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We scored the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito super welterweight fight Saturday night a perfect shutout for Manny, 12 rounds to zero for Margarito, and fully agree with Tim Smith of the Daily News, who wrote yesterday that “By the sixth round it ceased to be sport — there was nothing competitive about it.”
But we disagree with the vast majority of sportswriter who says that the fight left no questions unanswered. We have plenty that are unanswered, but we’ll confine our questions to two.
First, how does a fighter put on 15 pounds less than 48 hours? At Friday”s weigh-in Margarita came in at 150 pounds to Pacquiao’s 144.6. By the time they stepped into the ring late Saturday, Manny was 150 and Margarito was 165. Man, Margarito must have been firing back, “Si, si!” when they asked “Do you want those fries super-sized?”
Second, why is the sports press still pretending that there’s any doubt who the major draw would be in a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao championship fight? When Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran dickered over purse percentage some thirty years ago there was perhaps some reason to debate which fighter could put more meat in the seats, but that’s not the case here. Pacquiao has now drawn more than 85,000 live customers into Cowboys Stadium in his last two fights — is there anyone who thinks Mayweather could do that unless he was fighting Pacquiao?
Mayweather is a solid draw among boxing fans, but the PacMan has now overtaken him with American audiences and, in addition, has a huge following in the Philipiines — don’t sniff at that, it’s a nation of nearly 95 million people — and built up an enormous following with Latino fans in the America, two things which Mayweather cannot claims.
And here’s another: Pacquiao is also the most popular in the growing Asian market. If they ever fight and the gate percentages divided according to potential box office draw, it ought to be about 4:1 Pacquiao. Which, by the way, it what we would make the odds on a PacMan-Floyd fight.
Oh, yes, we do have one more question: How does referee Laurence Cole keep his license? In the 11th round, after battering Margarito all over the ring, shutting his eyes, bloodying his nose, and on the verge of causing damage that Margarito wasn’t going to walk away, Pacquiao mercifully turned to the ref — not once, but three times — and gestured for him to please stop the fight. Each time, Cole refused. What was he thinking — that Margarito would stage some sort of miracle comeback in the 12th and final round? What could Cole possibly have been that made him think that Margarito was not close to being badly hurt? What might have happened if Pacquiao hadn’t backed off in the late rounds of the fight? As it was, Margarito had to be taken to the hospital.
Be sure to watch the fight when HBO broadcasts the replay next week and see if you don’t agree. And we hope somebody from the World Boxing Council watches it when Cole’s license comes up for renewal.