August in Review: Why Pacquiao took fight with disgraced Margarito
He could have fought anyone,
He could have gone toe-to-toe with 6-foot former welterweight champion
He could have battled
He could have fought anyone, Manny Pacquiao, and he chose ...
A year and a half ago, a Pacquiao-Margarito fight would have created considerable buzz. Back then, Pacquiao was riding a wave of momentum after sending two of boxing's finest --
But a lot has changed in two years. Pacquiao, 31, is still on the rise, but Margarito, 32, has taken a precipitous fall. In January 2009, Margarito was caught trying to load his wraps with a plaster-like substance before his fight with
Texas did, however, which is why Pacquiao and Margarito will step into the ring Nov. 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and fight for the WBC super welterweight title.
The question is, Why?
Roach even helped persuade Pacquiao to accept any form of random drug testing. Not with a 24-day window. Not with a 14-day window. Any form of testing.
"I was stunned when he turned us down," Roach said. "I thought for sure we would have a deal."
They didn't, so Roach and Pacquiao had to move on. And Roach knew exactly which opponent to pursue. He didn't want Margarito. Roach is from the old school. A fighter who did what Margarito tried to do, Roach reasons, has no place in the sport.
"Personally, I wanted Marquez," Roach said. "I thought we beat Marquez both times, but I'd like to shut him up. I really would. A lot of people think Marquez has Manny's number. I think differently. I think we could knock him out this time."
Roach's lobbying for Marquez fell on deaf ears. A fight with Marquez meant cutting a deal with Golden Boy, Top Rank's arch-nemesis in the industry. Margarito, on the other hand, was in house and in desperate need of a big fight to regain his status in the sport.
On this, Pacquiao was silent. He could have vetoed the fight. Arum might have fought Roach, but if Pacquiao had stepped up and said he wanted no part of the notorious cheater, Arum would have listened. But Pacquiao didn't. In fairness, Pacquiao had wanted to fight Margarito for some time. In the days after his win over De La Hoya, Pacquiao prodded Roach with suggestions on how to beat Margarito.
"He really wanted it," Roach said. "He said he would destroy him."
By denying Margarito, Pacquiao could have sent a powerful message that cheaters will not be tolerated. It's a message Arum wasn't willing to send. Neither was HBO. The network won a 2010 Emmy award for
Now, HBO is prepared to support a man who attempted to do the same thing. The network will hype the fight with its Emmy-winning reality series,
Pacquiao could have stopped this. It wouldn't have cost him a nickel. The fans would show up for someone else. Some 51,000 fans came through the turnstiles to watch Pacquiao use
It's the biggest fight of the year, Pacquiao-Margarito. And at the same time, it's a fight no one wants to see. --
Requiem for a Light Flyweight? That may not have quite the resonance of the classic
Since turning pro on Feb. 17, 2001, the 5-foot Puerto Rican has run up a record of 34-1-1, while winning championships at 105 and 108 pounds. His record in title fights before he met Segura was 18-0-1. Never a big puncher (just six career KOs), Calderon built his success on speed and superbly smooth and methodical boxing.
The bout with Segura -- an action-packed brawl that some observers are calling a candidate for Fight of the Year -- was an anomaly for Calderon; he has always been far more about brilliant craftsmanship than about fireworks. He was, however, capable of a bit of flash when he wanted. Back in 2007, Freddie Roach brought Calderon into the gym to spar with Oscar De La Hoya, figuring it would do Oscar good to work with a smaller, faster boxer. Not so much.
"Calderon slapped Oscar around like it was unbelievable," Roach said later.
Whatever Calderon decides to do at this point, his legacy is secure as one of the finest in Puerto Rico's long line of world champions -- and as one of the true pound-for-very-few-pounds fighters of the last decade. --
Segura unified the junior flyweight tiles with his eighth-round stoppage of Calderon.