By Chris Robinson
The great thing about any notable HBO pay-per-view event is that no matter your fondness towards the matchup itself, you can always count on either an excellent countdown feature or the outstanding 24/7 series that unveils a closer look into the lives of the prizefighters as they prepare for their moment with destiny. This past Saturday night, the first episode of Pacquiao-Margarito 24/7 debuted and the premier had its share of worthwhile moments.
From Pacquiao’s newfound involvement in congress, Margarito’s rejuvenation alongside new trainer Robert Garcia, and the verbal doses from trainer Freddie Roach, the moments were fairly telling.
Pacquiao’s love for congress
The early scenes of the show took us to Baguio City in the Philippines and gave us a look inside Manny Pacquiao’s preparation as he gears up for the November 13th clash to be held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. What instantly stood out was just how involved Pacquiao is with his new political role as the congressman of the district of Sarangani.
Roach noted that for the first few weeks of camp Pacquiao’s mind was preoccupied with his congressional duties and seemed slightly concerned. Roach also noted that he is sure the boxing world will one day lose Pacquiao to congress.
Margarito pleads his innocence
One of the big storylines surrounding the fight is the hand wrap controversy that fell upon Margarito in early 2009. Prior to his bout with Shane Mosley, Margarito was caught with elements of plaster of paris in his hand wraps and later suspended a year by the California State Athletic Commission. It was a discovery that shattered Margarito’s reputation in the sport.
Speaking on the matter further, Margarito insisted his innocence and claimed that he didn’t know what his trainer Javier Capetillo was up to. Given their take on the matter, both Roach and Pacquiao claimed that Margarito had to have known that what was taking place was illegal.
Pacquiao reportedly got off to a slower than expected start in camp but during the clips he seemed to be fast and committed with his training. Pacquiao was seen sparring bigger men in Mexican Michael Medina and New Jersey prospect Glen Tapia and was able to cope with their advantages in size by using his speed and quickness.
Margarito’s care free nature
The one thing that stood out about Magarito during his interviews was just how relaxed and calm he appears in front of the camera and in training. Teaming up with Garcia has seemed to give him a newfound focus and you can sense just how much he believes in his abilities.
Margarito has a sense of conviction with his words and said time and time again how this is the perfect opportunity for his career. The highlight of his career was his July 2008 thrashing of Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and he will have to be better than he was on that night to pull out a victory.
Although the fascination of a fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. has tapered off severely, a 24/7 on the Filipino star wouldn’t be complete without mention of the undefeated Las Vegas stalwart. Various images of Floyd were shown as the narrator mentioned the two fallouts that took place between both camps.
Asked for his take on the situation Pacquiao said his career would be fine without a Mayweather fight and seemed to scoff at the notion that Floyd’s accomplishments were anywhere near his own.
Antonio Margarito's wife Michelle
Antonio’s wife Michelle was featured on the show and discussed just how hard the past year and half has been on her and her husband. Married for over twelve years, Michelle is a regular at Antonio’s training camps and seems to keep him at ease. Speaking on what the fight means to her husband’s career, Michelle feels that a sense of karma will be in play.
“It was really tough, what Tony went through last year,” she said. “He’s had some trying times. I think at the end of our paths there is always a light. And that light is shining brightly now. They say that when something bad happens, that something good follows. That’s what I think is happening to Tony right now.”
hris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. An archive of his work can be found here, and he can be reached at Trimond@aol.com