Jeez, Oscar can't really catch a break right now. And it seems like the vast majority of the boxing community just is not buying Oscar de la Hoya v. Manny Pacquiao.
Former Pacquiao rival Erik Morales is sharing his thoughts, saying:
"Pacquiao will simply be tired by the sixth or seventh round, nothing more to it than that."
This is one possibility, certainly. WBC boss Jose Sulaiman has been vehemently against this bout from the start, going so far as to call it a fraud, which he's doing again:
"Without a doubt, Pacquiao is a great boxer, but he is very small in this fight. He would have to blow himself up to fight de la Hoya at welterweight, and it's going to be like fighting a middleweight. The power of Pacquiao will not be there in that division. If they want to sell a fraud to the public, they can go ahead."
Normally, Don Jose doesn't say a whole lot that I agree with, but lately he's been on-point. He was right about the Soto-Lorenzo mess, he's right about this, and he's right about Erik Morales and Jose Luis Castillo, two guys he's telling to either stay retired or simply retire.
Morales, like old nemesis Marco Antonio Barrera, is planning a comeback, as he says he'd like to fight in Mexico and then again in the U.S. in 2009, to "go out as a champion." What's really sad about this is that Morales is in his prime athletic years, but he's been in so many absolute wars in his career that it's just not there anymore. Who is he going to beat?
At 130, there are beatable titleholders, but again, Morales just doesn't have the legs anymore. His legs abandoned him years ago, in the second fight against Pacquiao. They totally betrayed him in the rubber match, and though he fought valiantly in a war with David Diaz, he just didn't get it done. Frankly, I thought that Diaz fight was a beautiful way to go out. Sulaiman says Morales will have to pass many physical tests before he's allowed to return in Mexico (and that's a country that lets Oscar Larios fight right now). Bob Arum has already said repeatedly he will have nothing to do with a Morales comeback. Morales reported a "buzzing" in his ears during the Diaz fight.
Stay out, Erik. Castillo is older and doesn't seem as risky, but he doesn't have it anymore either. There has to be something else these two could do in boxing.
Anyway, let's move on to Paul Williams, who is all but begging Antonio Margarito to fight him again. Williams must understand that Margarito is calling out Oscar because Oscar is, you know, 500 times the star Paul Williams is, but he's right about one thing: Margarito-Williams II, as it's being discussed now, sure sounds like a nice deal.
Williams and Goossen are offering Margarito $4 million for the fight, supposedly. Not bad, right? Honestly, if Margarito were to turn down $4 million to fight Williams again, doesn't that kind of smack of Mayweather turning down $8 million to fight Margarito a couple years ago?
Williams is very confident that he could beat Margarito again, and he says Margarito-Oscar isn't a good fight:
"Everybody knows de la Hoya, you know what I'm saying? He puts on a good fight but he fades in the late rounds. ... If Margarito doesn't want to fight, I'm not going to sit around waiting for him. I can fight somebody else at 154, 160, even 168."
Well that last part seems a bit much. I know his reach is exceptional and would be fine for a heavyweight, even, but does anyone really see Paul's power translating up to middleweight or super middleweight? There's a reason he fights at 147. (Several, actually.) It's nice trash talk, but in reality, I think any of the good fighters at 160 or 168 would kick his ass. He doesn't move particularly well and has shown a habit of getting very predictable (v. Quintana the first time, v. Margarito in the second half of the fight).
I still think Tony Margarito beats him in a rematch. Paul has not shown a great ability to fight back under pressure, and Margarito has gotten back to doing what he does best. Then again, if Williams controls the distance and discourages Margarito, and makes Margarito think too much...yeah, he can certainly beat Tony again. I don't mean to count Paul Williams out. It's not a fight I would put money on, let's put it that way.
Wanna know why I think Margarito isn't going right for a Williams rematch? Because Margarito is more popular, bigger, more recognized than he's EVER been, even at the peak of his hype days as the most feared man in boxing. He wants to juice some money out of that. Joshua Clottey is a guy he's beaten; Paul Williams is not. And Oscar, at this stage, is a guy that Margarito would chew up for a lot of money. If both keep winning, Margarito-Williams II is unavoidable.
Here's a side question, too. Let's say Floyd Mayweather, Jr., decided to come back for a fight with Antonio Margarito. Floyd just started calling Margarito out.
Do you think Margarito would take that fight? Let that really sink in. I think a lot of fighters will talk a huge game about a guy like Floyd so long as they're certain they're not going to get a fight with him. On the one hand, it would easily be Margarito's biggest payday and biggest fight ever. But on the other, Floyd might very well flat-out embarrass him and kill his marketability for later fights to some degree. I could see Floyd sweeping a card against Margarito and making him look really slow and really amateur-ish. I never liked the fight for Margarito. It seemed like the worst possible matchup for him. Margarito succeeds because he lands a lot of shots. No one lands many shots on Mayweather.