The man is just a darned decent soul, isn’t he?
He spent six hours doing a turkey giveaway in LA on Sunday. His copious donations to various charities in his native Philippines has some people concerned that he’ll give away “too much” of his earnings from prizefighting. And when given the opportunity to toss a verbal haymaker or two at the man he’ll be battling on December 6, Manny Pacquiao can only muster a limp implication that Oscar De La Hoya wasn’t being fair when he implied that Freddie Roach was a large cause in his loss to Floyd Mayweather.
No, if you’re looking for Manny to break out of his nice guy shell, and stir up the pot going into his faceoff with De La Hoya, you’ll have better luck waiting for government “bailout” checks to appear in your mailbox: it ain’t gonna happen.
Boxing’s reigning pound for pound titlist somehow doesn’t let that oversized heart prevent him from looking to do damage when he’s in a scrap, thankfully, and Pacquaio says that he’s on target to make like David, and take down Goliath De La Hoya in two weeks in Las Vegas.
“The pressure is there, but I’ve had a great, great camp,” he told the press on a Monday conference call. “It will be the biggest fight of my career.”
A win would launch Pacquiao (47-3-2, 35 KOs; 6-1-1 record in Las Vegas;) head and shoulders ahead of anybody else in the P4P sweepstakes; right now, Joe Calzaghe breathes down Manny’s neck, and in some quarters, edges out Pacman on P4P polls. But Pacquiao says that he hasn’t departed from his routine all that much while preparing to fight at 147 pounds, at a class 17 pounds higher than where he was campaigning a year ago.
His prep has gone according to plan, he says, and he wouldn’t allow himself the possibility of focusing on a showdown with Ricky Hatton if he does the unlikely, and beats the beefier boxer on Dec. 6. “I watched Hatton/Malignaggi,” he said. “(Pacquiao/Hatton) is a good fight, but I don’t want to do something to affect my concentration for this fight.”
Freddie Roach has played provocateur for this promotion, providing the drama and trash talking needed to lure in those customers who need some fiery banter to lure them into purchasing the PPV. He’s accused Oscar of being shot, basically, and ridiculed him for playing the blame game, and using Roach as a scapegoat for his loss to Money Mayweather. Pacquiao is quite content to let Freddie be Freddie, and handle this end of the promotion. “I don’t have a comment about that,” he said. “That’s between my trainer and Oscar. I’m just focused on training.” There’s that decent soul on display, once again…
Pacman did allow that “I never blame my trainer if I lose, I blame myself. In training you can suggest to the trainer, ‘Do this, do that.” For Manny, that’s some James Toney style trashtalking…
He wouldn’t even take the bait when someone asked him if he or Oscar is the better singer. Or when another writer mentioned that Oscar has busted on him for what he deemed unethical methods used during contract negotiations between him, Top Rank, and Golden Boy last year…
In camp, Pacquiao said an inordinate amount of attention is being paid to defense, as he realizes that Oscar’s power will be his greatest asset in Las Vegas. “I think I can handle his power,” said the Filipino, who turns 30 on Dec. 17.
“His” power seems to be what most pundits are focused on heading in to the smashup. But what about “his” ability to stay strong at 147 pounds? The difference in severity of caloric deprivation for a 5-10 ½ man versus one 5-6 ½ is pronounced. Perhaps Oscar will find himself flatter than the economy come fight night, a listless shell of his himself who cannot summon the energy to fend off the rat a tat rushes from the hyper Filipino. Pacquiao did react when told that Oscar has stated that he will be extremely disappointed if he doesn’t win a stoppage. Did he finally fire back, use some salty language, let fly with an impatient reply? Nope. In typical serene fashion, Pacquiao made his point, without raising his blood pressure even half a tick.
“It is easy to say the words, to do that is not easy,” Pacquiao said.
A healthy segment of TSS Universe seems to think this bout is an egregious mismatch, an oddity pairing, nothing more than a cynical exercise in revenue building. I disagree. This fight will have enough drama to justify its purchase (if you share the expense with some pals, especially). Pacquiao’s hands will get to Oscar’s face, enough to make it interesting. Will that happen often enough, and with enough power, over enough rounds, to enable Manny to have his hand raised at the end of the night? I’m dubious. But as someone who roots for the nice guy to finish first, for the good-hearted souls to get theirs, I will not bet against Manny. This nice guy fights like his foe has just called his mom a bad name.