On Saturday night, Manny Pacquiao put on another sterling performance by taming “The Tijuana Tornado,” Antonio Margarito at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. So the question has been teeming: what’s next for the “Pac-Man” and where does this outing place Pacquiao all-time? Having settled back into Southern California and sleeping on it for awhile, I give my two cents on these issues and other things related to this fight.
- As Samuel Peter asked after his KO of Taurus Sykes, "Who necks" for Pacquiao? I hear a lot of talk of one “Sugar” Shane Mosley. Sorry, but on this one, I gotta do the Nancy Reagan and just say no. Nothing against Mosley but, c'mon, in addition to not bringing much of a fan base, do we need to go through his last two fights? Take away 90 seconds against Floyd Mayweather in the second round and he was blanked. Then his fight against Sergio Mora in September was an abomination.
Mosley is showing every bit of his 38 years of age. But in lieu of a showdown with Floyd Mayweather not happening, I want to see Pacquiao face one of two options in his next outing. Either Juan Manuel Marquez at 140 (I mean, Pacquiao was much closer to being a junior welterweight than a junior middleweight this past weekend) or the winner of the Tim Bradley-Devon Alexander fight. My reasoning is simple; with Marquez, you have a built-in storyline. And when it comes to Bradley/Alexander, I want to see the Filipino congressmen face some fresh, young talent. Bradley has great speed and is elusive (something Pacquiao hasn't faced in awhile) and Alexander is southpaw and slick.
As for Mosley, well, sorry, I'm all for being green but, in this instance, I'm against recycling.
- Speaking of Mosley, he sure is acting like a free agent who's at liberty to cut his own deal, isn't he? But what about his “partnership” with Golden Boy Promotions?
I asked Richard Schaefer about this on Monday afternoon and he told me, "I read these stories, as well, and I have actually placed a call to Shane several days ago. Shane has not called me back and unlike Shane, who seems to have elected to discuss his interpretation of his promotional and executive relationship with Golden Boy in the press, I am not going to do that and I'm going to leave it at that."
It sounds like Mosley could be going through another divorce, doesn't it?
But let's say he does try and break free from Golden Boy. Would that mean that there is the possibility that if this went to litigation, he could be going up against attorney Judd Burstein, who was relieved of his boxing role in Mosley's life and is now an in-house attorney for Golden Boy? Don't laugh; it wasn't that long ago that Burstein once worked on Pacquiao's side and is now on the other side of the fence.
- Lots of people are all over referee Laurence Cole for not stopping the fight on Saturday night. But here's the thing; I think Cole was in a very tough position in this fight. He knows what’s on the line; he knows the stakes and Margarito simply was not going to quit. If anyone deserves heat, it's the corner, led by Robert Garcia, because it's their ultimate responsibility. Here's my theory on why they didn't throw in the towel: they had hoped that Pacquiao would slow down in the late rounds and that would be their only chance to pull an upset.
More than that, I think the animosity and vitriol between the opposing camps had gotten to a point that perhaps Garcia- who is a very well-regarded young trainer- felt that he wanted his boxer to at least see the last bell as kind of a moral victory, if you will. But I think an important lesson should be learned here; as a trainer, you can't make this personal and this isn't about you. After all, it's your fighter getting hit (over and over, again). Garcia may have had so much invested in this fight, he may have lost sight of the big picture. It happens, everyone is human.
Then there is Margarito himself, who obviously subscribes to the Mexican ethos that quitting is worse than dying. But also perhaps he felt as though, maybe subconsciously, this was his penance for past transgressions he may or may not have committed in the past. It’s almost as if he was saying, "Hey, I know my chin was never loaded."
There are some he “deserved” what he got versus Pacquiao. There are others who believed he didn't deserve the payday he got for being in this fight. I don't think there's any doubt he earned every cent of it on Saturday night.
-Anyone else find it a bit ironic and even hypocritical that Freddie Roach and the Pacquiao camp wanted Margarito to be tested before the fight because of suspected use of Ephedra? I mean, they didn't want to bend to the demands of Mayweather and his stringent blood-testing, which, by the way, I agree with. I don't believe in selective enforcement and it is the job of the acting regulatory bodies to set the rules. In this case, Margarito didn't have to do anything outside of the post-fight testing- nothing more.
What's that old saying about what's good for the goose being good for the gander? If you live by the commission rules, you should also die by the commission rules.
- The announced attendance was just over 40,000, which was still significant but also a huge letdown, based on early projections. As expected, you saw a lot of Margarito Mexicans and the usual Filipino contingent for Pacquiao but what was missing this time around, according to Matt Swider (who has been to all three big stadium fights in the States this year) was the casual sports fan, who wanted to experience the novelty of the first fight card at Jerry Jones' billion-dollar stadium. They simply didn't show up this time around. Then I think there were some other factors. I think Jones not being nearly as active in the promotion due to his recent firing of Wade Phillips and NFL matters hurt. Also, I think it would've aided things if the Cowboys were 7-1 coming into the weekend, instead of 1-7. And they say in Texas, there are five seasons: pro football season, college football season, high school football season, recruiting and spring ball.
Then you have the economy which has had an effect on everybody. And in the region where this fight took place, the Christmas season is already in full effect. So any disposable income at this time around isn't going to a prizefight. Just my theory.
- Speaking of Mayweather, can we put a moratorium on any talk of a fight with Pacquiao till an introductory presser to officially announce this bout is scheduled? Sorry, but I don't think any of us in the sport want to go through the same mental masturbation (yes, I just said “mental masturbation”) that we did last year? The talk is old and tired; bottom line. It's boxing’s version of talking about why they need a playoff system in college football.
More than that, it hurts the rest of boxing. There are lots of attractive fights taking place for the next month or so with fighters willing to get into the ring with each other. It would be a crying shame if it were overshadowed by talk of purse splits, venues, and random blood tests.
Let's focus in on bouts that are, y' know, actually taking place.
- I got this email from a reader who disagreed with my take on the theatrics that took place before the entrances of Pacquiao and Margarito on Saturday night:
Hey Steve -
How much do you think Bob paid for the whole Nellie production (artist, stage set-up, technicians, etc.)? Could he have taken that money and - god forbid - gotten a real undercard? Or at least some better opposition for the guys who were on it?
My beef with the whole "entertainment" aspect of this type is that a) I'm paying for something I don't care about, and which simply wastes my time, and b) that money could be spent so that the undercard wouldn't suck so bad.
Yes, I understand that the money saved by keeping Nellie off the promotion would go into Bob's pocket rather than towards a GOOD undercard, but I still think it's a complete waste. I'll bet that you could make a couple very interesting flyweight title fights for what Nellie got Saturday night.
- John S
OK, point taken; undercards do need to improve. No argument. But I actually thought that if you took away Guillermo Rigondeaux fumigating Cowboy Stadium, the undercard was entertaining. But here's the thing; yeah, viewers who purchased this pay-per-view paid as much as 65 bucks. But what about the patrons who paid up to $800 to attend this show? If you were there live, the overwhelming majority of fans were hyped up and ready to go. And those people may not care about an extra flyweight title fight on the bill. They got their money’s worth. And too many times today (especially in America), the customers who paid for tickets are neglected and abused with interminably long delays between fights and stale atmospheres. I'll stick by my opinion; this was a step in the right direction, no matter what you think of Nelly. The UFC and Europe have got it right. Those in the arena deserve a show and they got a good one this time around.
- And finally, just where does Pacquiao rank after this latest exhibition? I've read where some believe that maybe, just maybe, he is the greatest of all-time. Well, folks, here's the thing; I'm always a bit uneasy in placing any athletes on these types of lists while they are still active. To me, there's still some history that needs to be written. And let's be honest; wasn't there a reason why he was a five-to-one favorite versus Margarito. So basically, he did the Chris Rock- he did what he was supposed to.
That being said, Pacquiao dominated a guy who was much bigger than him and was, once again, entertaining and spectacular. What he has done in moving up from flyweight to this weight, is simply incredible in any era. But I think it's hard to really compare fighters from opposing eras. Can you really make a comparison to boxers who fought 200-300 times against guys who now perform twice a year? Also, most veteran observers believe that the talent pool was much deeper and seasoned in those days.
But I'll say this, from the time I started to watch boxing in the early ‘80s, I'm beginning to think that Pacquiao is right up there with the great Sugar Ray Leonard as the two best guys I've seen.
This much is clear though; whatever class of boxer Pacquiao is in historically, as Bum Phillips once said, "It don't take long to take roll call."
KARATE KID FLURRIES
I used to think of Daniel LaRusso making his way through the All-Valley Karate Championships but now I think of Pacquiao when I hear “You're the Best Around” by Joe Esposito...So did that make Margarito and his crew the Cobra Kai?...Omar Figueroa and Arturo Quintero engaged in a good scrap on the most recent edition of “Solo Boxeo” on Telefutura. Figueroa won via split decision over eight rounds...Told that the Emerald Queen Casino on Tacoma, Washington could play host to the Dec. 11th bantamweight tournament on Showtime...My question is this: we know David Haye bet on a 3rd round KO but did Audley Harrison?...Anyone who sees the Lakers getting beat on the glass and being so porous on D, knows why they need Andrew Bynum...So the Redskins gave an extension to a quarterback who they think is dumb and out-of-shape?....