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Geno’s Boxing Corner: Manny Pacquiao – Antonio Margarito & the Shannon Briggs Situation

By Geno McGahee

Manny Pacquiao’s Greatest Hits

As usual, daytime TV is horrible, so I went to my “On Demand” feature that the cable company provides and saw that HBO has put out the “Greatest Hits” of Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito.

The Manny Pacquiao highlights were interesting to see because of the drastic weight gain over the years.  It’s hard to believe that he was 125 pounds when he first made his presence known to the majority of the boxing fans with a destruction of Marco Antonio Barrera.  Pacquiao is one of the few fighters that can gain weight and get stronger and become a better fighter.  The Pacquiao memory lane stroll was entertaining, but then we got to the Antonio Margarito “Greatest Hits.” 

As expected, HBO totally glossed over the plaster of Paris in his hand wraps, referring to it as an “illegal substance” briefly and quickly moving on.  Shown were his victories over Miguel Cotto and Kermit Cintron and a few others and when you watch them and you realize just why Margarito was so effective, your stomach has to turn.  I would bet my house that Margarito has been using plaster on his hand wraps well before he was caught and that is the main reason why Cintron and Cotto crumbled. 

HBO presents it as an isolated incident and focuses on the heart and determination of Margarito.  They have stuck their hands into the garbage and want the cash as well. Margarito has gotten a pass and they are building him up for Pacquiao to knock down.  What they also tried to accomplish was to insinuate that Margarito lost to Mosley because of the prefight confusion and some of that may be correct, but the main reason he lost was because he wasn’t allowed to put bricks in his glove that time. 

HBO is just about ready to launch their 24/7 coverage of the fight to further build up the PPV buys and I’m sure it will generate interest and a big buy rate, but how anyone can justify Margarito returning to boxing and being allowed to make a bundle is beyond me.  Those that love to tear down the sport have plenty of ammunition with this fight. 

To beat a dead horse, I will once again ask you to not rent the fight and send the message to the promoters and networks that we will not support a guy like Margarito.  HBO is going to show the fight the following Saturday, most boxing sites will be having quick results and some will have round by round.  Save your money and purchase something that will reward those that have worked for it rather than those that found every shortcut regardless of what it could have done to the opposition. 

When to Say When

I want to start off by saying “thank you” to ESPN for picking up both the Lucian Bute/Jesse Brinkley fight and the Vitali Klitschko/Shannon Briggs fight, streaming them live on ESPN3, their Internet channel.  With that said, I think that a critique is certainly in order for the Klitschko/Briggs fight.

Briggs had that “puncher’s chance” going into his title opportunity but if he didn’t get Vitali hurt or out within the first quarter of the fight, he’d be in deep trouble.  Surprisingly, there was no blitz from Briggs, no big rush to try to land.  He seemed content to stay on the outside, an area that Vitali controls with ease and is most comfortable fighting from.   It didn’t take long for the first right hand to cruise over the low left hand of Briggs and rattle him. This would persist and Briggs was at the mercy of the champion, taking unbelievable punishment as the rounds went on.

The beating really got severe in the seventh round and on, and there was no hope for Briggs at this point.  His shots were wider, less powerful, and he was throwing them less often.  His hands remained low and Vitali could not miss.  The end result was obvious.  Vitali was going to win and win clearly, yet the fight and the punishment went on.

The corner of Briggs should have stepped in.  Although the referee, John-Lewis, shares some of the blame for the fight going as long as it did, he did not have a personal stake in this.  You have to believe that the corner of Briggs did.  They just kept bringing him back from another round of hell to send him back out again.  If there was a sign that Vitali was tiring or that Briggs was landing more effectively, perhaps I could see it, but it was more of the same, just worse and worse as the rounds went on.

What makes Vitali Klitschko so dangerous isn’t the fact that he has 38 knockouts in 41 wins.  What makes him dangerous is that he’s not a one punch knockout artist.  He’s a 250 pound giant with a hard punch and he usually batters an opponent into submission.  The accumulation of punches do far more damage then a George Foreman type fighter that hits you once and stops you early.   All the ingredients were here for the death of a fighter in the ring and it almost happened.

Early reports of brain bleeds and Briggs being in critical condition were dismissed, but typically where there is smoke, there’s fire, and the truth of the matter is probably somewhere in the middle.  Thankfully, he made it through, and he can leave the sport and pursue his other interests.  Briggs has proven resourceful in his career, making his way into the movies and continuing to garner interest, which most big men of this time have failed to do.  My hat is off to him for his courage and for his successful career, but after a beating like that, it’s hard to see him continue this game.  

Vitali can now move on and he’s a hard man to beat. Tomasz Adamek may be up next and he’s not big enough to really concern Vitali, but he will give his all and make it fun initially, I’m sure.  The Klitschko brothers sit atop the boxing world and are waiting for a challenge that can make it close, let alone beat them.  They have been superb lately.

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