Since Antonio Margarito was denied a license by the California Athletic Commission yesterday, the boxing media has been awash with different takes on the situation. Some are defending Margarito, either through making a case for his innocence, or merely arguing that he did his time and now deserves his license back.
Others are questioning whether his proposed November clash against Manny Pacquiao will now go down, and certainly promoter Bob Arum doesn’t have too many venue options remaining if the Texas commission follows suit and denies Margarito’s appeal.
One name now being touted is Juan Manuel Marquez , who Pacquiao has fought twice before, and who has been campaigning for a third fight with the 7 weight champion for several years.
Speaking to veteran reporter Ronnie Nathaniels, full report here, Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza said:
“that’s a fight people would like to see since Marquez is still crying for it. If he’s crying for a beating, let’s give it to him. In that way Manny will solidify the fact that he was bothered by the physical issues that he had at that time with his legs and his shoulder.”
And certainly, the odds against Marquez pulling an upset would be much longer even than the sizable odds Margarito or Joshua Clottey were given. That being said though a third fight would remove all doubt from those who claim that Marquez should have gotten the decision in either of the first two fights.
The only possible issue for Marquez would be that he will be stripped of his WBO lightweight title, after they ordered that he take on number one contender Michael Katsidis before the end of the year. Currently Maruez and his team are deciding on whether to vacate the title for a shot at WBA light welterweight champ Amir Khan or to remain at lightweight. Throw Pacquiao’s name into the mix as a possible opponent though and revenge hungry Marquez would surely have the papers signed and his title vacated in a matter of hours.
Also it isn’t entirely clear whether or not Top Rank and Golden Boy are on the best of terms after the latest fallout from the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather talks, and Bob Arum seemingly siding with Don King as he tries to usurp Golden Boy’s relationship with Floyd Mayweather. The idea of having to work together rather than have two lucrative in-house fights might also be less than appealing for the promotional behemoths.
Despite this though Golden Boy majority shareholder Oscar De La Hoya today announced his support for Pacquiao vs. Marquez III:
“Now that California didn’t grant Margarito his license, I want to make a case for Marquez. He has a license & is ready to fight!” -Oscar talking to Michael Woods of the TheSweetScience
The Marquez fight also has one more upside. If Pacquiao were to beat Marquez in a more impressive fashion than his arch rival Floyd Mayweather, no one could then continue to say that Floyd trounced an opponent Pacquiao struggled against, which is often used by some as reasoning that Mayweather would beat Pacquiao if the two ever did fight.
Lastly, Amir Khan and in fact all light welterweight fans should be pushing for the fight to happen so that Marquez is taken off the list of potential Khan opponents. Golden Boy chief Richard Schaefer said today that if Marauez is out, then Marcos Maidana is in as Khan’s December opponent, which is good news for everyone.
Margarito left out in the cold? Not so much
The one remaining question should Margarito and Pacquiao fall through is what does Bob Arum then do with Antonio Margarito? A fighter who still presently can’t fight in the United States and who without the proverbial carrot of a big money Pacquiao bout will probably find it even more difficult to regain his license.
Despite the fact that Margarito would be left on the sidelines for the time being, there are still plenty of other fights out there for him. A rematch against Miguel Cotto being the favorite option, who he beat in the 11th round of their 2008 bout. Similarly rematches against the likes of Paul Williams or Sergio Martinez are decent options.
Miguel Cotto takes on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in December, so to keep Margarito busy until Cotto is available, a returning Yuri Foreman would make for a good set up for a shot at Cotto’s title.
Claud Graham, Philly: “Marquez wouldn’t be a close fight, but at least he doesn’t cheat or get given fights he doesn’t deserve”
Stephan Cox, Pittsburgh: “Margarito is still the better opponent even if people don’t like him. If Pacquiao had taken on Marquez instead everyone would be saying he was ducking Margarito right now anyway”
The wider implications of Antonio Margarito being denied a license in California
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