There are a few simple things on the line for tonight's Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito fight. When the fight kicks off from Cowboys Stadium around 11:30 --- after plenty of build-up during the period between the time the HBO pay-per-view starts at 9:00 Eastern and the time Pacquiao and Margarito enter the ring — for the WBC super welterweight title. And it's one of the last logical Pacquiao fights before the long-rumored megafight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather; for Margarito, it's a chance at redemption after a career sullied by a suspension for using loaded gloves.
But as far as what's really at stake, beyond the tangible? Boxing sage Avi "Shoefly" Korine does a good job of explaining that — and why he's rooting for Manny Pacquiao:
In the same way it’s transfixing to watch a nature show featuring a bird of prey in descent, a leopard giving chase, or more apt in this context, a regal steed at the races – Secratariat powering down the tracks while onlookers weep in the stands; that’s what Pacquiao is to me. A human body honed and suited to its purpose. I can’t remark enough on what a rare and perfect thing that is, a true joy for us muddlers and tumblers lurching about in the muck; those of us for whom moments of completeness are so rare and profound in our own lives they are often only spoken of in a religious or drug-filtered context.
Pacquiao represents a fullness of being that is rare and special, which I call inspiration. A gift from the void that only the select have and is a blessing and joy to watch.
And Margarito? Well, he’s something of the opposite. I’ve always found him unwatchable and unsympathetic, a rebuke to the way I try to justify and enjoy and filter the callous blood lust of this sport. For people like me it’s important to build narrative filters and deeper subtexts to the sport so that it goes beyond blood and bone and moves into history and manhood and craft and the unstoppable forward march of progress.