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Antonio Margarito looks poor against Jorge Paez Jr

Antonio MargaritoBy Dan Ambrose: Former Mexican star Antonio Margarito (39-8, 27 KOs) might want to think seriously about reconsidering the idea of his comeback from the sport after his poor showing last Saturday night against a flabby looking Jorge Paez Jr. (39-8-2, 23 KOs) at the Arena Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico.

Margarito, who will be turning 38-years-old this month on March 18, was almost knocked out by the 28-year-old Paez Jr. in the 6th round. Paez Jr. hurt Margarito with a right hand to the head and then dropped him with a follow up left to the head.

Margarito was able to get up, but he was badly hurt as he staggered backwards under the assault of Paez Jr. It was fortunate for Margarito that the knockdown came near the end of the 6th round, because he was able to make it out of the round. Paez Jr. isn’t a big puncher, and he wasn’t able to finish off Margarito the way that normal welterweight would do. A good welterweight would have blasted Margarito out right then and there.

Margarito ended up winning the fight the contest by a 10 round unanimous decision by the scores of 95-94, 97-93 and 96-93. I agreed with the 95-94 score. Margarito barely won the fight. Margarito had Paez Jr. hurt in the 10th and final round after flurrying on him. However, Margarito was throwing just arm punches, the same arm punches that used to knockout his opponents, but they appeared to have nothing on them. Paez Jr. was able to back away and dodge most of the arm punches Margarito was throwing in order to survive.

While you can say that Margarito would have done better if he had a few more fights under his belt before facing Paez Jr., I don’t think Margarito would do much better. The flaws that the soon to be 38-year-old Margarito showed in the fight, a lack of hand speed and power, would be a major problem for him if he were to face a high quality welterweight.

Margarito’s promoter Bob Arum said that he was going to watch his fight against Paez Jr. and make a decision whether to put him in with a better opponent or not. I suspect that Arum will go ahead and put Margarito in a big fight next despite the fact that he looked so poor. I think Arum will go ahead and throw Margarito in the ring with WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas in a fight that will likely be televised on HBO. I could be wrong, but I think Arum will look to make that fight next.

Last Saturday wasn’t the same Margarito that beat the likes of Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey and Kermit Cintron. Margarito looks slower now, and a lot weaker. His punching power was not there for him against Paez Jr. This is the same fighter that was knocked out just last year by Jose Benavidez and in the past by Ramon Guevara (7-11). Margarito’s shots couldn’t dent the chin of Paez Jr. except in the 10th, and even then it was an accumulation of punches.

If Arum is interested in stepping Margarito up against top level fighters, he should at least wait for him to get a couple of more fights under his belt rather than throwing him into the ring now with one of his Top Rank stable fighters. If Arum matches Margarito up against a good fighter now, it’s going to look a lot like a cash out fight similar to Margarito’s rematch with Cotto in 2011. That’s the fight Margarito took after being out of the ring for an entire year after undergoing three separate eye surgeries to repair a fractured right orbital bone, a detached retina and a cataract.

Why there wasn’t a tune-up fight for Margarito after those three surgeries is the big question. I don’t think it was fair to the boxing fans that paid to see the second Cotto-Margarito fight that Margarito took that fight without a tune-up so that fans could see whether or not his surgically repaired right eye would hold up under the pounding. It didn’t hold up as we saw in the Cotto vs. Margarito rematch, as it closed up quickly and caused the fight to be stopped after the 9th round.

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