Saturday, December 5, 2009

Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Fighters not standing in the way of super bout

Whether you are a Manny Pacquiao fan or a Floyd Mayweather guy, you have to give both fighters credit:neither have hampered negotiations for a proposed megafight that likely will happen in early 2010.

The pair of superboxers seem to realize the importance of their pairing, and haven't allowed their egos to get in the way of common sense.

No outlandish demands. No needless posturing. Just a "let's get it done" mentality. Good for them.

Also good for Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, who wasted no time getting the ball rolling for "Pac-Man-Money," even though he has gone on record saying he doesn't care personally whether the fight happens.

Finally, people are looking out for the well-being of their sport.

The latest is that the fight will happen March 13. Promoters originally were eyeing a May 1 date. But with Pacquiao running for Congress in his native Philippines around that time, the March date became more realistic.

Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach expressed some concern about the March date, saying it was a little too soon after a rough Nov. 14 rumble with Miguel Cotto -- which Pac-Man won by 12th-round TKO but also suffered cuts, bruises and a broken eardrum.

Roach's hesitation isn't good news for Pac-Man fans. After all, no one knows their fighter better than Roach knows Pacquiao.

Still, it's hard to picture an athlete of Pacquiao's caliber being affected much.

Sugar Ray Leonard fought Thomas Hearns in one of the biggest fights of all time a mere



three months after knocking out junior middleweight champ Ayub Kalule in a grueling 1981 slugfest.
March shouldn't be a problem for Pac-Man.

Why Martinez?

You have to wonder why a top boxer would take his chances against a guy like Paul Williams -- good enough that he might be the best fighter in three weight divisions, but not exactly a household name.

A top-rated Antonio Margarito fought Williams in 2007 even though he really didn't have to (unless you count a worthless alphabet belt as a reason). Not surprisingly, Margarito got beat.

Since then, "The Punisher" has fought one guy that really mattered -- an old Winky Wright -- earning the moniker "the most avoided man in boxing."

Now, it's Williams fighting fellow avoided men.

After two (or is it three?) fights with Kelly Pavlik were canceled due to Pavlik injuries and health problems, Williams is taking on Sergio Martinez (7:30 p.m., today, HBO).

In a word, the Argentine is a nightmare to fight. He's a smart, fast, tricky southpaw boxer who makes life hell,especially for aggressive,offensive-minded sluggers who throw a lot of punches.

Williams happens to be an aggressive, offensive-minded slugger who throws a lotof punches. So look for theupset.

Martinez is cagey and sharp enough to counter Williams' aggressive style with slick boxing. Williams would have been better off waiting for Pavlik (or anyone else) next year. Not a good career move, Paul.

Martinez by split decision.

Speaking of why

Okay, so it's understood why Roy Jones Jr. and Bernard Hopkins had to fight tuneup fights before their proposed March rematch, which took 17 years tonegotiate.

You have to build up interest in the fight.

But why would Jones fight a cruiserweight?

Opponent Danny Green was bigger, stronger and younger, and it didn't take long for him to expose Jones' oldness. He stopped Jones in the first round.

Sounds like all that negotiation fell victim to some really dumb matchmaking.

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