Promoter Bob Arum hosted an intimate press gathering at the Friars Club in Manhattan on Tuesday, and banged the drum for the November 13 Cowboys Stadium clash pitting the Congressman, Manny Pacquiao, against the redemption-seeking ex welterweight champion Antonio Margarito.
Much has been made of the distraction issue, as breathless media reports have various members of Team Manny in varying states of worry that their guy is lacking focus, and has taken on too much.
I asked Arum if hes of the mindset that the wearing off too many hats, as boxer, as politician, as Dan Hill impersonator, might have Pacquiao spreading himself too thin, and leaving himself at the mercy of the largest man hes ever faced, Margarito?
Its Manny Pacquiao, said Arum, who seemed in fine form, happily, for those that understand that it has been just seven weeks since his son John Arum died in a hiking accident. He has the ability to multitask. To deal with a bid to get more money for his province while training for this fight, I cant do it. But Im older. He seems able to do it. Itd be good if he didnt have the distractions, but thatll never happen.
Arum plays the promoter to the hilt, of course, but damned if he isnt the best in the business at finding compelling, credible arguments to bolster his case, that Pacquiao is in tough.
He said that he expects Manny to weight 151 on fight night, while Margarito will likely be 165, which is a massive weight advantage for the Mexican.
After this one, Arum said, he does expect Pacquiao to go back down to 147, on the advice of Coach Roach, among others. But Id caution that we should see how it plays out on Nov. 13. If Manny is Manny in Texas, and uses his speed-movement marriage to perfection, Id be surprised if his crew stays on message with him dropping down.
Arum touched on this matter when someone asked about Pacquiao-Paul Williams, if Williams beats Sergio Martinez on Nov. 20. He assessed a matchup pitting the 5-6 1/2 Pacquiao against the 6-1 Williams as ludicrous because of the height disparity, but said that a Pacquiao-Williams clash would be a consideration.
But, the promoter said, I cant envisage the two fighters, one is eight inches taller. Hed have to get a step ladder. Lets see how he handles Margarito. Manny has never fought a guy this big.
Besides, Arum says that after a Pacquiao win, only one fight has priority, thats Mayweather.
But, he cautioned, making that will be dependent not only on the desires of the wishy washy Mayweather (my wording, not Bobs), and Floyds legal status. Mayweather is scheduled for a court date to answer domestic abuse charges on November 9, so well all know more then. (Mayweather is) Mannys first priority (after Margarito), he said.
As for a third date with Juan Manuel Marquez, which has been floated by Coach Roach, Arum didnt seem keen on the concept. Id be shocked if Freddie said that, he said something different to me, Arum said. I love Freddie but Im not sure where he got that.
Check back for more lowdown from the Friars Club gathering. TSS chatted with Pacquiaos main sparring mate for this camp, Jersey Boy Glen Tapia, a a 20-year-old junior middleweight with a 7-0 mark. Also, we sat down with Kelly Pavlik, who seemed happy that he was able to eat, if not to his hearts content, then close to it. Hell face off with Bryan Vera on the Nov. 13 undercard, in a catchweight-164 max scrap. From now on, I will be calling him The Mayor, because he showed a solid insight of his local political scene, and admitted he might well in the future take a dive into the political pool, a la Pacquiao, as he tucked into his chicken entree.