By Chris Williams: Freddie Roach doesn’t see the Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito bout as being a difficult one for Pacquiao, and thinks that Pacquiao has got too much skills for the taller 5’11″ Margarito. Speaking in their recent press conference, Roach said the usual lines that he’s been saying for weeks. “The bigger he is the better it is for us. Size doesn’t win fights, skill does and we outweigh them in that department. This will not be a difficult fight for us.” That sounds nice when you first read it, but then when you wonder why Pacquiao hasn’t fought Paul Williams or Sergio Martinez, both around the same height as Margarito, you’re left with the impression that Roach is blowing smoke up people’s backsides with his comments about size not mattering.
Size does matter, because if it didn’t Pacquiao and his team wouldn’t be insisting on a 150 pound catch-weight for the fight. And I don’t know that Margarito is going to win this fight, because he looked awful last year in losing to Shane Mosley and looked little better in beating fringe junior middleweight contender Roberto Garcia in his last fight in May. But it sure makes you wonder why Pacquiao is being matched up against a struggling fighter like Margarito instead of guys that are still fighting well like Martinez and Williams.
The time to match Pacquiao up against Margarito is long past due, as long as two years late for this fight. Margarito was at the top of his game two years ago, but he’s on the slide now and it doesn’t really make sense Pacquiao being put in with him rather than than a better fighter. It seems like a nice case of cherry picking at it’s finest. The catch-weight only makes it even easier for Pacquiao to win.
When you match up different opponents, you have to look at what direction the different fighters are going in at the time of the match-up to predict the outcome of the fight. In looking at Pacquiao and Margarito, it seems like they’re going in different directions right now. Pacquiao is still fighting well, albeit against guys that are struggling. While Margarito hasn’t looked good in two years since beating Miguel Cotto in July 2008. What does that tell you about this fight? It tells me that they’ve got a guy they think they can beat and that’s why Margarito has been selected for this fight instead of the similarly sized Martinez or Williams.