Boxing fans around the world are waiting anxiously for the Manny Pacquiao vs Antonio Margarito WBC Super Welterweight championship bout Nov. 13 at Cowboys stadium in Dallas. The debates about who’s going to win have been raging for weeks, ever since the fight became official.
Naturally there are millions of fans picking Filipino congressman Pacquiao to win his eighth title in eight weight classes and millions of others are backing the bigger and heavier Margarito of Mexico to emerge victorious. But while fans are showing allegiance to their favorite fighter by predicting a winner, most of them are forgetting about the third possible scenario in this fight. The one where nobody wins.
It’s quite possible that neither Pacquiao nor Margarito will win this fight on Saturday night -- it could very well end up in a draw. It’s a possibility most fans haven’t considered, but if anybody saw the Jr. welterweight tilt between Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse on Nov. 6, it’s easy to see how close big fights can be. Judah managed to pull out a split decision win by scores of 114-113, 114-113, and 113-114, in a pretty controversial fight that could have gone either way (or even).
If both fighters live up to their potential we could see Pacquiao vs Margarito end in a close decision or a draw on the scorecards of the three judges. While Pacquiao is generally regarded to have the speed advantage, it could be negated by Margarito’s weight and size. And when it comes to power, it could be a tossup as Pacquiao’s moving up in weight and it could affect his punching power.
Pacquiao fought to draws earlier in his career when he went toe-to toe for 12 rounds with another tough Mexican, Juan Manuel Marquez, back in May of 2004. Meanwhile, on Nov. 10, 2001, he was held to a six-round technical draw against Agapito Sanchez of the Dominican Republic. The Sanchez fight was a wild affair where Pacquiao was cut by a head butt in the second round and was then nailed by a couple of low blows.
Sanchez was deducted two points, but Pacquiao was butted again in the sixth round and the referee decided he was cut so bad he couldn’t continue. After tallying up the scorecards, the fight was called a technical draw with Pacquiao ahead by four points on one card, down by two on another and even on the third.
Against Marquez, the fight was a classic. Pacquiao had the Mexican down three times in the first round, but couldn’t finish him off. What could have been a first-round annihilation, turned out to be a 12-round war. But while it’s not uncommon to see a bit of a variance in judges’ scorecards because some of them prefer aggression and others prefer boxing skills, the scoring in the Marquez fight was all over the place with one judge giving it to Pacquio 115-110, one scoring it 113-113 and the third one favoring Marquez by 115-110. When looking at the 115-110 scores for each fighter, that’s basically a swing of 10 rounds and one wonders if the judges were watching the same fight.
This goes to show that anything can happen in a fight. We’ve seen some ridiculous decisions in the past in world title fights, with fighters getting shafted. Lennox Lewis completely dominated Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight title back in March of 1999, only to be robbed of a victory when the bout was called a draw.
The only sure fire way for Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) or Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs) to have their hand raised in victory is to win by a stoppage. Anything less and we might not see a winner at all on Nov. 13.