By Sid Ventura, Special to Yahoo! Southeast Asia Friday June 18, 2010 06:12 pm PHT
Pacquiao-Mayweather is the big bout we've all been waiting for, but both camps have been silent recently. Just who exactly is Manny fighting in November?
Everyone is still assuming a Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather matchup is on later this year, but no one from both camps is saying anything. According to Robert Morales at boxingscene.com, Bob Arum will only confirm that Manny will have a bout in November, but at this point can't say who against. Meanwhile, Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, also refused to comment on anything.
Between Floyd's announcements about a planned hiatus and the lack of even a shred of confirmation from Arum and Schaefer, you can't help but wonder if the megafight will take place at all. Meanwhile, names like Antonio Margarito and Tim Bradley are being floated around as candidates in case the Mayweather talks float through. Pacquiao himself was quoted as saying he wouldn't mind a rematch with two former victims: newly-crowned light middleweight champion Miguel Cotto and former junior welterweight champ Ricky Hatton.
Of these four, I don't see anyone who will be worth watching, but if I were to choose, Margarito would probably be the most intriguing prospect. He has the height (5'11") to make Manny work a bit harder. The problem is his reputation has forever been tarnished by a suspension due to the illegal substances found in his hand wraps right before he fought Shane Mosley in January last year.
Bradley has no name recall so I'm pretty sure Arum will quickly strike this name off the list. I'll bet most of you immediately searched his name on the Web as soon as you read this. As for Cotto, the Pacquiao camp must be salivating at the prospect of beating the Puerto Rican again with his WBA light middleweight title on the line. A win would give Pacquiao a title in an eighth weight class, a record that would undoubtedly stand for a long, long time. But seriously, this may be pushing it. Pacquiao fighting at 154 pounds will be testing the limits of his body. Besides, right now I think fighting Mayweather is more important than capturing an eighth title.
Hatton? I can only surmise that Pacquiao was joking when he said he would welcome a rematch with this guy. Who would want to watch that? Rematches are made if the first fight was a) exciting; and b) close to the point of being inconclusive. Pacquiao-Hatton was exciting, but in a mismatch sort of way. And it certainly wasn't close. What's more, if this fight is to be made, Hatton probably needs 10 years to get back into shape. The guy is so overweight that the joke making the rounds about him goes, "There is only one Ricky Hatton? Apparently now there are two."
(Sidebar: I think the rematch that needs to be made is Cotto-Margarito. Their first bout ended with Cotto taking a knee in the 11th round after a savage beating from Margarito. But then came the hand wraps issue with Mosley, and now everybody is wondering if Margarito didn't have anything loaded in his gloves that caused a tough customer like Cotto to quit. A rematch should settle the issue once and for all.)
For Pacquiao, I repeat: if this is going to be his last fight, then it should be against Mayweather and no one else. Forget about going for a title in an eighth weight class. Forget about those other pretenders. Go out with a bang and fight the best available opponent.
If November is when the fight will be held, then Arum has maybe three or four weeks to finalize everything and to resolve whatever issues are preventing him and Schaefer from hammering out a deal. In the meantime, the rest of the boxing world has four words for these two gentlemen: get it done, guys.
A sportswriter since 2001, Sid Ventura was one of the first in the Philippines to write a sports column exclusively on line. He also does television commentary for Philippine college basketball, is a senior writer for a local basketball magazine and has a day job that requires him to watch 1970's TV shows (true story). Before suffering a knee injury while running after his three-year-old daughter (true story, really) he played shooting guard at pick-up games. He could neither shoot nor guard. Got a comment or question? Send them and he may answer or use them in a potential column. E-mail Sparring Partner at firstname.lastname@example.org.