New York – There was the usual pro boxing spectacle Wednesday afternoon at the Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. The New York portion press conference brought to you by Top Rank announcing the November 13 HBO pay-per-view telecast. The return of Antonio Margarito in the ring opposing seven-division champion Manny Pacquiao for the super welterweight championship
But Pacquiao wasn’t the center of attention, even if he is going for an unprecedented eighth title in another division at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Texas. Margarito returns to the ring after sitting out the past year due to a suspension from using tainted hand wraps in a title fight with Shane Mosley.
Margarito was recently denied reinstatement by the California State Athletic Commission. They were the governing body that imposed the suspension based on allegations and further investigation of the gloves, and wraps that Margarito used after he lost the WBA welterweight title to Mosley in Los Angeles.
So with Nevada, also out of the picture, Texas granted Margarito another chance. Top Rank was looking to keep their champion Pacquiao busy who also doubles up as a congressman in the Philippines. There is a sentiment that Pacquiao will easily win this fight. Of course, Margarito thinks otherwise as he also fights for his credibility.
“Everything is in the past and now I am in the present,” said Margaritio at the podium with an array of his Mexican supporters cheering in the gallery. “I want to thank Manny for taking this fight. It’s time to show everyone that I am still very good,” he said.
And nothing else said about one of the major mistakes made by a fighter. You have to know that your hands are being wrapped the wrong way, or that something such as plaster is being put under the wraps. Margaritio will claim innocence, so will his disposed trainers who have been handed a lifetime suspension in the states.
“You have to know, every fighter knows what’s going on but you have to give a second chance,” was the way Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach put it. Roach is respected as the best boxing trainer in the business. So he should know what goes under the boxing gloves.
But boxing goes on, and so does the mega fight that the business surly needs. Both fighters are promoted by Top Rank. Pacquiao is the major draw in boxing and once again goes for history as he awaits the hopeful showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. that could happen in the spring.
“When Floyd runs out of money, the fight will happen,” said Roach with a chuckle about the on and off again fight with Mayweather. “We will have a good training camp and go with the plan to defeat Margarito.
Said Pacquiao, (51-3-2, 38 KO’s) who returns to Cowboys Stadium for a second fight, after easily defeating Joshua Clottey back in March, defending his WBO welterweight title, “Sure he’s a cheater but I am looking for an interesting and exciting fight. He has the capability to give a good show and he is a fighter that is impressive and a talented fighter.”
Fighters like Miguel Cotto, the former welterweight champion and current super welterweight title holder can vouch how powerful Margaritio is. Cotto was pounded and dethroned by Margarito out in Las Vegas in July 2008. Cotto’s face a mess from a Margarito pounding that had everyone discounting Cotto’s ability and bragging about Margarito’s power.
So give Margarito the benefit of doubt. The three-time world champion (38-6, 27 KO’s) from Tijuana Mexico was going about his business. Or for the lore of glory went with the plan and did what the trainers asked. Boxing, not like baseball and other sports is at fault because there is no regulation with a national commissioner.
In the meantime we wait for a fight in November, though not having the implications that a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight will have. Margarito will return to the ring and get his share of accolades and criticism from the expected crowd of 50,000 in Texas.
Are we to accept Margarito again as a great fighter? Pacquiao will eventually tell the story on November 13th.
e-mail Rich Mancuso: [email protected]