by Paul Magno
In Lieu of my usual weekly rant, which would’ve focused heavily on Pacquiao-Margarito anyway, here are my final thoughts on the event:
* The announced attendance was around 41,000, which was outstanding for a US boxing card, but well short of the initial projections of 60 to 70 thousand; It was even about 20% shy of the announced attendance for Pacquiao-Clottey. (Of course, the actual paid attendance of Pacquiao-Clottey was around 36K, which could mean that, after taking away freebies, Pacquiao-Margarito could fall into the 30-31K range– not that you’ll ever see that in any of the “legit,” mainstream boxing sites.)
The figure had to be considered a disappointment to Top Rank, who rightfully assumed that Margarito would have a huge Mexican fan base to draw from in Texas.
Some rationalize that it was the casual fan that stayed away from this event.
However, others feel that it was the hardcore fans that actually stayed away. With the the novelty of attending a boxing show at Cowboys’ Stadium having worn off and looking at a 6 to 1 mismatch without a single prime-time, name fighter on the undercard, only fanatically pro-Pacquiao or pro-Margarito fans decided to attend. The rest of the dedicated fight fans found other ways to watch.
The pay per view numbers aren’t out yet, so there’s still a way for Top Rank to turn that frown upside down.
* Just an honest question here, but why didn’t Shane Mosley’s destruction of Margarito in January of 2009 get the same over the top adulation as Manny Pacquiao’s recent effort?
Mosley dominated Margarito to a greater degree, even stopping him in the ninth– And this was when Margarito was considered a “beast” and on the top of the world after having squashed Miguel Cotto a few months prior.
Could this be another case of the boxing media “telling” us what the story is, rather than just reporting it?
* Laurence Cole and Robert Garcia sure were brave on Saturday night.
It was absolutely appalling to see Margarito flailing away in the later rounds, with obviously nothing on his punches, getting caught flush time after time while referee Laurence Cole looked the other way and trainer, Robert Garcia, actively encouraged his fighter to not give up.
Forget that baloney about “Mexicans fighting to the death.” Robert Garcia’s job is to care for his fighters more than his own personal pride. He dropped the ball and in instances like this one, it could’ve been fatal. As it is, though, Margarito needs re-constructive surgery and he ended up absorbing several dozen (if not a hundred plus) unnecessary blows to the head.
* The story is already being written by the media. It is a story of redemption and re-acceptance of the “valiant” Margarito, who refused to give up, even while taking the beating of his life. Some have even painted it as Margarito “taking his penance” for past boxing sins.
But after running his mouth for months about not quitting like Oscar De la Hoya did against Pacquiao, was there any other option but to keep plugging forward?
Pacquiao didn’t have the one-punch power to stun Margarito on a consistent basis and with Robert Garcia telling him that his facial injuries were “the same” after each round, Margarito didn’t even know that he was in anything other than a one-sided schooling. He had no idea that he was being pummeled to a bloody pulp.
* What needs to be explored is the reason behind an inspector for the Texas Commission choosing to look the other way at Margarito’s possible ingestion of Hydroxycut, a banned stimulant, prior to the bout.
According to reps from Team Pacquiao, Margarito was seen about to ingest the substance and when they pointed this out to the representative of the commission, the inspector stated that it “was up to” Margarito whether he wanted to take it.
This is in keeping with the Texas Commission’s reputation, but there should at least be a pretense of running a clean ship.
* As to “How Good” Pacquiao is from a historical perspective: Count this victory over Margarito as similar in legend-defining importance as Sugar Ray Leonard’s win over Donny Lalonde. Impressive, but not the stuff legends are made of.
Until Pacquiao fights the actual, current consensus top dogs of his weight class(es), Pacquiao’s legend will continue to be defined by his bouts with Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, and Juan Manuel Marquez– And this should not be taken as a knock against Pacquiao at all.