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Pacquiao vs. Margarito: A fight two years too late

Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao boxing photo and news imageBy Chris Williams: The Antonio Margarito vs. Manny Pacquiao is Top Rank promoter Bob Arum’s brainchild, a fight that would have been a sensational fight two years ago back in 2008 when Margarito was looking great with wins over Miguel Cotto and Kermit Cintron. But things have changed dramatically since that time. Margarito, 32, was caught with loaded gloves before his fight against Shane Mosley last year in 2009, and subsequently was easily beaten in a 9th round TKO loss to Mosley. Margarito looked like a 2nd tier fighter in that bout, and wasn’t even competitive with the 38-year-old Mosley. Then in Margarito’s next fight against an obscure junior middleweight contender Roberto Garcia, Margarito again looked average, but was able to pick up a win despite getting really hammered by Garcia in that fight.

From the looks of Margarito in that fight and his fight against Mosley, he appears to be on a huge downward slide in terms of his skills. However, rather than look for a more palatable option for Pacquiao, such as possible fights against Juan Manuel Marquez, Sergio Martinez or Paul Williams, Arum selected Margarito, one of his fighters from his Top Rank stable to fight. Pacquiao, 31, could have said no to Arum’s pick, but instead wanted to fight Margarito for some reason that’s still unknown. You have to wonder why Arum would want to have Pacquiao fight against Margarito, a fighter that’s not nearly as popular as Marquez when the fight likely won’t bring anywhere near the same kind of money that a third fight between Marquez and Pacquiao would.

This is the second fight in a row where Pacquiao is being matched against an opponent that the majority of boxing fans aren’t keen on seeing in there with Pacquiao. In his last fight, Pacquiao was matched against Joshua Clottey in March. Pacquiao’s pay per view numbers dropped off, as you would expect, from over a million to 700,000. There likely wouldn’t have been any drop off if a better opponent had been selected for Pacquiao than Clottey. And now Arum had picked Margarito in another fight that will likely bring in less money that a fight against another opponent.

Arum is late on this fight, about two years too late. It’s really bad timing, both with Margarito’s seemingly decline in boxing ability and with his hand wrap scandal where he lost his boxing license for a year. He’s now got his license back courtesy of the Texas Athletic Commission.

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