In Boxing News: Pacquiao and Sensational in the Same Sentence

Preparations are underway to give boxing hero Manny Pacquiao a superhero’s welcome in the Phillipines and – according to the Phillipine Daily Inquirer – Pacquiao will not know what hit him on his return, which will probably be on Friday. Administration Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla on Monday called for a special non-working holiday for the arrival of Pacquiao in the Philippines. Now I’m not Filipino myself, but that’s definitely my kind of politician.

Erik Morales, says the Las Vegas Sun, is at a career crossroads: with his third loss in past four fights, Morales has difficult decision ahead. Erik has to make that decision (whether to fight again), said Morales’ promoter Bob Arum. I’m not in favor of it or … (opposed to) it. It’s his call to make, not mine. Early reports indicate Morales will take some time to rest before making any decisions.

If a third fight with Morales does not materialise for Pacquaio, who’s next in line for the Filipino southpaw? With Morales uncertain, Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez appear to be the next best foes for Pacquiao. The World Boxing Council earlier announced that the Pacquiao-Morales fight was an elimination bout for the mandatory defense of Barrera’s super-featherweight title. But Pacquiao’s promoter Garry Shaw nixed the idea of facing Barrera immediately (after Golden Boy Promotions offered to have the fight on March 25 after Barrera’s supposed bout with Jesus Chavez on that same date was postponed). That’s too soon after coming off a tough fight, said Shaw.

I wrote yesterday in this space that my colleague Matt Aguilar was bearing the brunt of picking Morales to win against Pacquiao in the form of an overwhelming amount of emails from Filipino boxing fans writing to remind Matt of his pick. It seems my plea to go easy on Matt had some effect, as the rate of incoming slowed somewhat yesterday. Unfortunately, it seems the Filipino fans are now not happy with me, as some of them believe I am an apologist for Erik Morales and that I didn’t give Pacquiao due credit for his victory. To all of those who wrote to me or are thinking about it: I used the word “sensational” and “Pacquiao” in the same sentence. I think that says it all. Pacquiao is perhaps the most exciting fighter in boxing right now, and the fact he holds victories over Morales and Barrera is an awesome feat. It does not, however, in any way detract from Pacquiao’s victory over Morales to look at it objectively. That’s what we do here. We’re not here to wave pom-poms for any one particular fighter.

Bernard Fernandez writes that you might not have heard of Arturo Gatti opponent Thomas Damgaard, who’s never fought outside of his home country, but he’s no Danish pastry. The man known as “Lionheart” has defeated such quality opponents as Greg Haugen, Philip Holiday, Rodney Jones, Khalid Rahilou and Peter Malinga. Pat Lynch, Gatti’s trainer, does not expect an easy fight: We know we’re in for a very difficult time of it. If you hit Damgaard, he keeps coming. He’s no slouch, and his record shows it… Micky Ward has spoken to me at length about Damgaard. Back in 2000, Micky spent a couple of months in Denmark sparring with him. He said, ‘He’s a really, really tough fighter.’ Micky, who’s as tough as they come, wouldn’t say that if it wasn’t true.

More sad news in the ongoing tribulations of Oliver McCall. The former world heavyweight champion is reportedly in more trouble with US authorities. McCall was arrested last week after allegedly running away from officers attempting to arrest him for trespassing in a public housing development. Police were forced to use a Taser to restrain McCall, 40, who now resides in Collinsville, Virginia. Upon his arrest police recovered a glass pipe and drug paraphernalia.

Finally, Nigeria’s Bash Ali, is at it again. At 50, the grandpa of boxing says his dream is to enter his name into the Guinness World Records as the oldest boxer to win a title fight.

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