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Boxing doesn’t need Pacquiao-Margarito shame
LOS ANGELES – Manny Pacquiao doesn’t like to take too many backward steps but he could have done himself, and boxing, a big favor by dropping his shoulder and swaying clear of anything to do with Antonio Margarito.
Pacquiao, tops on the Yahoo! Sports pound-for-pound poll and boxing’s biggest attraction, didn’t pull any punches when Tuesday brought the first verbal jousts for his bout with Margarito on Nov. 13.
It's Congressman Pacquiao these days.
Yet by admitting that he believes, contrary to Margarito’s repeated assertions, that the Mexican had full knowledge of the illegal hand wrap that earned him a year-long ban from the sport and ruined his reputation, Pacquiao actually painted himself in a bad light.
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For now he is a conspirator in this ugly spectacle that will only serve to sully boxing’s name further. Pacquiao-Margarito doesn’t yet have one of those chest-puffing titles (sometimes catchy, sometimes catastrophic) that form part of the public sales pitch. But how about this for a slogan: this is the fight that boxing doesn’t want, doesn’t need and shouldn’t have.
If Pacquiao believes deep down that Margarito willingly attempted to cheat in a filthy and potentially deadly manner before his January 2009 fight with Shane Mosley, then there is no excuse for offering him a share of the spotlight and a seven-figure payday.
The allegation of hardened hand-wrapping – Margarito has repeatedly offered the flimsy defense that he didn’t know what was on his hands, ignoring the fact that he should have known – is no small matter.
It is a sporting crime as sickening as steroid abuse and carries the extra horror of potentially inflicting extreme physical damage to an opponent.
“He is the one who wraps his hands and he doesn’t know what’s in there?” said Pacquiao, speaking at an event in Beverly Hills, Calif., to promote the fight. “Of course he knows. What do you think? My belief is he knows that. He is just making some kind of alibi.”
Margarito was banned from boxing for a year after an illegal wrap was discovered around his fists just before his defeat to Mosley. He proclaimed his innocence but was still denied a license to fight in California when he recently applied.
Texas took the dubious stance of granting him a license, meaning he will fight Pacquiao in front of around 70,000 at Cowboys Stadium.
Shame on Texas authorities for allowing him in. And shame on Pacquiao, too, for signing off on this nonsense.
Promoter Bob Arum offered Pacquiao a rematch with Miguel Cotto and fights could also have been made with Andre Berto or Timothy Bradley, respected and honorable champions.
Margarito at Tuesday's announcement in Beverly Hills.
However, those bouts would have given him a slightly smaller payday. There is the feeling, too, that Margarito’s aggressive, pressing style will play right into Pacquiao’s hands.
But that doesn’t make it right.
Has Margarito gotten the nod not in spite of the ruling against him, but because of it? Is this matchup seen, in that often-misguided world of matchmaking, as enticing because it can be billed as good versus evil?
Sadly, it appears so, and it represents astoundingly poor taste.
This may go down as boxing’s “lost” year. Entering 2010 the sport seemed to have so much to look forward to, with the prospect of Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr squaring off just one tantalizing probability.
The fault for the collapse of that fight rests primarily with Mayweather, but those frustrations offer no excuse for this decision by Pacquiao.
A cheat lining his pockets so soon after a despicable incident of sporting shame leaves another stain upon the fight game.
Pacquiao had the power to prevent it and chose not to.
Martin Rogers is a staff writer for Yahoo! Sports. Send Martin a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
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It is just a fight nothing more, I am sure the business will be fine and it could be an alright fight (although i ahve my doubts about that).
I don't think it hurts the sport at all, unless some crazy **** happeans but aside form lining the pockets of those involved (which is important) I don't think it brings much to the sport.
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Can't be a Horus article ...
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