Is there really any doubt that Manny Pacquiao has moved into rarified territory, that he's a crossover star who has broken out of niche superstar status in the world of boxing, and into the sphere of sports as a whole? With two weeks until Pacquiao gloves up against Joshua Clottey at Cowboys Stadium, promoter Bob Arum told press on a Friday conference call that less than eight thousand tickets remain, of the 40,000 available, and that he's certain the bout will be sold out come the week of the event.

On the call, trainer Freddie Roach basically assured all that Pacquiao, who he said pitched a shutout in eleven rounds of sparring yesterday, will be the first man to stop the Ghanian Clottey. “We haven't seen the best of Manny Pacquaio,” said Roach, who turns 50 next week. “He's getting better all the time. We know Clottey's mistakes and habits, and we'll overwhelm him with speed and combinations.” Roach told us that given his druthers, we won't see Manny working off the ropes against Clottey as much as he did against Cotto. That move gave Freddie a mini heart attack…”He's not going to find us,” Freddie said.

Promoter Arum went out on a limb and proclaimed that Pacquiao is the best fighter he's ever seen live. Yup…better than Mayweather. “The promoter said he still believes we will see Pacquiao-Mayweather, despite the fact that Arum said a lawsuit against Team Mayweather for making allegations that Manny uses PEDs will chug ahead, and will be filed sometime in March. “The lawsuit continues and we will kayo him in court, too,” Arum said.

Manny, for his part, said he's OK if he retires never having fought Mayweather. Roach seems most keen on having Manny face off with Floyd; the trainer said he's seen a different side of Manny during training, that the Filipino will shadow box, and picture Mayweather at times, and will formulate his plan of attack for Floyd even as he counts down to go time with Clottey. “I know Manny will knock him out, and the whole world will be happy,” Freddie said.

I have to bring my daughter out to play in the snow before her nap, so I will finish this writeup in a bit…