Super fight, be damned!
After Manny Pacquiaos weekend massacre of Antonio Margarito, does it matter if Pacman fights Floyd Mayweather? The boxing insiders Ive spoken to suggest that there is so much bad blood between the camps that the fight will never get made. Sure Floyd will give Manny his toughest fight, but until he comes out of hiding, Im more excited about what Pacquiao does next.
Sergio Martinez might be in line if he defeats Paul Williams this weekend. Sergio’s promoter, Lou DiBella, thinks Martinez would be the ultimate challenge for Manny. Money-wise, DiBella says, Pacquiao-Martinez could exceed what Pacquiao has done in his last two fights – although DiBella was quick to emphasize that neither he nor Sergio are looking past Paul Williams. As far as what a reasonable catch weight would be for the fight if it were to happen, DiBella is confident that both camps can “sit and discuss weight in good faith.
Sergios advisor, Sampson Lewkowicz, is not optimistic. Lewkowicz was a matchmaker for Pacquiao early in Pacquiaos career. He believes that Pacquiao would never fight Martinez. Mannys too small and Martinez cant make 150, said Lewkowicz. Its a mismatch and it would be impossible. It would be a real middleweight against a junior welterweight.
Boxing historian and analyst Steve Farhood, who I spoke to at Zsolt Erdeis open workout this week, says he loves the idea of a
Pacquiao-Martinez fight, but Farhood wouldn’t recommend it for Pacquiao. “Pacquiao is coming off a very competitive one-sided fight
that was very physical for him, and I think it’s time he fights someone his own size, said Farhood. Paul Williams makes more sense
at 147. Sergio is just too big.
The Margarito fight may have signaled the end of Manny moving up in weight. His trainer Alex Ariza alluded to the circus sideshow aspect of Manny continually packing on the pounds to put the hurt on a bigger man. At the Margarito weigh-in, Manny came in well below the 150 pound limit, and even in decisive victory, Pacquiao admitted to being hurt by his much bigger opponent. Take a look at the body shot Pacquiao absorbed (at 2:35 of this video) www.youtube.com/watch in the sixth round – a
heat-seeking, almost invisible left similar to the Margarito shot that destroyed Kermit Cintron. Allow me this instance of veering off just the facts, maam to offer some stated pro Manny bias–We should all be careful about sacrificing our idol.
If Pacquiao decides he wants to stay at 147, Promoter Bob Arum may try to pull off Pacquiao-Mosley if he is unable to make a deal with Mayweather. But what would Shane have to offer? Against Floyd, Mosley was out of gas by the third round. And one wonders whether Pacquaio could even get up for a Mosley fight with his growing list of political commitments (read: distractions) outside of the ring. DiBella dismissed the idea outright, asking me why anyone would think Mosley is a challenge at this point in his career. I agree, but I think the easy money is on Arum to try to make this fight and keep negotiations under one promotional banner, if rumors of Shane leaving Oscar are true. Unfortunately, Mosley is a live option.
The good news is that talk about a rematch with Miguel Cotto should die. Arum will try to make Cotto Margarito II: Unfinished Business happen next year. Mexico versus Puerto Rico always does well at the box office.
Juan Manuel Marquez is still high on Mannys short list, for two reasons: First, Ariza and Coach Roach both want to shut Marquez up and second, Manny is simply running out of options. Pacquiao could throw Marquez a bone and take the fight at 140 given how slow Marquez looked coming up in weight to face Floyd. Arum would have no problem marketing the fight, and both sides can trade HBO 24/7-worthy salvos about whether Manny deserved his previous points victories over Marquez. My gut says that Marquez will only be deemed worthy if he looks superb in his upcoming fight against Michael Katsidis. Should Marquez look to be fading, there is no way he gets a second look for a third fight with Manny.
If Pacquiao wants to close the show as he opened it, guns blazing, he might entertain Paul Williams for one last fight. Both camps could make the bout happen at 147. Floyd has been accused of ducking both Margarito and Williams. By defeating the two most avoided men in the 147 pound division, Pacquiao would end his career needing Floyd less than Floyd would need Manny, and the scales at the negotiating table could shift for good. Some argue that Williams would be too much for Pacquiao, but Manny wont stand in front of Williams and trade all night. Hell exploit William’s poor defense. And what Manny forfeits in height and reach, he makes up in power, speed and agility. Prediction: MP UD 12 over LTP.
Finally, I will ignore those inviting Manny to join the 140 pound party. Pacquiao would have his way with Khan, Maidana, Bradley and
Alexander. More precisely, if Manny decides to try light welterweight, he would be taking a page from the Mayweather play book…and that is not the behavior anyone should expect from an elected official.