We have a date, but we need a date, a partner for Manny Pacquiao to dance with. At this juncture, the partner is just about immaterial. Manny is the man; the boxing world revolves around him as Floyd Mayweather stays stuck in a muck of legal woes and motivation issues.
It's looking like May 7 Pacquiao will lace 'em up again, and it looks like Shane Mosley has the inside track on the waltz with the Congressman. Fight fans haven't warmed up to the idea of Manny-Mosley, understandable since Sugar Shane has lost all semblance of the sweetness of skills which made him a pound for pounder back around the year 2000.
But from a business perspective, what Mosley has left in the tank just doesn't much matter. So he's 2-2-1 in his last five, and has shown signs that he is close to shot, to the state where he can see an opening, his brain tells him it's there and tells him to "fire," but his body rebels. We all know that the best promoters in the business, Top Rank, could at this point put Manny in against Editor Mike, and do half a million pay per view buys.
Manny turns 32 on Friday, and word is he'll pick from Mosley, Marquez (who is said to be seeking too much dough and has a fatal flaw in that he's promoted by Golden Boy) and Andre Berto, who cannot boast much in the name recognition department, and likely will not secure the gig.
TSS-EM shot the bull on Wednesday afternoon with Manny Steward, the Hall of Fame trainer/manager who handles Wladimir Klitshcko, and Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto. When EM used the "s" word--shot--in regards to Mosley, Manny just about cringed on the phone.
"I guess he is, I didn't want to say that," he said. "People ask how can Top Rank sell Manny-Mosley, they will because it has Pacquiao in it. Every once in awhile you get it where the one fighter is everything, like with Tyson. The opponent doesn't matter."
Ah, but it does if you seek to see the best fighting the best, if you seek what is best for the longterm health of the sport. But capitalism and the longterm health of the sector being mined don't often interesect, do they?
Steward told us that reports that Cotto-Vanes Martirosyan being a done deal is premature. Soon, Team Cotto will pick from among a group of four guys, Martirosyan, Cornelius Bundrage, Pawel Wolak and Saul's brother Rigoberto Alvarez, for Miguel's next scrap. Steward didn't offer his choice for foe. But he did get points from TSS when he refused to lobby for a Manny-Cotto rematch immediately.
Is the presence of Steward in Cotto's corner enough, I asked, to sell Pacquiao-Cotto II, enough for us to see Cotto having more luck this time around?
"Not off one fight," said the Kronk king. "Not off the one fight in June against Yuri Foreman. He needs a couple fights to make the public agree."
The public definiteively would like to see Manny's heavyweight, Wladimir Klitschko, shut the mouth of punkass poseur David Haye. Wlad was due to take on Dereck Chisora on Dec. 11, but pulled out with a stomach injury. Haye has flirted with both Brothers K for the last two years, and has disappeared when the going got too heavy, and a deal was imminent. Now, Steward says, he may have no choice but go through with it. "He has no choice," Manny said. "In his own country, they're turning against him."
I won't pretend objectivity here. Haye went far as he paraded the image of beheaded Klitschkos and he went too damned far for me when he promised foe Audley Harrison would be tortured like a victim of a gang rape before the two met Nov. 13. His trash talk and behavior isn't merely in bad taste; it crosses the line, and I hope that Klitschko, properly motivated after Haye so affronted his mom with the sick image, pummels some humility into the Brit. Steward thinks Wlad will show a nasty side that doesn't emerge too often. "You'll see an attitude like when Chris Byrd's people pissed him off," he said. "He wanted to really eff Chris up."
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?