In a Sports Illustrated article that reports that negotiations are almost secure for Oscar de la Hoya to face Manny Pacquiao on December 6, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer decided to speak on that matchup, and why Antonio Margarito wasn't considered an option.
Schaefer had this to say:
"We have made it clear [to Top Rank] that we think Margarito has some unfinished business. Frankly, I find it disgusting how people are overlooking Paul Williams. Oscar wanted to fight Cotto because he was undefeated. But Williams beat Margarito. Just because Margarito beat Cotto, why does that make him the best welterweight? Why isn't it Paul Williams? He had that first round knockout of Quintana and he already beat Margarito. So I think it is very disrespectful of Williams. Those two should fight again."
For real, I don't even disagree with Schaefer that Margarito and Williams should tangle again, particularly since Margarito is not going to get a big payday against Oscar and Williams' other option appears to be Michael Jennings, who isn't quite a Gary Lockett-level mandatory but isn't a whole lot better. (If the Lockett Scale for mandatories was a 0.0-5.0 scale, Jennings would be about a 4.2 Lockett.)
But this is so transparent that I can't help but just laugh at it. I hate slamming Oscar for not fighting the best guy available, because the concrete fact of the matter is that he's made a career out of taking on great challenges. He fought Mosley twice, Trinidad, Vargas, Hopkins (which was foolish), Mayweather, Whitaker, Quartey, and a host of others. Hell, let's even give Oscar the respect and continue: Gatti, Carr, Chavez twice, Camacho, Castillejo, Campas, Paez, Gonzalez, Coley, Mayorga, Sturm...
It also leads me to another brief aside, the stupid claim they first made that Oscar didn't want to end his career fighting another Mexican. Like he was doing Mexican fans a favor or something, you know?
He beat the tar out of an old Julio Cesar Chavez on two occasions. He fought Vargas and Campas in recent years. The fact that Margarito is Mexican only had something to do with this decision to not fight him because Oscar's final fight would have had him as "the villain" to some of the staunch Mexican fans that love guys like Margarito and have never warmed to de la Hoya, no matter what.
Oscar also could have avoided all of this if he hadn't said that "the winner" of Cotto-Margarito -- his words, not anyone else's -- would be a great December opponent. He meant to say that if Miguel Cotto won, he'd fight him. Schaefer's saying now that Cotto would have been considered because he was undefeated.
Where's one of those eye-rolling emoticons?
Oscar choosing Pacquiao even paints him into a corner where he can't say, "Well I don't want to fight at welterweight." Now he has to fight at welterweight!
It is somewhat sad that Oscar de la Hoya's final career moves are going to forever be questioned. No matter what happens in a fight with Pacquiao, he won't escape the fact that he fought a much smaller man in order to avoid someone else. It seems like we've seen this before. (And yes, this will be a license to print money just as that was.)
Schaefer interjecting Williams is sort of a nice distraction method, because who will really disagree? OK, Margarito can't fight Oscar. He should fight Williams, the man who beat him last year and holds a welterweight title himself. We can all get on board with that?
So we're left with the feeling that Richard Schaefer is speaking the truth, letting his voice ring loud for the poor boxing fan who can't speak for him or herself. He also ignores Williams' loss to Quintana when wondering why many think Margarito is now the No. 1 welterweight, and not Williams.
Schaefer is doing a great job here trying to make Oscar-Manny seem viable. Listen, I know a lot of people are taking a real dump on this fight, and that some (like ESPN's Dan Rafael) really like it for any number of reasons. I am somewhere in the middle.
I do think Manny could beat Oscar. For one thing, I don't know how Oscar's body will respond to getting down to 147, and I don't think he has any real firepower left. Manny is a pop-pop-pop fighter whose awkward style has translated into his better skillset as the years have gone on.
But we're talking about a guy that has one fight in his career over 130 pounds and came into boxing at 106. I know it's about money and a few other, less important things. Still, I can't shake that gnawing feeling that this fight just isn't right somehow, and that win or lose, Oscar will never live down some of the backlash he's going to receive. If I were Oscar or Schaefer, I think I'd consider those things a little more than how many Mexicans would boo me were I to fight Margarito. "The Golden Boy" has the pick of the litter when it comes to opponents, and he's choosing someone he outweighs on fight nights by 20 pounds.