In Boxing News: Pacquiao-Morales Fever Heats Up

As Manny Pacquiao vs. Erik Morales inches closer, the enthusiasm of the Filipino boxing fans and boxing press is irresistable. (Before any Mexican fight fans leave angry comments below, that’s simply a reference to the amount of Pacquiao coverage in the boxing press right now and the amount of feeback we are getting from Filipino boxing fans at this site. It has been duly noted by myself in the past that Erik Morales is one of the great warriors in the game and that the Mexican boxing fans are equally passionate.)

As Pacquiao fever continues to heat up, the Philippine Daily Inquirer seemingly articulates the hopes of a nation: With [Pacquiao] in the ring, the hurts and horrors of a blighted nation take the back seat — even if only momentarily. Pacquiao has this aura, if not mantra, to lullaby us to dreamland, if not fantasyland, each time he climbs the ring. Everybody expects him to win even when ranged against the best of the lot, such as Erik Morales, so-called Mexico’s El Terible … Trainer Freddie Roach remains confident. Roach believes that if Manny Pacquiao dots the Is and crosses the Ts, there is no way Erik Morales will victimize the Filipino southpaw for the second time on Saturday night: If we fight correctly, then we can even score a knockout. We are ready to go 12 hard rounds. Speaking of the eminently likeable Roach, he retired as a fighter shortly after his last bout in October 1986, bitter and broke: I hated boxing. I put everything in my life into it and didn’t get much out of it. My biggest payday was $13,000 when I fought Hector Camacho. When I retired, I didn’t have much and I had to get a job as a telemarketer. Well, look at him now says the Pasadena Star News.

Not surprisingly, Erik Morales‘ camp could not disagree more with Roach that Pacquiao’s adjustements the second time around will tip the balance in the Pacman’s favor. Jim Watt – former WBC Lightweight champion – writing for Sky Sports also doubts whether Pacquiao has it in him to change his style enough to reverse the outcome this time around. It is, without doubt, a legitimate viewpoint.

Jesse Cox has an entertaining (and informative) take here at on Zab Judah and Carlos Baldomir. Though hardly central to the column, one passage did catch my eye. Though Judah held the WBC, WBA and IBF belts, after defeating the “undisputed welterweight champion” Baldomir emerged with only the WBC belt. Baldomir, it turned out, had not paid the sanctioning fees to the WBA and IBF. My purse was only $100,000, Baldomir said Sunday after the fight. If I paid each of them the required three percent, I would have come away with nothing. Well, nothing except three belts with which you may barter your way into multiple fights for more money, says Cox … Personally, I find the situation Baldomir found himself in almost comical. Well, comical in a kind of illogical, stupefeying, you-might-cry-if-you-don’t-laugh kind of way. Baldomir fights the undisputed welterweight champion on one of the big networks and (if what he says is actually correct) he must fight for nothing in order to be considered the undisputed champion – after beating the undisputed champion. Yes, I know somebody out there is going to tell me his promoter didn’t do his job, or I’m ill-informed and don’t understand what actually went down. Or maybe it is just the case that I studied at inferior educational insititutions because I’m just not seeing it. I’m sure Baldomir believed he could win, but he was – after all – fighting Zab Judah. Even he must have known it was hardly a slam dunk. I’m not sure anybody can expect Baldomir to have rolled the dice like that or had that type of financial vision. I’m not sure Warren Buffett has that kind of vision.

In an expanded notebook feature, Dan Rafael of ESPN sheds some light on Roy Jones Jr.’s firing by HBO. Jones’ lack of commitment to attending production meetings has long been an issue, and HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg finally had enough: Roy was not able to give us the commitment we needed as a broadcaster. It was an issue of time, effort and preparation. He is still an active fighter. Sounds like Roy Jones Jr. just doesn’t like attending meetings (sometimes of the press conference variety) of any kind, be it as a fighter or as an analyst.

In heavyweight news, doors are opening for Joe Mesi. The undefeated heavyweight, on the verge of resuming his derailed career, is confident he will receive a much-coveted boxing license to fight in the United States after being banned for nearly two years. And apparently Nikolai Valuev hates being called Beast from the East. Can you blame him? My mom and dad named me Nikolai. My family name is Valuev. All the rest is bull, says the big man from the city formerly known as Leningrad.

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