Muhammad Ali once said “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” With only a week before Manny Pacquiao trade leathers with Antonio Margarito, you just could not stop counting and marking each day with an “X” as November 13 is fast approaching. I do not know if this is going to be a competitive fight but this is definitely a war and Margarito heads the pack with a mark on his forehead “All to gain and nothing to lose…”
You just have to wonder the anomaly of the equation: loaded hands + one year ban + lackluster fight with Roberto Garcia = Mega Manny fight. No, there was no justice here. There are a lot of deserving fighters out there who work hard to get to the top.
Allow me to enumerate the top 10 boxers we would like Manny to fight more than Margarito:
10. Vanes Martirosyan
Yes, he is the amateur boxer who has the speed, the power and the good conditioning that Freddie Roach was talking about, the same boxer who said he will knock Manny out in sparring and get his $1000 bounty. In paper, this fight would never materialize but this would have been a pretty good matchup for Manny, matching him with his speed and power. In other words, there would be fireworks… lots and lots of fireworks for this fight.
9. Miguel Cotto
Everybody deserves a second chance and for Cotto, this is winning the light middleweight title from Yuri Foreman. Manny could challenge for Cotto’s belt for an unprecedented eight division world title.
Manny’s first fight with Cotto was a total domination but the early rounds were very competitive. Cotto could have sticked to his game plan and the fight could have been a close one. I cannot blame him with all of those punches coming in from weird angles. Margarito may have held an international belt and will soon be fighting for that of the World but Cotto is the legit champion and he fought Foreman to get to the top. nothing is worth deserving than that.
8. Andre Ward
This fight might be biting more than Manny could chew. Ward is a super middleweight and is a lot bigger and stronger than any fighter Manny will ever face. He is undefeated and fought quality opponents like Mikkel Kessler and Edison Miranda and had a 59 percent KO ratio. He is a decorated amateur fighter and a two time US national Champion. Manny has sparred bigger guys like Ward but not without a protective gear. Nothing is impossible and we have been on that road before when Manny fought Oscar De La Hoya but I do not think Roach will ever go that deep.
7. Andre Berto
The true welterweight fighter who has been competing in this division since day one, Andre has the power to knock Manny out. He was always the high risk low reward fighter and always had trouble in finding credible fighters to fight him. Shane Mosley could have been his golden ticket but unfortunately the fight never materialized. A fight with Manny could have been a good unification fight and a vindication for the respect he truly deserved.
6. Amir Khan
It is no secret that Khan has the intention of fighting Manny after being a constant sparring partner to him. He had taken Manny’s biggest shot and came out still standing (a feat Cotto and Hatton could not do). Freddie Roach has high regards to Khan’s talent as the latter brings out the best in Manny. If this fight will happen, I would be left wondering in what corner Roach will stand.
5. Sergio Martinez
He may have lost to Antonio “Tony” Margarito 10 years ago but who knows, Tony may have had loaded gloves when they fought. Sergio fought Paul Williams to a 12 round battle and almost won that fight. A pressured fighter, Manny could fight fairly well against Sergio. He may be bigger but Manny is a lot faster.
4. Timothy Bradley
The “Desert Storm” is undefeated and has openly made a challenge to Pacquiao, calling for him to “Come break down this wall”. He gave the former undefeated Lamont Peterson his first loss. He had trouble against hard hitting Kendal Holt so Bradley might be in for a long night against a bigger and powerful puncher like Manny. Maybe this time would be the first time Bradley’s wall will be broken.
3. Paul Williams
He is a freak of nature. At 6-foot-1, he could squeeze in into the welterweight division without a sweat. Being one of the top five-pound-per-pound fighters by the ring magazine, Paul could give anybody “trouble”, especially with his freakish 82-inch reach. A fight with Manny would be a David and Goliath matchup. There is a little chance of Manny winning that fight and the most avoided fighter in the world will once again live up to his name.
2. Juan Manuel Marquez
The last two fights he had with Manny were a very close call and the fights could go either way. Marquez deserves a trilogy with Manny and Manny needs to shut him out. Manny has no intentions of going down the Welterweight limit so Juanma might have to go a division higher. People will still be intrigued on the outcome of this fight although Manny will have a shorter workout against a bloated 37 year old fighter.
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
He is the primary reason why Margarito got this much-awaited fight with Manny and the one reason I ranked Mayweather Jr. the topmost fighter I would like to see Manny fight. This could have been the fight everybody wanted to see and the fight that could break all “Pay-per-view” blockbuster records. Hopefully, next year would be the year for boxing and all I want to say to both fighters is: “sign the damn papers!” and let us get the punches coming.