ARLINGTON, Texas (MindaNews/05 September) — An air of excitement was evident during last Friday’s end of a three-day media tour announcing the November 13 WBC Junior Middleweight title fight between the Philippines’ Manny Pacquiao and Mexico’s Antonio Margarito here at the Cowboys stadium.
Filipino fans chanting “Manny Manny” punctuated by the Mexicans’ “Mexico Mexico” and “Si Se Puede” ( yes, we can) provided the electricity, even prompting coach and trainer Freddie Roach to announce in jest that Pacman is “going to downgrade the tornado into a tropical storm.”
Pacquiao will know what a tornado is when he enters the ring, quickly quips Margarito in Spanish when asked by MindaNews. It was the most well-attended press conference by both media and fans compared to that of Los Angeles and New York.
Already, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Top Rank President Todd DuBoef are projecting the stadium to pack some 70,000 people, up from a 51,000 record attendance during last year’s Pacquiao-Clottey fight. The boxing fight appears to be galvanizing Mexicans and Hispanic Americans to root for Margarito who is intensely focused in proving himself as a top-caliber boxer after serving a license suspension for a hand-wrapping controversy, as well as wanting to end a string of Mexican boxer defeats from the hands of Pacquiao.
Going to Margarito’s advantage will be his height and size ( 5″ taller, 7″ more in reach). He will likewise enjoy a largely homegrown Mexican crowd, owing to Texas having a large Hispanic population.
The newly-elected congressman from Sarangani, however, views it more as an opportunity for him to prove what he is really worth as a boxer, especially with the Mexican boxer known for his aggressiveness and fighting toe to toe with his opponent. “I like his style, it’s going to be good for me,” Pacquiao told MindaNews.
The Pacman, however, stressed it’s going to be a tough fight. He said he will train hard, and come up with strategies in overcoming Margarito’s height, reach and size advantage. “I am sure the boxing fans will see a very good fight,” he said.
There was an initial round of booing from among some of the 1,000 fans allowed to witness the press conference when Margarito was first introduced. But it didn’t take long for the largely Hispanic crowd to rally behind Margarito after he announced he will be fighting for a return of the Mexican glory in boxing. Despite the suspension, Margarito appears still to be a very popular boxing figure as shown by the crowd competing for his signature.
Pacquiao said he will be drawing two sets of training, one in the Philippines and another one here in the US as the fight nears. He sees no problem with the new responsibility he has now as a legislator, having been elected to a three-year term as Representative of Sarangani province to Congress.
“It’s just a matter of scheduling things,” Pacquiao said. I don’t see it as a problem.”
Mauricio Sulaiman, World Boxing Council Executive Secretary, presented the green and gold Junior Welterweight championship belt. It is a special edition belt featuring the Dallas Cowboys famous blue star and Top Rank’s logo including pictures of the protagonists – Pacquiao & Margarito. “This fight is about two heroes. One fighting for the Philippines and the other for Mexico,” Sulaiman said.
The “Tijuana Tornado” Margarito was accompanied by his manager, Francisco Espinosa and trainer Roberto Garcia. Both declared war against Team Pacquiao.
Pacquiao,on the other hand, came with Atty. Franklin “Jeng” Gacal, his Chief of Staff in Congress, Special Adviser from Canada Mike Koncz, and the legendary trainer Freddie Roach. (Merpu Roa/MindaNews)