Media members packed Rodeo Room at a plush Beverly Hills Hotel on early Tuesday afternoon as Top Rank’s boss Bob Arum announced an upcoming event, a WBC super welterweight championship bout between pound for pound king Manny”Pacman” Pacquiao and former welterweight king Antonio” The Tijuana Tornado” Margarito.
The twelve round contest, where Manny will have a chance to earn his 8th world title in as many weight divisions, will take place on November 13th, 2010 at the newly built Dallas Cowboys stadium and will be televised live in United States, Canada and Puerto Rico via HBO Pay Per View.
Since previous WBC super welterweight champion Sergio Martinez moved up to win a middleweight crown, World Boxing Council sanctioned Margarito Pacquiao as a world title bout and displayed a special edition belt that will be presented to the winner. WBC issued a statement :” It gives great pleasure to the World Boxing Council to see the honest, respectful and positive attitude of the Texas Boxing Commission as they issued Mexican fighter, Antonio Margarito, a boxer´s license, and he will be able to fight Manny Pacquiao this coming November 13th, at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, in Texas. The bout between Pacquiao and Margarito will be a fight that will stir up interest in all the world, as both of them are elite boxers.”
“Cowboys are setting up the stadium for 70,000 seats,” said Bob Arum, who believes it will be sold out:”Which would make this the biggest live gate in U.S. in recent times.” That would break a record set in 1978 in Muhammad Ali- Leon Spinks rematch at Superdome in Louisiana that drew 63,350 fans.
Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters, has been showing special support for Antonio Margarito in connection with the illegal hand wrap scandal that resulted in Margarito loosing his license to box in California early last year. In lieu of the way Southern California Athletic Commission treated Margarito, Arum refuses to promote any fights in California. “Antonio Margarito did not know that there was anything illegal in his wraps,” stated Arum from the podium:” There was not one shred of evidence about his knowledge. Evidence determines guilt or innocence and there was not one shred of evidence that Antonio Margarito knew anything about hand wraps and I am very pleased that we brought up justice.”
“I believe he knew,” said Pacquiao when asked about his opponent after the press conference: “He’s the one who wraps his hands.” Pacman called the “Tijuana Tornado’s” problem with illegal hand wraps “a mistake.” “People are worried about me fighting this guy because he’s a dirty fighter because of the hand wrapping,” Pacquiao said. “I said, ‘Give him one more chance, one chance to be straight.’ … He’s just human and he made a mistake.”
And when asked why he chose to fight Margarito, whose name has been marred with controversy, Pacquiao said; “I am just a fighter doing my job. He is a tough opponent, much bigger and stronger than me and it is going to be a great fight. His style is very aggressive. Both of us will train very hard to give a good show on November 13th.”
Manny’s long time trainer and confidant Freddie Roach was not present at a press conference due to him being in the corner of Viacheslav Senchenko, who was fighting for a WBA welterweight title at Lenin Square in Donetsk Ukraine. Instead, Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning Coach Alex Ariza promised a fight of the year on November 13th. “I think this fight will boil down to speed again,” Ariza said. “Manny won’t sit in front of him. Margarito doesn’t move well; everyone knows that. Manny said Margarito throws a punch on Tuesday and it gets there on Friday. If Manny sees it like that, he already knows what he’s going to do.”
When I asked Manny what he thought about boxers coming out of Russia and Ukraine, he said: “I met a few of them at the Wild Card Gym. They come from a good school and they are hungry. I know I have a lot of fans in Russia. I thank them for their support and I hope they will get to see my fight with Margarito on November 13th, because there will be a lot of action in the ring. All I can say is please watch. It is going to be a great fight.” Talking about Russian fighters I mentioned that great Kostya Tszyu once said that if he returned to boxing he wanted to face Pacman. I asked Pacquiao how he felt about that.” He is too old,” replied Manny with a shy smile:” he shouldn’t fight any more. I don’t want to hurt him.”
Pacquiao did not want to talk about Mayweather and when asked if he would be ok if he never fought him, said: “I would be more than Ok!”
Margarito’s new trainer, former world champion Roberto” Grandpa” Garcia exuded a quiet confidence and praise for both combatants.” Pacquiao is a great fighter,” said Garcia, who has been training Margarito in Oxnard, California:” But we are going to surprise everyone and make history.”
“This is going to be a huge fight!” concluded Tony Walker of HBO, the company that will promote the event with their famed 24/7 series that will follow the lives and training of both fighters.