cotto’s career.
Frankly, I don’t see this fight as being too competitive in the end. It’s no secret that Margarito has never had much side to side movement, and he has been fighting for too long to learn anything new. Margarito is Margarito. Much like Erik Morales, Israel Vazquez, and Rafael Marquez to name a few, they may preach and even want to show they can box, but in the end all it takes is one solid hit landed by their challenger and strategy goes out the window.
Margarito’s trainer said it best, “I don’t want see Antonio take three hits to give one. I want him to move his head and hands more.” Garcia added, “I want him to make Manny miss and make him pay, but Margarito is who he is and will always want to beat on somebody by going to war.”
I couldn’t have summarized this fight better myself Mr. Garcia. I have Pac winning by late stoppage.
In a forthcoming piece, I continue my interview with Manny Steward, Bob Arum, and Robert Garcia.In it, Steward handicaps a possible Mayweather/Pacquiao battle and the state of boxing today.That being said, who’s ready for November 13th?