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MayweatherCotto Hogan 85Stephen A. said he now thinks Mayweather is ducking Manny, after Manny said Floyd in their January phone call expressed fear of losing to the Congressman. (Hogan)

There are those that say that nobody cares about the fourth tussle between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. They've been there, done that, I've seen that, I will do something else the night of Dec. 8. Alright, you go ahead and watch what indignity the Kardashians are into, or whatever. I will watch, and guess what, if you are a true boxing fan, I am guessing after all the grumbling, so will you. Because if the memo got caught in your spam folder, I got news for you: this is the boxing “business,” and this feasible match is the one that puts the most money on the table for the principals. Now…do I like it when every now and again money gets left on the table, and a less renumerative matchup gets made, because the fans and/or the fighters demand it? Of course I do. I'm a “47%” sort of guy, one who knows at the end of the day, money is nice to have, and I like to have enough to meet basic needs, but if all you are doing is chasing it, and idolizing it, you are missing the point in life, and part of me pities you.

End rant…

Yesterday, Pacquiao, age 33, and Marquez, age 39, hit ESPN in Bristol, CT., and sat down at the “First Take” table. They chatted with host Stephen A. Smith, who asked why we're seeing a fourth scrap, when, it can be argued, we've already seen them fight on even terms in three other fights. Marquez, whose English has improved considerably over the years, said we're seeing it because it will be different, because something has to change. “I need to change, I don't know what, but I need to change,” the Mexican said. Smith apologized to Manny, who grinned that Manny grin, and said he thought Marquez won their last tussle, last November. “Why change something that works?” Smith asked. Marquez maybe needs to be even more aggressive, he answered, because he got no love from the judges with his previous tactics.

“I need to get back the aggressiveness I had,” Pacquiao said, of his strategy for fight four. Basically, both men said that they are gunning for a KO, as they have not before when facing each other.

Co-host Skip Bayless, with those Manson lamps boring in, asked Marquez who'd win a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. “I think Mayweather,” Marquez answered. He said he thinks Floyd is the best defender in the game, and that he would exploit Manny's aggressiveness. Manny hits harder than Floyd, though, Marquez said. Smith said he thinks Manny is “too small” for Mayweather and his aggression would be, as Marquez said, be used against him. He'd lose by decision or maybe even get caught late. Manny cited Hatton and De La Hoya's success against Floyd, which he said came when they attacked him, pressed him. Floyd likes to maintain distance to his liking, Marquez interjected.

Is Mayweather afraid of you, Manny, Bayless asked?

Manny chuckled, hesitated, and said, “I think it's kind of that.” Bayless concurred.

“What is stopping (a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight)? No guts, no glory, for your man Floyd. Isn't that right, Floyd?” said Bayless, staring at the camera, on the Friday morning episode. Smith shared on Friday that Pacman told him that when Manny and Floyd talked on the phone back in January, Manny said, “Money” asked him what if he lost, and insinuated that would be horrid, because boxing is all he has, while Manny has a political career to fall back on. Smith then said he wouldn't counter anyone who said that Mayweather is scared to fight Pacquiao, a change in stance for him, because Pacman had nudged him closer to being convinced that Floyd fears a loss to Pacquiao. Smith was moved by the fact that Pacquiao laughed “hysterically” at the thought of Mayweather beating him, during an apperance on his radio show. “I have never seen anybody call out Mayweather this way,” Smith said. “I have to believe Floyd is ducking him,” Smith decided.

Smith said he liked Marquez to beat Manny by decision on December 8.

Manny also agreed on Thursday to take a lesser split, 45 to Floyd's Mayweather 55, whereas a few months ago, his stance was that an extra 10 percent should go to the winner. “As far as the drug testing, no problem, whatever he's requesting,” Pacquiao said of Mayweather. “Even the night of the fight, no problem.”

ESPN made good use of both men, having them do a Face to Face question segment, and had Manny take questions on a SportsCenter segment, as well.

Good to see the Worldwide Leader giving boxing some love.

Note: Floyd has been laying low, while news piles up, but I did reach out, to see if he wanted to touch on the Smith stance. I will keep you all apprised…

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