Saturday, November 13, 2010
“It’s official. Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines has set history and once again he has proven to be the greatest pound by pound boxer in the world by knocking down a much bigger and taller fighter in Antonio Margarito. The congressman from the Philippines has now captured an unprecedented eighth weight class title by knocking down his Mexican opponent to earn the vacant WBC super-welterweight title.”
Ah, the above title and first three sentences is what every single Pacquaio fan including this blogger would like to see after the Pacquaio – Margarito fight tonight, at the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas. I’m not such a great fan of boxing. But after arriving in the United States in 2006, I have watched almost all of Pacquiao’s boxing matches. And, I’ve become a fan to the greatest and most exciting boxer in his generation. Who isn’t? Even at our Bible study last night, while our group settled down for dinner and discussions, the Pacquiao – Margarito was a non-stop topic. Even the nine-year old girl who prayed for the food ended her grace with “… Lord, please let Pacquiao win tomorrow”.
This evening after worship services, my family and I will be joining a group of friends to cheer on the Filipino boxer. We would certainly not be alone. Millions, yes millions of Pacquiao fans around the world will be watching live. Here in the United States, thousands of fans will gather around TV sets that will be featuring the fight – whether that’s going to be in a bar, or in the comfort of their own homes. In the Philippines, I am sure that traffic and life in general will slow down on Sunday morning while people pause and watch the greatest Philippine boxer in action. There’s a joke that even the crime rate goes down when Pacquiao fights.
I am also sure that plenty of Mexican fans will be watching tonight hoping to catch a glimpse of a remote Pacquiao defeat. Last year, when my family were at a USCIS office for the processing of our green cards, the Mexican guard had a conversation with my wife. Amongst other things they talked about, he said that Mexicans HATE the Filipino boxer. He said that Pacquiao is arrogant, not a good fighter, and should go back home to the Philippines and focus on boxing. We were just too polite to point out that maybe he felt that way because the Filipino champion has simply outclassed Mexican challengers again and again.
There are two things that concern me in the fight though – the height and weight advantage of Margarito, and Pacquaio’s preparation (or lack of it). Pacquaio will be conceding 4 ½ inches in height and 6 ½ inches in reach when he faces Margarito. He may also be as much as 15 lbs lighter than his opponent when the bell rings to start the first round. Pacquiao weighed in at a low 144 lbs on Friday, as compared to the 150 lbs of Margarito. Regardless of how skilled Pacquiao is, these are disadvantages that he probably hasn’t faced before.
The next concern is the noise in Pacquiao’s life. He was elected to the Philippine Congress last May and his training has been full of distractions. This is possibly the fight in recent history where he hasn’t put in the fully focused training he is known to do. Still, Pacquiao’s talent and heart has set him apart from other boxers in this generation, and it is this combination that has led him this far. I certainly hope that this is enough to allow me to check the headlines tonight and read the following: “Pacquiao KOs Margarito”.
Click on photo below for a preview: