When Manny Pacquiao steps into the ring against Antonio Margarito Nov. 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas he’ll be at a significant disadvantage in terms of size and weight. Neither of the fighters will shoot up in height before the fight, but it’s a different story when it comes to their weight.
While the fight is for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight Championship, which has a maximum limit of 154 lbs., the two camps have agreed to a catch-weight of 151 lbs. This would appear to favor the smaller Pacquiao, who started his pro career in 1995 fighting at 106 lbs. But Margarito is used to fighting at about 150 lbs. and once weighed in at 157 back in 1999. The 32-year-old Mexican also weighed 154 lb. in May when he faced Roberto Garcia -- and the former WBO, WBA, and IBF Welterweight champion has fought at or above 150 lbs. on a few other occasions.
Pacquiao has fought in the welterweight division just twice, but came in under the 147 lb. limit both times. In fact, the heaviest he’s weighed in for a bout has been 145 ¾ lbs. against Joshua Clottey in March. A few pounds here and there might not seem significant in most sports, but it can be just the opposite in boxing.
True, we see a huge difference in weight in a lot of heavyweight fights, but the affect of weight distribution is very important in smaller fighters. Some boxers move up to higher weight divisions and simply come into the ring as blown-up or bloated versions of themselves. One thing for certain is the 31-year-old WBO Welterweight Champion Pacquiao will enter the ring against Margarito at the heaviest of his career.
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But you'd think trainer Freddie Roach and the rest of Team Pacquiao have the expertise to know what weight suits him best. When Pacquiao added a bit of beef in the early parts of training camp he didn’t carry the weight well and appeared sluggish. Promoter Bob Arum and Roach were concerned his speed was being compromised due to the added weight.
Roach realized his fighter needed to work on speed, and it was reported that Pacquiao lost a few pounds while doing this. It’s no secret the Filipino has to use his quickness and agility to get in and out against Margarito. If he’s too heavy, and can’t slip and slide out of harm’s way, he could become a sitting duck for Margarito’s heavy punches. It’s important that Roach figures out the right balance when it comes to weight and makes sure Pacquiao doesn’t deviate from it. He needs find just the right combination of speed and power.
Margarito’s also facing a tough decision. While he may weigh in at 151 lbs. it’s not inconceivable that he enters the ring anywhere up to 165 lbs. after rehydrating. If he comes in too heavy he should have the advantage in power, but won’t be able to match Pacquaio’s speed and pace. This will lead to Pacquiao getting in and out with quick combinations before Margarito knows what’s hit him.
It’ll be interesting to see how heavy they are on fight night. But for now, we’ll just have to weight and see.
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Bet365.com has Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) favored with odds of -350 while Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs) is listed at +550 and a draw at +2800. TheGreek.com has Pacquiao at -475 and Margarito at + 480.