Sunday, March 26, 2023  |


Margarito will receive further punishment in the ring


Some people embraced the news that Antonio Margarito was licensed in Texas and will face Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 13 at Cowboys Stadium.

They believe him when he says he didn’t know his gloves were loaded before his fight against Shane Mosley — even though it seems every fighter in the world says he had to know — and that his 15-month banishment from boxing was sufficient punishment.

Others are angry that a fighter who did the unthinkable — attempt to fight with hardened knuckle pads — will have missed two fights at the most and now earn a seven-figure payday that will more than compensate for any lost wages.

To these people, boxing has reached a new low.

However, I suggest here that no one boycott this fight because those aghast that it’s happening will receive a substantial consolation prize on fight night: Margarito will receive the beating of a lifetime.

In terms of competitiveness, this is a terrible matchup. In terms of action, it’s a dream come true — although the action will be brutally one-sided.

We saw what happened when Margarito, minus the doctored gloves, fought Mosley in January of last year. A 37-year-old who soon afterward showed that he has declined destroyed the rugged Mexican, brutally knocking him out in the ninth round.

Mosley was too fast and too good even in old age.

And now he’s fighting Pacquiao? The Filipino marvel is 31 and in his prime. He might or might not punch as hard as Mosley at welterweight — Miguel Cotto would probably lean toward the former — but he clearly is faster and better than Mosley at this point in their careers.

And forgive the clich├® but styles really do make fights. Could Margarito have a better style for Pacquiao? He knows how to fight one way: He stalks his opponent, walking directly into danger. Somewhere Pacquiao is licking his lips in anticipation.

Some might point to Margarito’s pummeling of Cotto as an example of what the Mexican is capable of doing to a quick, talented fighter. That was more than two years ago, though. Margarito looked ordinary against journeyman Roberto Garcia in his only fight since California revoked his license.

And we wonder about his gloves in that fight. Plus, Cotto is no Pacquiao.

Many will point out the size factor: Margarito is a big, strong welterweight while Pacquiao is probably a natural junior welterweight.

How many times do we have to go over this? Size is only a factor when the talent level of the fighters is roughly equal. In this case, the gap in talent is wider than the ocean that separates Mexico and the Philippines.

Pacquiao probably can’t take Margarito out with one punch — who could? — but the sacrificial lamb will be hit by an accumulation of punches that almost assuredly will leave him a bloody heap on the canvas before the end of the scheduled 12 rounds.

Imagine a man walking into the whirling propeller of a plane. That’s what’s in store for Margarito.

For the record, I don’t wish this on Margarito. The fact he was about to fight Mosley with loaded gloves was borderline criminal and certainly reprehensible but he’s a friendly guy. You want to believe him when he says he didn’t know — even if you’re convinced he did.

No one in their right mind wants to see him suffer serious injuries.

However, when Pacquiao tears him to pieces, a part of all the angry people who don’t believe he deserves this opportunity, will smile and think to themselves: “He had that coming.”

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]