Well, that didn't take long. Lem Satterfield of FanHouse reports that Antonio Margarito has been approved for a boxing license in the state of Texas, meaning that the November 13 fight with Manny Pacquiao is a definite go. A press tour will begin Tuesday in Los Angeles.
That's it and that's all. The fight is on. It is what it is.
Top Rank is saying they're very confident that the fight will do well. I don't doubt that a bout between Pacquiao and Margarito will do phenomenal live attendance numbers and a tremendous gate in Texas. I even would go so far as to say that's a given, and that I agree with Bob Arum's thought that the fight happening in football season is only going to be a good thing. Jerry Jones will be able to advertise that fight to a sellout football crowd every home game leading up to the fight. That's a big deal. A lot of people don't really follow boxing news all that closely, and an advertisement for the fight on the Cowboys' giant TV will be the first a lot of people hear of it.
But I don't know how well they'll do on pay-per-view. The reported number for Pacquiao-Clottey in March was 700,000. Pacquiao has largely been out of the boxing spotlight since then, as he successfully ran for Congress in the Philippines, and his name has only come up in negative lights, as the fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. again fell through, there was more quibbling and gossip about the drug tests for that potential fight, and now you have a lot of people dumping on this fight. And this fight, it's been made clear, was Pacquiao's choice.
I wouldn't be shocked if they came in right around the same numbers for this PPV. It's a really good number, but it's not a blockbuster, amazing number. Margarito is more popular and well-known than Clottey to be sure, but I think there's a good chance that some of the fledgling boxing newbies or returnees that may have ordered Pacquiao-Clottey due to Pacquiao's hot name at the time won't be back. I think the fact that a lot of the casual fans truly resent the fact that the best fight in boxing isn't being made might affect numbers. I don't think as many casual boxing fans will order this one for a lot of reasons. And then there's the people who refuse to pay for a Margarito fight. It is not the overwhelming wave of detractors that you can find on boxing sites, but it's not an ignorable factor, either.
Or it could do gangbusters numbers and lessen some fans' faith in humankind. I think we'll have more of a sense in the final two weeks before the fight, when buzz usually starts really picking up. I remember the Mayweather-Marquez fight really felt like it was dragging its legs until the week before, and then for whatever reason the energy around the fight just went nuts. That could happen again. But a lot of folks are going to be impossible to convert this time.