Home Boxing News Nov 13 preview – David Haye vs Audley Harrison & Manny Pacquiao...

Nov 13 preview – David Haye vs Audley Harrison & Manny Pacquiao vs Antonio Margarito

On November 13th, we fight fans get to see two fights that have something in common with each other. Both are fights that have been forced upon us, rather than the fights we would really want to see.

Instead of watching Manny Pacquiao face Floyd Mayweather and David Haye facing one of the Klitschko’s, we have Antonio Margarito and Audley Harrison in the respective opposite corners. This despite Haye stating categorically earlier in the year that he wasn’t going to fight A-Force.

Both Margarito and Harrison are not really deserving of their shots, Audley having never faced anyone of note, and securing his shot at Haye by a last gasp lucky KO of Michael Sprott, a man who is hardly a world class performer.

Margarito has of course endured the wrath of the boxing community due to the hand-wraps scandal, when his wraps were found to be illegal prior to his fight with Shane Mosley. Many boxing fans and insiders are saying that Antonio should not be fighting for a world title, and making a big payday, but in reality he does deserve another chance.

If I were to play devil’s advocate for the moment, it could be said that Margarito has never in fact cheated. What if Antonio was clean previously and wasn’t aware of what was being done to his handwraps before facing Mosley? So maybe he’s never actually boxed with dodgy wraps? There’s no chance of proving either way now, we will all just be left with our suspicions.

To be honest, I think it’s unlikely that he didn’t know what was going on in the dressing room before the Mosley fight, he obviously thought he could get away with it, but didn’t. The subsequent one year ban was fair, that has been served, and a second chance must be granted.

So if Margarito as a challenger is not popular with the fans, one would think Audley isn’t exactly a favourite either. Oddly though, it’s Haye as the champion who is being derided in the battle for the rather tarnished WBA Heavyweight crown. This is due in no small part to David’s assertion that he is here to clean up the division.

Unfortunantly for Haye, actions speak much much louder than mere words.

Since moving up from Cruiserweight, where he won the WBA/WBC/WBO crowns, David has been all bark and no bite. Despite winning the WBA Heavyweight title and being unbeaten at the weight, he has certainly flattered to deceive thus far.

Bouts with both Klitschko’s have yet to happen, and with Haye’s intention to retire within the year, it’s very doubtful that Haye will fight them both and unify the division as he is often boasting he will. David’s credibility has been further damaged by taking the bout with Harrison, and only a quick knockout will satisfy the doubters, although some might say that Haye’s credibility has already been terminally damaged.

Personally, I would say that David needs to forget his idea of retiring by October 2011, and give himself time to deal with Chagaev (his mandatory after Audley), before fighting Wladimir Klitschko, followed by his brother Vitali.

That course of action might yet redeem his somewhat tarnished reputation, leaving him to retire with his goals acheived. Will it happen? Only time will tell.

First though, Haye must get past Harrison, something he should be able to do with ease, but there are some danger signs Haye needs to look out for.

The first problem for Haye is that Audley can punch with authority, when he’s in the mood, and with David not owning the division’s strongest set of whiskers, Harrison might get the chance to spring a surprise.

Audley’s other assets are his speed of hand and his southpaw stance, both which could cause Haye problems. Harrison’s southpaw left cross whips in very quickly when he lets it go with menace, David might have a problem seeing it coming. Harrison should also be ‘up’ for this fight, himself and Haye go back a long way and were once friends. A desire to put Haye in his place may make the former Olympic champion a dangerous foe, but is it really likely?

The most likely scenario is that Audley will as usual revert to type, and freeze on the big occassion. Haye will be able to take advantage of Harrison’s timid ring persona, forcing him into a fearful panic, and rendering Audley’s advantages useless. Once on the back foot, Harrison’s cause is lost, and barring a very lucky punch, he has no hope of victory. If Sprott could KO Audley in their first fight, surely David can do the same.

An early KO is absolutely essential for Haye, he cannot be seen to struggle with Audley in any way. Ideally a first round KO is what David needs to produce, and it would make people take note, especially with title-fight first round knockouts quite a rarity in the Heavyweight division these days.

My prediction for Haye-Harrison is that David will come out fast right from the get-go, scoring a knockdown of Audley within the first 45 seconds. Audley will rise to his feet, but will not be able to escape the following barrage from the champion, resulting in another knockdown. This will be for the full count, and proceedings should be concluded before the two minute mark of the opening round. Anything less from Haye will not be enough, he needs to KO Harrison quicker than Sprott did to live up to his own hype.

Whether the victory leads to a fight with the brothers Klitschko remains to be seen, but I for one will not be holding my breath.

The second fight of the night is the battle between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito for the vacant WBC Light-Middleweight crown. The Pacman is looking for a title in an eighth different weight class, having already amassed more belts than you could shake a ringpost at. He’ll never be short of something to hold up his trousers with!

Margarito has moved up from 147lbs and is looking for the only major belt he is yet to own. As a welter he has held the WBA, WBO and IBF titles at various points in his career. He is now campaigning at 154lbs, and did not look too good in his comeback fight against Roberto Garcia. A legacy of the punishment he took against Mosley, or simply ring-rust after a suspension? His fight with Pacquiao should provide us with answers.

Many are not giving Antonio a chance to win this fight, the general consensus is that Manny will be too fast and throw too many combinations for Margarito to handle. However, there are some advantages possessed by Margarito that could help him win the fight.

Antonio is taller and posesses a longer reach than the Pacman, these are tools he needs to use if he is to keep the smaller man at bay. Margarito’s chin is also known to be solid, (although Shane Mosley was able to stop him, will Antonio’s chin now be less able to absorb punishment?) He needs to stop Pacquiao from testing it, but that will not be easy.

Often a slow starter, Margarito has to shake off this habit if he is to stand any chance of springing the upset. Pacquiao is very difficult to overcome if allowed to get off to a fast start and into a rhythm. Margarito has to get that long left jab into Manny’s face right from the off, keeping him at bay and following it up with straight rights to disuade Pacquiao from recklessly charging in. Mixing things up with a double jab would also be good for Margarito, and would help him from becoming too predictable.

Pacquiao can be cut badly at times, and Margarito’s long distance tactics could take advantage of this weakness. Although not a huge puncher, Margarito could possbily catch Manny on the way in, and that could make things interesting as Manny has been KO’d before, albeit a long time ago. The big question though for Margarito is, can he stay disciplined enough in the face of whirlwind pressure from Pacquiao to put this plan into operation for the course of the fight? Somehow, I don’t believe he can.

Antonio is bound to be a lesser fighter than he was after the beating from Mosley, and although he stopped Cotto, Miguel did batter Margarito at will. Antonio has taken a fair amount of punishment recently and that simply has to have an effect, and might well cause him to capitulate a lot earlier than expected.

For me, a win for Pacquiao is almost a foregone conclusion, it’s more the nature of his win that is up for debate.

If Margarito’s chin is still strong, then maybe he can even last the distance, if it’s weakened, he could go in quick time a la Hatton. Most likely though is a sustained beating type of defeat for Margarito, getting stopped somewhere about rounds eight and nine, and looking pretty badly marked up by the end.