(Image from Wpmedia.o.canada.com)

When God tells you to retire, you better quit. Or He’ll break you! This is a lesson Anderson Silva and horrified MMA fans learned on Sunday. Nobody deserves to have a leg broken especially on pay-per-view. Silva did better when he clowned around against Chris Weidman, only getting knocked out with a left hook to the jaw. This time he had a limb fractured, his tibia and fibula shattered by a well-placed leg kick checked by a better-placed counter that snapped his lower left extremity.

Two rounds and Weidman defended the middleweight title he took from Silva, uncannily at a near-similar time. In UFC 162, Weidman won in 1:18 of the second round. This time, it took him two seconds less to win in the same round. Again, Silva lovers are saying that Weidman doesn’t deserve the division’s championship belt because of the freak-accident circumstances surrounding the end of the fight. What else do you need Silva-lovers? Another rematch where Weidman will rip Silva’s arm and hit him with it?

Give it up and sleep off the hangover of the “greatest MMA fighter of all time” hype that Joe Rogan and Dana White will throw at you. Fedor Emelianenko is widely accepted as the best ever of the heavyweight division even though he never fought in the UFC. When Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva and Dan Henderson fucked Fedor up there were demands for a rematch. Just about everyone realized that Fedor was old and his time at the top was over and that’s it.

It would be better for all concerned to look forward to Weidman’s next fight, maybe against Anderson’s friend, the rejuvenated TRT-powered Vitor Belfort. That should be a smash…sorry…breaking PPV records…sorry again…as North-American Weidman fans and Brazilian fans purchase the right to see either Weidman destroy another Brazilian challenger or the latter getting back the belt for South America.

(Image from Wpmedia.o.canada.com)

Speaking of another American star, this one of the female persuasion, didn’t Ronda Rousey look good beating Miesha Tate for the second time? Rousey had a harder time this time around, unable to put away an opponent in the first round like she did her first seven adversaries. Tate, with the advantage of having fought Rousey once, knew what she had to do to do better. And do better she did. Taking Rousey to the championship rounds with good striking and ground defense, the champ had to dig deep into her expansive bag of submission techniques but still ended up using her favorite – the armbar. Rousey’s transitions on the ground simply sapped Tate’s strength and will as she tapped in 58 seconds of the middle round of the five-canto affair. She earned a combined $150,000 for two bonuses: Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night. Tate can take consolation in her share of the bonus and that she is the first to last more than a round against Rousey.

Another main-card battle also had its moments when the phenomenal but previously-underrated Travis Browne disposed of veteran and former UFC heavyweight champ, Josh Barnett, with scary elbows to the side of the head with exactly one minute left in the first round. Barnett is a top-10 contender but Browne simply was too smart and fierce for Barnett’s slow-burn methodology. While Barnett once again went to his bread-and-butter wrestling prelude to ground-and-pound or submission, Browne went for the kill with all the strength his 6-feet-7 frame allowed him. Barnett was already out before the referee stepped in to call off Browne.

Browne has been making a habit of exposing formidable veterans. He also knocked out Gabriel Gonzaga with the same right elbow to the head, although against Barnett, he hit cleaner whereas against Gonzaga he hit the Brazilian with a few strikes to the back of the head. Browne is now the recipient of three straight Knockout of the Night bonuses, the previous one against Alistair Overeem, and perhaps will line himself up for a title fight with another win or two.

UFC 168 is one of the best year-enders for the MMA-promotion firm, and certainly boasts of the most gruesome injury in a title fight. It does look like the end of the Anderson-Silva era. The Spider has had a great run as champion. Stories have it that he asked his doctor how soon he could start training. OK. Mister Silva, sir, there is a saying for what you plan in Cebuano: Gadaku lang ang hunahuna. Meaning, it’s all in your mind. What do you want, get your left leg broken again or get a matching break on your right leg? Retire gadammit! You don’t need the money. Your legacy won’t change. After all, you beat Chael Sonnen twice. Heheheh. A Prosperous New Year to you, Anderson, and take care of that leg. It’s the only left leg you’ve got!

YOU SHOULD SEE THE OTHER GUY. Jon 'Bones' Jones got busted up worse in one fight, courtesy of Sweden's Alexander 'The Mauler' Gustafsson, than in all of his previous 13 UFC fights put together. Jones won by controversial unanimous decision on the judges' scorecards. (Image from: www.gannett-cdn.com)

FIGHTING someone his size, light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones retained (he shouldn’t have) his title while losing a lot of blood and prestige in the MMA community. In the post-fight interview inside the Octagon with color-commentator Joe Rogan, Jones tried to show a brave face despite the numerous cuts on it, referring repeatedly to his “warrior spirit” and referencing Bruce Lee’s “be water” philosophy. There was plenty of water, all right, after a hard-fought bout with all the sweat and blood that both combatants expelled.

Judges’ decisions have been a sore point in the Ultimate Fighting Championship for a long time. Alexander Gustafsson should have been given the win for the first three rounds at least, with his accurate sniping, fleet-footed defense in the standup battle, and his amazing takedown defense. For the record, the Swede is the first UFC fighter to have taken down Jones, scoring two, while stuffing 10-of-11 takedown attempts by the defending champion.

Round 4 was clearly won by Jones as his elbow finally landed squarely on a (sitting) ducking Gustaffson, who remarkably survived follow-up strikes by Jones. Round 5 could have gone either way as the candidate for Fight-of-the-Year honors went all five rounds.

The Air Canada Centre audience made their sentiments known after the winner was announced. All three judges scored it all for Jones (48-47,48-47, and 49-46!). Gustaffson, with good grace, refused to criticize the judges’ decision or said anything suggesting that he got a bum call, only saying that it was an honor for him to fight the champion.

The end of the first round saw Jones with a familiar look in his mug, the worry etched reminiscent of the way he walked back to his corner after Round 1 when he fought Lyoto Machida in UFC 140. Against Machida his main concern was how to tag the Brazilian; against Gustafsson he had to contend not just with the difficulty of landing a solid strike on the Swede, he also had to avoid The Mauler’s accurate striking.

The same pattern followed in Rounds 2 and 3. Jones kept missing with his patented spinning elbow, hitting Gustafsson once but merely grazing him. Gustafsson’s defense and chin were superb all throughout the fight. It wasn’t that it was just The Mauler who punished Bones; the defending champion gave as good as he got but the challenger had the edge in the initial three rounds. In Round 4, Gustafsson stayed down low too long, exposing his head on which Jones finally hit with a solid spinning elbow. Jones smelled blood and went for the kill but he couldn’t finish Gustafsson despite a knee, an elbow, punches, and the kitchen sink.

YOU KNOW I BEAT YOU, JON. Alexander Gustafsson talks with Jon Jones inside the Octagon after their UFC 165 lightheavyweight championship fight at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.(Image from: www.gannett-cdn.com)

THIS is one of those big fights that will almost always have the adjective “controversial” attached to it with people demanding a rematch which will most likely still be a close fight but with Jones more prepared for a beating. Snicker. The last time a rematch was conducted due to the controversy involved; the challenger did in the “undeserving” champion via first-round KO. We know that The Mauler has enough power to do what MauricioShogun Rua did to his fellow-Brazilian LyotoThe DragonMachida. But will Dana White’s Las-Vegas mafia allow a Gustafsson-Jones II? Of course they will. It’s all about the money after all despite White’s mouthpiece Joe Rogan repeatedly extolling the ultimate virtues of the UFC’s current moneymaker “the greatest talent to ever enter the Octagon” Jones who now has to rethink his ego and his future plans. Yes, plans, as in moving up to the heavyweight division.

As a 206-and-above pounder, Jones can comfortably allow his weight to balloon on the condition that it doesn’t go beyond 265lbs, and take on the likes of Alistair Overeem who will probably break Jones’ spindly legs like matchstick. Even gatekeeper Frank Mir will give Jones fits should Mir get Jones to the ground or hit him with a punch courtesy of his improved boxing.

We knew all along that Jones was “dominating” his division because he was fighting below his proper weight, same as the recently dethroned hype-machine AndersonThe SpiderSilva. Jones and Silva are authentically extremely-talented athletes who have brought excitement and loads of income into the UFC, but one of the major reasons they have ruled the ranks is size disparity, their physical edge over majority of their opponents. Silva couldn’t have that against Chris Weidman and paid for it. Sure, Silva shot himself with his kooky taunting ways, too, but at 6-feet-2, the same height as Weidman, he couldn’t look over his opponent. Jones, at 6-4, is actually shorter than Gustafsson officially by an inch.

The Fertitta brothers are shrewd businessmen whose financial acumen has been honed in the gambling paradise of Vegas. With the ouster of Silva and the relative popularity of Georges St. Pierre, the UFC only has Jones to nurture and milk because of the championship title he holds…but barely. Despite being robbed of a victory, the loss is a moral victory for Gustafsson who confidently declared before the fight that he could beat Jones any day. He did, unfortunately, the judges didn’t see it that way. And for those waiting for the man to beat Jones, Gustafsson is it, disproving the words “NOT QUITE HUMAN” emblazoned on Jones’ Nike sponsored-walkout shirt.

Many are of the opinion that Jones should not be the UFC light-heavyweight king anymore. In the post-fight press conference, Dana White played it safe after being asked as to who he believed should have gotten the judges’ nod. White cried, “I stopped scoring the fight…” Sure you did, Dana, and if the judges were more enlightened, you would have cried for the right reason.

There’s only one way to settle this controversy – rematch. Glover Teixeira was promised a shot at whoever won Jones-Gustafsson I, but except for Teixeira and his supporters, everyone would rather have Jones-Gustafsson II as soon as possible.

Jon Jones TKOs Shogun Rua

Jones puts Rua in his proper place

It was all Bones and it was all Jones as height and youth beat bulk and experience. The physical advantages, more than skills and power, won over damaged goods. Jon Jones is now the toast of MMA much like Lyoto Machida was after he beat Rashad Evans for the UFC lightheavyweight title. Machida appeared untouchable and invincible when no one figured out yet how to beat him. Then his compatriot Rua came with a great strategy and all the wiles of his experience and defeated Machida. Jones is where Machida was and it will be a fantastic matchup if the UFC will get the two in the Octagon down the line; that is if Machida prevails over Randy Couture in UFC 129.

From the onset it was clear that Rua had big problems overcoming the 10.5-inch reach advantage of Jones, who used his left arm to keep the defending champion at bay. Rua was unable to utilize his power and it’s puzzling why he did not push the fight early to neutralize Jones’ length and youthful stamina. Even if the match had gone to five rounds (and it was rather evident that it wouldn’t as Jones had his way with Rua early on with takedowns, strikes and submission attempts) Rua would have been lucky to win a single round. He would have been hard pressed to earn a draw on a single round. So it happened that Jones won by TKO (referee stoppage) in 2:37 of Round 3.

If the 29-year-old Rua had come with better strategy and more aggression, he could have caught Jones in a clinch, tripped or taken him down with a quick double-leg but that kind of finesse never has been in Rua’s arsenal anyway. He’s a muay-Thai-style kind of striker who stands in front of his opponent, covers up to defend, and looks for angles to land his shots or simply trade bombs to see who’s the toughest. His mode of attack against Machida in their second fight was probably the best-planned bout of his entire career. So it’s perplexing why his team could not come up with fight plan against a foe who is not as slippery as Machida but has youth, athleticism/skills, and power.

Jones at no moment doubted he would not win since Rua hardly put up a fight. Rua looked like the old spent man that he looked like during his first few fights in the UFC. So Jones, 23, becomes the youngest champion ever of the UFC and Rua is now of the oldest to have held the UFC lightheavyweight belt.

To paraphrase Mike Goldberg’s oft-mentioned axiom: Youth beats experience when experience doesn’t come with a strategy. Let’s forget a Rashad Evans (who’s older than Rua by two years) title match for Jones. Not another “old man.” It’s rather easy to see how that fight will turn out. If the UFC wants more PPV moolah and a bigger take at the gates but still wants Jones to fight someone much older, it should arrange a superfight between Jones against an old fighter who knows how to use his experience and his available skills: Anderson Silva. That will be a true war for the ages.

(Image from profile.ak.fbcdn.net)

Friday’s Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC) 6 Cebu main event between Lapu-Lapu City’s Cary “The Prince” Bullos of SELDEF MMA and Iloilo’s Leonard “The One” Delarmino of Team Capanay is the kind of back-and-forth fight that makes protective men shout: Hide the women and the children!

It was that intense with hardly 10 seconds of respite at any time in their bantamweight bout. Bullos, confident as ever, started the first round with a smile like he’d just swallowed ambrosia and unleashed a three-punch combo, clinched but lost his balance as Delarmino fell on top of him. Showing his ground skills, Bullos maneuvered a bit before attempting an armbar. Delarmino got away but Bullos took him down and was on a side-mount full-mount transition in no time.

Before Bullos could pound Delarmino, the latter performed his own escape and in quick succession there was a side mount, a reversal, a guillotine choke, and an escape. It was the perfect closer to a night of a near-perfect card that matchmaker Markman Yap put up. It’s difficult to imagine the people behind URCC Cebu coming up with better matches than this.

The Bullos-Delarmino bout appeared it was going into a knockout as Bullos demonstrated his superior striking involving bunches of punches and a few spectacular high kicks, a submission victory with his repeated armbar attempts, or a decisive unanimous victory as the SEL-DEF flag carrier kept the pressure on a very durable Delarmino who took all sorts of hits to the head and body. But it didn’t turn out that way as an obviously gassed-out Bullos was running on fumes and his looping punches were not enough to knock out his opponent.

As it turned out, it was Delarmino who KOed Bullos before the second round ended with a frontal kick, a knee to the body and two right hooks to Bullos’ head as the latter was already down on his hands and knees, and the referee was called a stoppage after Bullos tapped about the same time his corner threw in the towel. If only Bullos had stayed on until Round 2 had finished, he was an almost-sure winner. This calls to mind the great quote by former UFC light-heavyweight champion Frank Shamrock: “My cardio is my best submission move.”

Actually, the Delarmino brothers made it 3-0 as Agustin defeated Maxilito Yong of Yaw-Yan Musang for the Visayas Flyweight Division championship, and Philip beat Jhon Edu Torbiso of Jurex Dragon Cebu in their pinweight match, both wins by submission in the first round.

Another pinweight fight started URCC 6 with star-potential Reynan “Flash” Noblefranca making his MMA debut over a much-older but overmatched Jessie Tambiling of Bullet Muay Thai. Noblefranca has made a name for himself as a spectacular striker and it was clear enough that he didn’t intend to go to the ground by staying light on his feet in avoiding Tambiling’s awkward punches and kicks. Tambiling barely laid a hand on the Yaw-Yan Ardigma fighter who is 12 years his junior. Noblefranca, on the other hand, early on messed up Tambiling with strikes, one a spinning backfist that caught Tambiling on the right cheek after the older fighter landed a left high kick to Noblefranca's head. Noblefranca knocked Tambiling down on the canvas and followed with more punches until the referee ended the punishment before Round 1 was over and Noblefranca earned his TKO win.

Other winners were Yaw-Yan Musang/DEFTAC Cebu’s Vaughn Donaire over an outsized but game Lorde Rey Yamit from Butuan City by tapout via rear-naked choke in the halfway mark of Round 1; DEFTAC Bacolod Fight Club’s Victor Torre over Yaw-Yan Ardigma’s Mark Revalde (Submission, Strikes R1); and Yaw-Yan Ardigma/DEFTAC Cebu's Tom Woodfin over Ricardo Sapno of Beefit Python’s Pit of Davao (Submission, Strikes R1).

The main co-event featherweight match between SELDEF MMA’s Jimmy Yabo and Cebu MMA’s George Flansbaum, where 16 years separated the protagonists, was declared No Contest midway through the second round. It mustn’t have been an unwillingness to fight by Yabo and Flansbaum as they did engage in the first round after Flansbaum got a yellow card from the match referee. At the restart, Yabo got the better of the expatriate American with his superior boxing, knocking his opponent down with a left hook to the side of the head.

Flansbaum is listed as a purple belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu, in theory is a better grappler, and that’s exactly what he did by repeatedly going for the single-leg takedown, successfully getting Yabo in a rear-naked choke that just couldn’t get past from under the chin to the throat as Yabo survived.

The Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) audience was pumped up for Round 2, but both fighters fought to their strengths and that’s when the problem started. Yabo maintained a wait-and-punch attitude, while Flansbaum waited for his chance to get takedown. Like two armies half a kilometer in front of each other waiting for who blinks first, it got boring and the crowd made the fighters in the ring know it with boos and catcalls. Soon enough another yellow card flashed then followed by a red card. Game over. No contest.

We can argue whether the referee’s decision was too harsh or if it was right on time and the fighters deserved to have the match end ignominiously. “Too harsh,” I heard a certain English daily newspaper sports columnist whose name starts with the letter J to my left say softly. Maybe yes, maybe no. But I wouldn’t have minded waiting for another minute to see if one or the other decided to be a fighter and fight like he badly wanted to win.

Overall, an MMA night of great fights, an SRO crowd, and like the matches, the best URCC round/ring girls so far. If only they allow fight judges to drink beer on the job. Sigh.

(Image from cdn.directv.com)

Ask any fighter of the difficulties of coming back after a loss and they’ll tell you the same thing: Of course, it’s difficult.

Levity is no match for severity, and Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson are in for some serious time in the Octagon hours from now. The loss that Machida underwent was more damaging than the one Jackson went through. Machida got knocked out in the first round in his defense of his UFC light-heavyweight title against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, while Jackson merely lost a three-round decision to Rashad Evans. Both losses were humbling for the former holders of the division title and they must have rethought their strategies for today’s UFC 123 main event.

Machida was under a lot of pressure to prove that he deserved to hold on to the light-heavyweight belt after his unanimous-decision win in UFC 104. That pressure made Machida more aggressive than normal and he paid a steep price by losing his belt and his consciousness courtesy of a Shogun right overhand/hook to the temple. Rampage, on the other hand, got soft after his Hollywood stint and allowed Evans to dictate their UFC 114 tussle with good wrestling and constant takedowns.

You could say that Machida has fallen in love with the straight-on attack and knockouts this offensive system produced after successive KO wins over bangers Thiago Silva and Evans. Machida’s mistake was that he took Shogun’s strength and determination lightly after the ex-Pride middleweight Grand Prix king proved to be a disappointment in his first few fights since jumping over to the UFC. Machida admitted that he knew early on even before signing up with the UFC that he would have to take on Shogun. What he didn’t expect was to get knocked out by his fellow Brazilian.

Rampage has dismissed Machida as a “boring” fighter and he has maintained his opinion going into UFC 123. If Rampage really believes that, it could be his undoing. If by boring Rampage means that Machida relies too much on strategy and counter-striking to earn his victories, then Rampage is right. But those are the things that make Machida such a formidable fighter. He is not impatient (with the exception of the second fight with Shogun) and sticks to his bread-and-butter moves (with the exception of the second fight with Shogun). Like another pro-fighter of Asian heritage, Manny Pacquiao, Machida is quick on his feet and uses a lot of lateral movement in picking his shots. Pacquiao may use way more punches than Machida but they both produce just about the same amount of damage on their opponents: Pacquiao has knocked out 10 of his ring foes since adopting the stick-and-move approach to fighting starting with the Marco Antonio Barrera fight and starting his tutelage under the supreme trainer and strategist Freddie Roach.

Machida has always been an elusive fighter since joining MMA and statistics show that (with the exception of the two fights with Shogun).

If we limit our appraisal of Machida-Rampage I on their track record especially their past UFC performances, we can easily be tempted to give the fight to Machida who has only one loss on his record (two, arguing that he actually lost to Shogun twice) while Rampage has eight losses to 30 MMA wins. But styles will always make fights, and based on this dictum Rampage has a big chance of beating Machida.

The Japanese-Brazilian karateka is a very calculating fighter and can hardly be goaded to go toe to toe. His training dictates him to only go for a strike when his opponent leaves himself open especially after a missed strike of his own. But Rampage does not always leave himself open even after a strike misses or not. Rampage reacts to an attack or an opening. So if Machida comes in with a punch, kick or knee, he has to be very careful not to get caught in the process by a Rampage retaliatory strike.

Former middleweight UFC fighter Dan Henderson is superb at hooking or jabbing then stepping back or doing it in one motion, protecting himself from counterstrikes. Machida, on the other hand, looks for an opening, strikes, then pulls back, and only strikes again if his foe is vulnerable enough. The difficult part is knowing when to do this and a split second of hesitation or an opening could be all that Rampage needs to throw a punch or go for a shoot prior to some ground and pound.

Machida and Rampage need this win. A victory will not only put them back on the championship picture but better still, boost their confidence that they still matter and belong in the upper echelons of the light-heavyweight lineup.

(Image from cbc.ca)

All apprehensions of Manny Pacquiao being too small for Antonio Margarito vanished even before the first round ended in their WBC super-welterweight title fight Saturday at the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas that Pacquiao won by unanimous decision with the judges scoring it 120-108, 119-109, and 118-110. Pacquiao also won his eighth world boxing title in as many weight categories.

Pacquaio’s near-mythic speed and volume punching obviously flustered Margarito, who at 5-feet-11 and 165 pounds on fight night, looked enormous against Pacquiao’s 5-6 ½ and 146lbs. The next 11 rounds were not much different as Pacquiao took on all of Margarito’s hardest punches even as he methodically destroyed Margarito’s mug and his chances of redemption. The hand-wraps controversy will forever mar Margarito’s legacy but his hopes of putting a sheen on his tarnished image with a win over the “Mexicutioner” diminished as the fight progressed.

Round 4 could have been the most dominating for Pacquaio as he pummeled Margarito with his arsenal of punches while dancing away from counterattacks. Margarito’s body language looked like that of a defeated man as he walked back to his corner when the bell rang. But that was only a third of the punishment he got.

Round 5 showed a reckless Pacquaio who allowed himself to be trapped in the ropes twice, taking on Margarito’s blows but deftly swaying from either side while punching back and eventually escaping. It is not difficult to lure Pacquiao into a toe-to-toe battle even against bigger and theoretically stronger foes as evinced by the Miguel Cotto fight exactly a year ago, the Saranggani Province congressman from the Philippines later admitting that he wanted to get a taste of Cotto’s supposedly more formidable power. Pacquiao did get hit by Margarito but the Mexican couldn’t consistently hurt the Filipino.

It would be redundant and cruel to go through the fight round for round as they practically resembled each other: Pacquiao either attacking and landing punches or gracefully avoiding being hit or countering after Margarito’s punches landed. It was a night full of frustrations for Margarito, who verbally expressed his confidence before the fight of doing what many of his countrymen have failed to do in the last five years: Put an end to the win streak of the bane of Mexico’s best boxers in the 126lbs-150lbs divisions.

Margarito was so confident of beating Pacquiao that he even bet his Mercedes Benz against his uncle’s Jeep. Not only did Margarito lose his car, he lost a lot of blood as Pacquiao cut him below his right eye which also puffed up with a purple hue.

Many are still asking why the fight was allowed to consume all of 12 rounds when it should have been stopped without much protestations except from Margarito, of course, four or five rounds earlier. Margarito, as brave as he was, clearly didn’t have much chance of winning at that point and had obviously taken too much of a beating already that by the 11th round Pacquiao looked imploringly at the referee to stop the carnage. Strangely, neither referee Laurence Cole nor Margarito’s corner with Roberto Garcia at the helm showed much concern and allowed him to finish the fight to the bitter end.

Cole, for his part, merely stopped the fight twice to ask Margarito to count how many fingers he raised to determine the state of his eyesight. The warrior that he is, Margarito could have merely made a guess and got it right to be allowed to continue fighting. Never was the ringside physician called to look at Margarito’s injuries and make his recommendations (as limited as our view of the fight was by the hours-delayed telecast and intrusive commercials).

At the start of the 12th and final round, Pacquiao, the softhearted humanitarian that he is, said something to Margarito, probably asking him if he could still go on. By that time Margarito was so banged up that Pacquiao clearly pulled his punches, merely letting the minutes tick away until the bell rang.

The question in every fight fan’s mind now is: Will Floyd Mayweather Jr. ever agree to fight Pacquiao, especially after seeing (he did watch the fight, didn’t he?) the present holder of the world’s best pound-four-pound boxer title that Mayweather once owned make mincemeat of the slugger that he (Floyd Jr.) so skillfully avoided fighting in the ring? The answer to that right now is a resounding no.

If Mayweather, who loves to tell anyone who still cares to listen that he is the world’s best boxer (throwing his unblemished 41-0 win-loss record at anybody who dares doubt his excellence) wasn’t afraid of Pacquiao, he would have already agreed to sign the contract which stipulated that he gets $40 million besides a share of the pay-per-view money to be generated by the would-have-been richest purse in professional boxing history. There is no arguing the fact: Floyd Mayweather Jr. is afraid of Manny Pacquiao. Another fact-to-be should Pacquiao-Mayweather I push through: Pacquiao will beat Mayweather.

(Image from rccayao.com)

That’s not the only way for Manny Pacquiao to beat Antonio Margarito, but if Pacquiao wants to bag his eighth world title in the same number of weight classes, he better get rid of Margarito fast – in three rounds or less. Ironically, Margarito has to do the same if he intends to be the first boxer to give Pacquiao a loss in 12 straight fights.

It is doubtful if Margarito can go 12 rounds with the same intensity as Pacquiao especially if according to plan Pacquiao makes the Mexican his moveable feast of a punching bag. If Pacquiao gains enough weight to replenish what he lost cutting down to 144.6 pounds, way below the catchweight of 151lbs., he will still have the speed that he relies on a large part if he stays near enough what he weighed during the weigh-in.

Size and length have been the basic keywords in arguments endorsing a Margarito win over the comparatively diminutive Filipino, who at an official 5-feet-6 ½ inches is very short to the Mexican’s 5-11. Margarito also has a six-inch reach advantage.

In terms of power, we could give Margarito that considering his size edge, but even though Pacquiao has to crane his neck up to look Margarito in the eye, Pacquiao is no slouch in the power and KO department, amassing a 38-knockout record in 56 bouts, to Margarito’s just as notable 27 KOs in 44 matches.

Bigger is not always stronger even in the power-reliant sport of boxing. Speed is just as important in pugilism since you cannot hurt what you cannot hit, and this is where the smaller Pacquiao excels, having those twinkle toes that mocked the also taller (5-10 ½) Oscar de la Hoya and the just as short as Pacquiao, English crowder-swarmer Ricky Hatton.

De La Hoya practically had the same six-inch reach advantage when he fought Pacquiao, but that didn’t do him much good, although semi-retired at the time, he was not as frisky and hungry as Margarito is now in light of his one-year suspension for glove padding.

Margarito has been tagged the “Tijuana Tornado” for his relentless attack and relatively heavy punches, but his persistence and power may not be enough to neutralize Pacquiao’s competitive power and superior speed and footwork. Pacquiao needs to crowd Margarito, turn the tables on the Mexican who seems to only know one direction: forward. Pacquiao won’t commit the mistake of standing in front of Margarito – a sure way to end up on his back. The clever Filipino long ago learned to run rings around opponents, which made de la Hoya say post-fight that taking on Pacquiao was like fighting several people all at once.

Pacquiao’s stamina is legendary, a product of his near-mythic training regimen – more than willing to go another kilometer on road runs, spar several more rounds than required, take a couple more whacks on the abdomen with those sticks, and take on another bigger opponent. His dedication to training and fighting is unquestioned, that skeptics and the envious go to the extent of alleging that he takes illegal performance-enhancing substances. That remains to be proven. In the meantime, we see Pacquiao lay it all out there on the ring, win or lose. He will go for a consecutive dozen victories in a few hours and nothing less of a knockout win over Margarito will please his literally millions of fans all over the world.

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