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Margarito: I'm next for Manny, not Mayweather


PhilBoxing.com




DALLAS – Former IBF, WBA and WBO welterweight champion Antonio Margarito of Mexico yesterday proclaimed himself as Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent and said he would be a more viable opponent than Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Margarito, now trained by former IBF superfeatherweight titleholder Robert Garcia of Oxnard, hasn’t fought since losing to Sugar Shane Mosley over a year ago. He was suspended for at least a year by US boxing authorities after the fight when an examination showed there were traces of plaster in his handwraps.

But Margarito hopes to be reinstated sooner than later. He is not barred from fighting in Mexico and on May 8, will stage a comeback against lightmiddleweight Carson Jones in Aguascalientes.

Garcia, who was in Manila for two fights in Brian Viloria’s corner, said Top Rank is working to re-license Margarito in the US. The reinstatement is expected after his fight against Jones.

Cowboys Stadium owner Jerry Jones is reportedly keen on staging a Pacquiao-Margarito bout in the $1.2 billion facility in Arlington.

“Since my last fight, I’ve been working out every day so I haven’t put on weight during my suspension,” Margarito told The STAR. “I want to fight Manny. I want my title back. I’ll fight him anywhere, even in Manila. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Filipino fans. I would love to visit someday.”

As for Mayweather, Margarito said Pretty Boy has his work cut out for him in the fight against Mosley on May 1. He hesitated to predict an outcome, saying the fighter who is able to impose his style on the other will prevail. Clearly, Margarito has a lot of respect for the 38-year-old Mosley whom he lost to by technical knockout.

Margarito said Pacquiao won’t be able to bring down Clottey when they tangle at the Cowboys Stadium tomorrow morning (Manila time). In 2006, Margarito couldn’t floor Clottey and was content to retain his WBO 147-pound crown via a unanimous decision (116-112, 116-112, 116-109).

“Clottey’s a tough guy, very strong and very durable,” said Margarito. “He’s got a solid defense. His problem is he doesn’t throw too many punches. He waits for you to come in. I don’t think he’s a dirty fighter, that he intentionally fouls his opponents. But he does butt a lot because when he moves in, he leads with his head.”

Margarito said Pacquiao has too much speed, power and smarts for Clottey.

“Manny will hit him upstairs and downstairs,” said the Mexican warrior who stopped Miguel Cotto in 11 rounds and Golden Johnson in one. Even if Clottey has a tight defense, he won’t be able to stop Manny from landing.”

Margarito said it will be a hard fight for Pacquiao. “Manny won’t be able to bring Clottey down because he’s so much bigger but he’ll win by a unanimous decision,” said Margarito.

Garcia said Margarito will make life difficult for Pacquiao if and when they meet.

“He hasn’t fought in over a year so he’s hungry,” said Garcia. “We’ll see how he does against Jones then we’ll take it from there.”

Margarito said it’s not his concern what type of drug-testing is done for a fight.

“That’s up to the supervising commission,” said Margarito. “I don’t think it’s right for a fighter to insist on a type of drug-testing, like the Olympic-style random blood-testing. If that’s what the commission requires, then that’s what will be done. But for a fighter to insist on a test that the commission doesn’t require isn’t right.”

Margarito, who turns 32 on March 18, has a 37-6 record, with 27 KOs. He towers over Pacquiao by 4 1/2 inches at 5-11 and has a huge six-inch advantage in reach. Margarito’s wingspan is 73 inches compared to Pacquiao’s 67.

If for some reason, the much-awaited showdown between Mayweather and Pacquiao doesn’t materialize, Top Rank might just tap Margarito as the Filipino icon’s next opponent before the year ends.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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