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Mayweather to take on Ortiz; Pacquiao tune-up? June 8, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Boxing, Sport.
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Just when I thought we’d never see him in the boxing ring again, Floyd Mayweather Jr has suddenly announced that he will take on WBC Welterweight title holder Victor Ortiz on 17 September 2011.

Bogged down by various legal dramas, the last thing I expected was for Mayweather to declare that he was ready to step back in the ring.  He hasn’t fought since defeating Shane Mosley in May 2010, meaning it will be a 16 month lay off for him.

Two ways to look at this.  The first is that Mayweather is needs money but doesn’t want to take on the man everyone wants to see him fight: Manny Pacquiao.

(I won’t go into the history of it all, but essentially negotiations between the two fighters have broken down twice already over additional drug testing procedures, and may or may not have broken down a third or fourth time according to Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum when Mayweather allegedly tried to price himself out by asking for $100 million.  Mayweather’s camp denied further negotiations ever took place, though third parties contradict this denial.  There is also the additional issue of Pacquiao suing Mayweather and his family for defamation for suggesting that Pacquiao is on performance enhancing drugs.)

Mayweather’s decision to take on Ortiz is a curious one because Arum has stated all along that if Mayweather comes to the table, he will be Pacquiao’s number one choice.  No one else matters.  This means that if Mayweather really wanted to fight Pacquiao all he had to do was pick up the phone after Pacquiao’s win over Mosley last month, and the fight would have been made already.

Instead, Mayweather waited until Pacquiao signed to fight Juan Manuel Marquez for a third time on 12 November 2011 before announcing a fight of his own.

More interestingly, Mayweather has refused to fight Pacquiao allegedly because of completely unsubstantiated PED accusations, and yet the man he has chosen to fight, Victor Ortiz, was recently implicated in PEDs by the man he had just beaten, Andre Berto.  Of course, Berto’s assertions were also completely unsubstantiated, but if his suspicions of Pacquiao were sufficient to destroy the megafight, then why not Ortiz too?

The second and more optimistic view is that Mayweather is taking on Ortiz as a tune up for Manny Pacquiao in 2012.  Mayweather undoubtedly will want to shake off some rust after the long lay off, and Ortiz just happens to be a young, strong stud AND a southpaw, something which Pacquiao is also.

I sure hope the second view is the right one and the potentially biggest fight of all time will happen next year!

The Matchup

Apart from Pacquiao, everyone just assumes that Mayweather will win no matter who he fights.  But Ortiz is a dangerous opponent, coming off a solid but close decision win against previously undefeated Andre Berto in April.  He has a strong 29-2-2 (22KOs) record and as mentioned above, is a southpaw, and Mayweather has tended to struggle more against southpaws.

Furthermore, Mayweather is now 34 years old and might be slowing down.  We won’t really know for sure until we see him in the ring, given how long it’s been, but it is possible.  On the other hand, Ortiz is just 24 and appears to have hit his prime after the brutal battle against Berto.

I’d still say the risks are low because of the experience and skill factors, but just like Marquez has a chance of unseating Pacquiao, Ortiz could also shock the world against Mayweather.  For the sake of Mayweather-Pacquiao happening next year, I hope both men can win.

PS: I mentioned in an earlier post the Marquez was to take on David Diaz as a tune up before Pacquiao, but this fight has fallen through because of financial considerations.

Who Should Pacquiao Fight Next: Mosley, Marquez or Berto? December 16, 2010

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Who will Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach take on next?

Pound-for-pound champ Manny Pacquiao has announced that his next fight will be on 7 May 2011.  With Floyd Mayweather Jr most likely looking to fight guys trying to ‘American History X’ his ass in the prison showers (if convicted of abusing his ex-girlfriend and children), Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum has narrowed Pacquiao’s next opponent down to three guys: Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Andre Berto.

That’s it.  These three, and no one else.  So don’t think about any other fantasy fights (eg Sergio Martinez) because they’re not going to happen on 7 May.  Arum has presented three term sheets (one for each potential opponent) to Pacquiao and it will ultimately be Pacquiao’s choice.  It’s been reported that an decision will likely be made by Friday US time.

Let’s break down each of these opponents, what they bring to the table, and how likely the fight will eventuate.

(to read on, click on ‘more…’)

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Pacquiao to take on Antonio Margarito! July 25, 2010

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It’s official: Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather Jr is dead — at least for 2010.

After the negotiations for the biggest fight of the decade between the pound-for-pound champs fell through (again), it has now been decided that Pacquiao will now take on disgraced cheater Antonio Margarito, preferably in Las Vegas on 13 November 2010 (provided Margarito can get licensed, or else it may have to be in Mexico).  The fight will take place at 154 pounds, giving Pacquiao the opportunity to win a world title in an unprecedented 8th weight class.

Look, boxing fans around the world have every right to be furious with this outcome.  I don’t want to go over this again (read here) but the entire Pacquiao-Mayweather thing has become a total farce.  First it was the drug testing, then it was the gagged negotiations that appeared to be finalising, then it was the “deadline”, and then it was the denial that negotiations ever took place.  Whatever the reason for the fight between the two best boxers in the world not being made, it doesn’t matter anymore — they should all be ashamed of themselves.

But it’s not just the disappointing fact that Pacquiao-Mayweather isn’t happening that has me all riled up.  It’s the fact that Pacquiao will now be taking on Margarito instead.

Antonio Margarito?  Really?  The cheater?

It’s slightly more interesting than the alternative, which is a Pacquiao-Cotto rematch, simply because Pacquiao has already shredded Cotto, and Margarito (5’11” with 73″ reach) is so much bigger than Pacquiao (5’6.5″ with 67″ reach).  But Margarito doesn’t even deserve to be in the ring after being discovered carrying illegal hand wraps in his bout with Shane Mosley last year.  And do I even need to mention that Mosley knocked out Margarito in that fight and that since then the cheater has not looked anywhere close to the feared fighter he was back when he battered Cotto into submission (probably because he was also cheating back then)?  Oh, and Margarito can’t even get licensed to fight in the US after the hand wrap debacle?

I believe despite the size difference, the matchup will still heavily be in Pacquiao’s favour (provided he hasn’t lost a step or any focus since being elected to Congress) simply because of his overwhelming advantage in hand and foot speed.  Margarito is the plodding type, which plays right into the Filipino buzzsaw’s hands.  As long as Pacquiao can avoid being tagged by a big shot (he proved against Cotto he could take a few hits), he’ll be able to slide in and out of range and blast Margacheato into a beehive.  If he couldn’t take Shane Mosley’s speed (and telegraphed overhand right), there’s no reason to think he could manage Pacquiao’s.

Nevertheless, let’s face it — the only reason these two are facing each other is because of the cowardice of Floyd Mayweather Jr and the greed of the repulsive Bob Arum of Top Rank.

Mayweather was in the perfect position to take on Pacquiao (who had apparently agreed to blood testing procedures that were “acceptable” to the Mayweather camp, assuming those negotiations took place at all) but wimped out without offering any logical reason or explanation.

Okay, so Mayweather is out of the picture (at least for now) — but that doesn’t mean there’s no worthy opponent out there for Pacquiao.  Arum only offered two alternatives — Cotto and Margarito — just because they are also promoted by Top Rank, which means greedy Arum gets to keep all the money in house.

Arum offered a bunch of totally lame and transparent excuses for Pacquiao not even considering taking on another fighter (which really includes any top boxer between 140 and 154 pounds — Timothy Bradley, Andre Berto, Paul Williams and heck, even Shane Mosley), but we all know the true reason Pacquiao is not taking on someone more worthy.  If Pacquiao can fight the virtually unknown Joshua Clottey, then he can take on any of those guys mentioned above and make it a bigger fight than against Margarito or Cotto.

That said, I’m still going to be watching on November 13.  Darn it.

Looks like Pacquiao-Mayweather may never happen July 19, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Boxing.
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Here’s a quick update on those still wondering whether the megabout between pound-for-pound number 1 and 2 Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr will ever happen.

The answer: probably no.

The second round of negotiations has broken down, and with Mayweather being non-commital about fighting Pacquiao and Pacquiao being tied down by his commitments as a Filipino congressman, it appears unlikely that the two men will ever step into the same ring.

(click on ‘more…’ to read this post)

(more…)

Clottey Stinks It Up As Pacquiao Dominates March 14, 2010

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I just got back from watching the Manny Pacquiao – Joshua Clottey fight at a public venue with a mega screen.

The atmosphere was electric, and I think I am going a little deaf from the noise of the live crowd, who acted like they were there at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas along with the 51,000 other boxing fans.  Or should I say Manny Pacquiao fans.

Pacquiao cruises to unanimous victory in a virtual shut-out

Oh, the result.  As expected, Pacquiao dominated over 12 rounds to win an easy unanimous decision (120-108, 119-109, 119-109) against a bizarrely passive Clottey, who spent most of the night covering up.  Sure, he avoided getting knocked out like Pacquiao’s previous four opponents, but Clottey never really gave himself a chance out there.

On the rare occasions Clottey did decide to engage, he was very effective, landing some solid jabs and jolting uppercuts on Pacquiao’s jaw, creating a noticeable bruise under the Pacman’s right eye.  But Clottey never followed it up and Pacquiao was never in danger.  To be honest, Clottey stunk up the joint.  Pacquiao (and the fans) wanted a fight and tried to goad Clottey into trading, but for some inexplicable reason Clottey just stood there, covering up, and only threw a couple of punches here and there so that people won’t think Pacquiao’s just in the ring by himself punching a slab of black marble.

From the third round onwards, Clottey’s corner kept telling him to throw more punches and take chances, but Clottey refused to open up.  Even when they told him he was losing every round, Clottey was still going out there and doing the same thing.

On the other hand, Pacquiao was in and out all night, throwing stiff shots from all angles and every now and then a crazy barrage that kept Clottey covering up like a turtle.  Most of Pacquiao’s shots to the head were blocked or partially blocked by Clottey’s gloves and arms, but he did manage to land a fair few ripping body shots, especially at the start of the fight.  Towards the later rounds, the blows were starting to penetrate the defense, bloodying Clottey’s nose and driving him into the ropes a few times, but to Clottey’s credit he didn’t go down or look to be in serious trouble.

Pacquiao landed 246 of 1,231 punches (20%) while Clottey was limited to landing 108 of 399 punches (27%).

So yeah, the fight was still pretty exciting thanks to Pacquiao’s offense and multiple punch combinations (like seven or eight in a second), but Clottey prevented it from being a good fight.  He didn’t get knocked out, and he got a big payday, but that was about it.  After this performance, it’s no surprise Clottey isn’t a bigger star, and it’s unlikely he’ll ever be.

What the boxers said after the fight

Manny Pacquiao

“It was not an easy fight. He’s a good fighter. I threw a lot of jabs in the beginning to counter his hook and uppercut. I felt his power. He’s so strong. I could tell he was looking to land the big shot throughout the fight.”

“I was in control from the first round, but I never felt overconfident.”

“He took a lot of punches and never even seemed hurt.”

Re inability to get the KO: “I am not disappointed. I know he is a defensive fighter. I felt some of his punches. I was focussed on a strategy to dominate him.”

Joshua Clottey

“He has very good movement. He has great speed. It was very difficult for me to handle. I didn’t feel Manny’s power. It’s just that his speed was too much for me.”

“He has speed, I lost the fight. He’s fast, that’s why I was taking my time.”

“I won a couple of rounds. I don’t think I lost all the rounds.”

“I always accept defeat. I didn’t lose to (Miguel) Cotto or (Antonio) Margarito but I did lose to Manny Pacquiao.”

“I want to apologize to my fans. Next time, I’ll come back big.”

Freddie Roach (Pacquiao’s trainer)

“I thought we won every round. We pressured him. He had a good defense but good defense isn’t enough to win the fight.”

“He fought a defensive fight. When you fight for the world title it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I thought he would have thrown more punches. He was in survival mode and when guy is trying to survive it is hard to knock him out.”

Lenny de Jesus (Clottey’s trainer)

“Joshua had the power to knock him out, but was reluctant to punch. We clearly got beat. I don’t think we won a round.”

Bob Arum (promoter)

“What was he supposed to do? If he played offense he’d get knocked out. I can’t blame the kid for trying to wear him down.”

On the potential bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr (provided he beats Shane Mosley)

Pacquiao: “The people want that fight, they want to see that fight. It’s up to him. For me, it’s no problem to fight him. I will fight him any time. He should win against Mosley. If not, Mosley and I will fight. [Mayweather’s] style is not a difficult style. He needs to handle his business in his next fight.”

“I want that fight, the world wants that fight, but it’s up to him. I’m ready to fight any time.”

Roach: “It’s the fight the world wants to see. Me and Manny want to see it. Floyd, let the commission do their job. You don’t run the sport. Get in the ring and fight us.”

Arum: “Manny will break down any defense. He never gets tired. He throws a million punches. If Mayweather doesn’t come out of his shell Manny will pile up the points like he did tonight. When you’re in with a buzz saw, it’s very difficult to do anything. Manny prevented Clottey from throwing his punches by throwing his own punches, and he throws from so many angles.”

Undercard action

The undercard was a bit of a snore fest.  The match-ups suggested slug fests but they were all tactical fights, with a couple going the full distance.

Of the notable bouts: Humberto Soto dominated former Pacquiao victim David Diaz via unanimous decision.  Alfonso Gomez made Jose Luis Castillo quit after the fifth round.  John Duddy took a split decision from Michael Medina.

That’s about it.

Final thoughts

  • Great crowd, but seriously, most of the people there would have had no idea what was going on sitting so far away from the ring.  They would have had to watch the screens.  Watching the ring would have been like watching two ants in a matchbox.
  • What a bloody long walk to the ring for both fighters!  I was worried they’d be too tired to fight by the time they finally got there.
  • Clottey showed the best Prince Naseem Hamed impersonation with his hilarious dancing all the way to the ring.  Even his corner got into it.  Pacquiao should sing and Clottey should dance.
  • What was the deal with the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders singing the American national anthem?  Hilarious.  To be honest though, they were surprisingly good.
  • Good on Manny for using a double-handed head squeeze on Clottey just to try and wake him up.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work.
  • And if (and it’s a big if) Mayweather can down Mosley and if (an even bigger if) the fight with Pacquiao can be made, it’s hard to see Mayweather winning unless he takes some big risks or can somehow land a big counter to knock Manny out.  Otherwise, the most likely outcome is Pacquiao by unanimous decision.
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