Nadal knocked out of French Open! (Federer salivates)

May 31, 2009 in Tennis by pacejmiller

Nadal loses to Soderling at French Open 2009

It had to happen eventually, but few thought it would be this year.

Rafael Nadal finally loses at the French Open after 31 consecutive victories, zero defeats and 4 titles.  His conquerer: Sweden’s Robin Soderling.  Final score: 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2).

Yes, the same Robin Soderling that got creamed by Nadal 6-1, 6-0 in the Rome Masters last month.  Yes, the same Robin Soderling that had a nasty spat with Nadal at Wimbledon in 2007 (he imitated Nadal’s wedgie pull and pumped his fists instead of apologizing for a lucky net cord shot).  Nadal won that match in 5 sets.

A friend of mine told me a few days ago that the only reason he doubted Nadal was because he refuses to believe the tennis gods will allow someone wearing a fluoro pink shirt to win the French Open.  Turns out he was right.

So Roger Federer, who plays Tommy Haas later, must be drooling.  After all, Nadal has deprived him of the only Grand Slam missing from his trophy cabinet for the last 3 years in the French Open Final.  Could this finally be the year where Federer, who is obviously not the same as his old dominating self, wins the French Open?  With Djokovic already knocked out, his chances have improved significantly.  If only Andy Murray can lose before the Final then Federer has got to be the favourite.  The question is, will he capitalise on the rare opportunity or choke by losing to someone else?

2009 NBA Finals Prediction: Lakers vs Magic!

May 31, 2009 in Basketball, NBA by pacejmiller

Despite what I said in my last post, and notwithstanding the fact that my exams aren’t over yet, I nevertheless feel obliged to take a few minutes to predict the winner of the NBA Finals for 2009 between the Orlando Magic and the LA Lakers.

Will the Lakers dunk all over the Magic?

Will the Lakers dunk all over the Magic?

The road to the Finals

Orlando Magic vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Momentum can be a fickle thing in the playoffs.

Hours before this post, the Orlando Magic had just disposed of heavy favourites the Cleveland Cavaliers in 6 games (103-90 in the final game).  Like most people, I accurately predicted that the series would not be close, but I just got the teams the wrong way around!

Like the Magic’s Dwight Howard (who scored 40 points and grabbed 14 boards to finish off the Cavs) said, people were disrespecting the Magic by looking forward to a Lebron-Kobe final before the first game of the Conference Finals (or perhaps the first game of the entire playoffs).  I admit I was one of those people.  Instead of looking at the plethora of matchup problems the Magic presented to the Cavs, all I could remember was that the Cavs hadn’t even lost a game before this series, sweeping both Detroit and Atlanta, winning by double digits in all games.  The Cavs had the best record in the league (66-16), the best home record in the league (39-2) and had home court advantage in this series – plus Lebron James was on fire.  Conversely, Orlando had struggled through two lacklustre performances against Philadelphia (6 games) and Boston (7 games), were playing inconsistently and up to that point, seemingly doubting themselves.  It wasn’t hard to assume that the Magic didn’t stand a chance.  No ESPN analyst predicted the Magic to win.  Not a single one.  Not even those that predicted a tough series for the Cavs because of the matchup difficulties.  After all, they did have the ultimate mismatch in Lebron vs anyone else.

However, as it turned out, Lebron was still on fire, averaging over 38 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists in the series, but it didn’t matter in the end.  When matched up face to face, the Magic were simply the better team.  If it weren’t for Lebron’s buzzer beating 3-pointer in game 2, the series may have been a sweep.

So what happened?  All the momentum in the world could not have stopped Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis, the Magic’s two big, versatile forwards, from wrecking havoc on the Cavs’ defense.  The Cavs were supposed to be one of the best defensive teams in the league, but they couldn’t stop the drives, three-pointers and they couldn’t stop Dwight Howard in the middle.  Ilgauskas, the Cavs’ 7’3″ big man, was abused by Howard’s quickness.  Their other post defenders, Anderson Varejao and Ben Wallace (what the heck happened to him?), were dominated by Howard’s size and strength.  The supposed ‘Master of Panic’, coach Stan Van Gundy, did a calm job of allowing Lebron to get his and daring his teammates to beat them.  They couldn’t.

With the exception of the Cavs’ game 5 victory, Lebron’s supporting cast couldn’t find the basket.  When Lebron needed them the most, they started to choke, especially ‘Mr Prediction’ Mo Williams, who was the difference maker in the Cavs’ historic regular season but just couldn’t make a shot.  I suppose you could look at this in two ways – either that Lebron HAD to be this good this series because his teammates weren’t giving him enough help, or his greatness in this series actually turned out to be detrimental to his team’s success because they turned into a one man team again that had to rely on him for everything.

This devastating loss must be demoralising for the Cavs, who carried a swagger into these playoffs some considered bordering on arrogance.  Especially for Lebron, who thought he had all the pieces he needed to contend for the championship this year, only to be let down again.  Unlike last season, when Lebron was all smiles after losing to the eventual champs Boston in 7 games, he was less graceful this time, leaving the arena without uttering a word to anyone and skipping the post-game press conference.  I think this was because last season he didn’t genuinely believe the Cavs had what it took to win the championship, whereas this season he knows they blew a perfect opportunity.  I guess now he knows what Kobe felt like before the Lakers got Gasol.

As for the Magic, they go into the Finals knowing that they are once again the underdogs, but undoubtedly with a new sense of confidence that they can shock the world one more time.

Or will the Magic block the title from the Lakers?

Or will the Magic block the title from the Lakers?

LA Lakers vs Denver Nuggets

This series was another example of the illusion of momentum.

The Lakers came into the Western Conference Finals having beaten Utah in 5 games but stretched to 7 difficult games by a seriously depleted Houston team, leaving people questioning whether they had improved mentally from last season’s disappointing finish when they lost to Boston in 6 games in the Finals.  On the other hand, Denver surprised a lot of people by devouring New Orleans and then Dallas in 5 games in both series.  Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups were both playing their best basketball and the supporting cast (in particular JR Smith, Nene and Kenyon Martin) were doing great in their respective roles.  While the odds still favoured the Lakers, no one would be overly shocked if Denver pulled an upset.

After the Lakers escaped in game 1 and lost game 2, doubts flared up as expected; it happened again when the Lakers returned to LA with the series tied 2-2.  The Lakers seemed uninterested in giving 100% effort for 48 minutes a night, Phil Jackson was being outcoached, and Kobe’s legacy was in doubt once again.  And then, the Lakers win both games 5 and 6 with relative ease, and all is forgotten.  It was as though no one had ever doubted them all along.  Such is the nature of the game.

The Nuggets go into the offseason no doubt disappointed, but in the eyes of many they have already overachieved.  They were already the second seed in the West this season, so the inevitable question would be whether they can take it to the next level and dethrone the Lakers’ stranglehold of the conference.  However, without some minor shifts in personnel or injury to the Lakers, it’s difficult to see that happening.

The Lakers?  They enter the Finals as favourites again, but can they finally start playing the way people expect them to play like game 6 against the Nuggets?

Match-ups

The Magic actually match up well with the Lakers, but not quite as well as they did against the Cavs.

Backcourt

Derek Fisher is a veteran point guard who has been on the big stage many times before, but was thoroughly manhandled by Aaron Brooks in the Houston series.  At 34, Fisher is not old, but he’s definitely lost a step or two, though he can still hit the big shot when called upon.  Rafer ‘Skip to My Lou’ Alston is perhaps not as tough as Jameer Nelson, the injured player he was brought in to replace, but he matches up well with Fisher because of his quickness and skills.  Alston will be a big key for the Magic.  If he can keep his sometimes erratic game in check and outplay Fisher, then at least that puts more pressure on Kobe Bryant to perform.

Speaking of Kobe, there’s not going to be anyone on the Magic that can stop him.  Of course, we said the same thing about Lebron, and look what happened there.  Kobe won’t have to put up numbers anywhere close to what Lebron produced because he won’t have to (and probably is incapable), but the Lakers will look to him with the game on the line, and there’s no one better in the clutch in the league right now.  Kobe’s game is also more varied than Lebron’s, so even with Dwight Howard in the middle he’ll be able to find ways to score.

The Magic will probably put Mickael Pietrus in the starting line up (instead of Courtney Lee) to guard Kobe, but regardless, he will need a lot of help.

No matter which way you look at it the Lakers have a significant advantage here.

Frontcourt

Orlando has a very impressive front court with 6’11” Dwight Howard anchoring the middle and versatile 6’10” forwards in Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu roaming the wings.  Both forwards can hit the three and they can drive, and as demonstrated in the Cavs series, they can both hit big shots when called upon.  It’s a frontcourt that will give any team problems.

However, the Lakers’ frontcourt is not too shabby either, with 7-footer Andrew Bynum, 7-footer Pau Gasol and the 6’8″ athletic forward in Trevor Ariza.  With the unimpressive way Bynum has been playing these playoffs, expect to see Lamar Odom play a lot of minutes off the bench.  Odom matches up well with both Lewis and Tukoglu, though that will leave Gasol trying to flop his way out of defending Dwight Howard straight up.

This is going to be where the series is won or lost for both teams.  There is definitely an opportunity for Orlando in the middle because Bynum hasn’t been playing well and is also prone to foul trouble.  Gasol is too lean to bang against Howard, though he is long and can cause problems at the other end of the floor.  Unlike the Cavs, however, the Lakers have a lot more big bodies to throw at Howard, such as DJ Mbenga and Josh Powell (who usually sit at the end of the bench).  If Howard can continue to hit his free throws at around 70% throughout the entire series and keep out of foul trouble himself, then Orlando has a decent chance.  It may mean that he will have to give up his defensive intensity on some plays to ensure that it happens.

Bench

On paper at least, the Lakers look like they have a strong bench, primarily because of Lamar Odom, who is definitely an X-factor in this series.  However, the rest of the Laker bench has been somewhat underused in these playoffs.  Odom has contributed a solid 12 points per game these playoffs, but the next highest bench scorer is Shannon Brown with 5.7.  Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic and Luke Walton round out the regular rotation, but none of these guys have been impact players in this year’s playoffs thus far.

That might not matter too much because Orlando does not have a strong bench either. If they start Pietrus, then Courtney Lee will be the first man off the bench, and he has averaged 8.8 points per game these playoffs.  Guys like JJ Reddick and Anthony Johnson are solid, but they won’t be asked to do more than just hit the open shot when the opportunity arises.

If either bench can produce a breakout series then that will definitely shift the advantage in their favour, but it appears the starters + Odom will be the key.

Coaching

Stan Van Gundy vs Phil Jackson.  One guy constantly seems like he’s about to have a heart attack, whereas the other looks like he might fall asleep any minute.  It’s a very interesting clash of styles.

No one is going to argue that Jackson, with 9 ‘coaching’ championship rings (and 11 total), can’t coach.  And while Van Gundy has been criticised in the past (including by Howard), he has done a very commendable job in first getting Orlando past a 3-2 deficit against Boston and then knocking off the Cavs.

It will be interesting to see whether Jackson will be ruffled if Orlando wins one of the first 2 games in LA, and whether Van Gundy will implode if Orlando loses both.

Intangibles

Orlando won both meetings against the Lakers in the regular season, 106-103 in Orlando in December, and 109-103 in LA in January.  Both games were a while ago, so they don’t necessarily mean much, but it does demonstrate that Orlando has the fire power to match up against the Lakers.  What is notable though is that Jameer Nelson, who is out injured, dominated both games, scoring 27 and 28 respectively in the games.  Accordingly, the pressure must fall on the shoulders of his replacement, Rafer Alston, and to a lesser extent, his backup Anthony Johnson.

Many players who have been to the Finals talk about the importance of championship experience.  They say until you’ve played in the Finals, you can’t possibly imagine what it’s like.  In this case, all the key players on the Lakers squad experienced the Finals last year, and Jackson, Fisher and Bryant all have championship rings.  That said, the experience didn’t help much against the Boston Celtics last season.  Personally, I believe it will be a factor, but probably only in the first and last games of the series.

Also of importance is the different game structure of the Finals, which is played 2-3-2 as opposed to the normal 2-2-1-1-1 in the preceding rounds.  I think this benefits the team with home court advantage, which in this case is Los Angeles.  The playoffs are about adjustments, and giving another team 3 consecutive chances to crack you on your home floor may prove to be decisive.  Then again, who can forget when the Detroit Pistons crushed the LA Lakers in the 2004 Finals where they swept the middle 3 games?

Lastly, there is the motivation factor.  The Lakers lost a series many thought they would win in last year’s finals, so it’s safe to assume they would be hungry for redemption and would not take Orlando lightly.  Kobe is still seeking that first elusive title (and Finals MVP) without Shaq by his side, and Jackson will be trying again to overtake Red Auerbach for the most coaching rings.  On the other hand, Orlando must know that this is a rare opportunity for them.  Unlike the Lakers, who will continue to be favourites for the NBA title as long as their core team is in tact, Orlando knows they might not get back here again if Boston is fully healthy and Lebron gets more support.  Hence it’s hard to say the Lakers will be more motivated.

Prediction

After getting burned by my prediction for the Cleveland-Orlando series (where I pathetically predicted the Cavs would win in 5), I’m going to place less emphasis on momentum and the big picture and focus more on the matchups and intricacies of the teams.

I see the series comes down to a number of key factors.  The first is whether Dwight Howard can stay out of foul trouble.  The second is whether he can hit his free throws.  The third is whether the Magic can continue to hit their open 3-pointers as they have all playoffs.  If so, then the Magic can definitely pull off the upset.  They are a good road team, having disposed of both Philadelphia and Boston on the road, and contributed to 2 out of the 3 home losses for Cleveland all season and playoffs.  Therefore, if they head back to LA for the final 2 games up 3-2, they have a good chance of winning.

However, ultimately the Lakers look too strong on paper, so I’ll have to go with them in 6 games.  I hope the Magic prove me wrong.

Update: novel, blogging and exams

May 25, 2009 in Blogging, Novel, On Writing by pacejmiller

Well, the time has come.  Exam time.

For the next couple of weeks, blogging is going to be a luxury.  Unless something is REALLY worthy of discussion and if I have spare time (which is going to be virtually impossible), I’m going to try and leave this blog alone…

As for my fantasy novel?  Nothing has happened on it (not a single word) since I began revising for my exams about 3 weeks ago.  It’s been on my mind and I’d love to work on it, but the last thing I want to do after a full day of bashing my brain in with textbooks is to work on the novel.  It’s almost guaranteed to make me write crap that I will surely delete.  Besides, it will probably make me too creative to be in a frame of mind to study.

I look forward to when the exams are finally out of the way, so I can get back to the novel.  It’s about 100,000 words still, and roughly around the halfway mark in terms of plot progression, but I’ve already thought of so many things I want to change and add to and delete from it.  Can’t wait.

But until then, have to focus!

Hilarious Floyd Mayweather Jr interviews

May 22, 2009 in Boxing by pacejmiller

Floyd Mayweather Jr has been doing the rounds promoting his upcoming fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.

Here are some hilarious interviews with Floyd at his best on ESPN.  The first is the most recent, a jawing session with Brian Kenny (in 2 parts).  Bear in mind, this is not the first time they have squabbled.  You can check out an earlier session between the two in 2006 on YouTube when Kenny was questioning why Floyd was dodging certain fighters.  It seems nothing has changed…

The second one is another ESPN interview which took place earlier with some douche who absolutely embarrassed himself by not having a clue that Pacquiao had lost before.

My theory on why the fight may never happen

Now, despite what I said in my earlier post, I can’t believe I am going to defend Floyd a little.  As expected (and as I predicted), in both interviews Floyd starts rambling on about his undefeated record, the fact that Pacquiao has lost before, and that he did better in his PPVs than Pacquiao against both De La Hoya and Hatton, that Pacquiao needs him and he doesn’t need Pacquiao.

However, he brought these up not as reasons why he will beat Pacquiao WHEN they fight, he’s using it as an excuse to avoid fighting him altogether – or at least that’s how it looks.  Frankly, I don’t think he intended for it to come out that way.  It just seems that when Floyd gets nervous, he starts rambling and contradicting himself and not making sense.

Reports are that Mayweather is asking for a 60-40 split in his favour against Pacquiao.  However, I found out that both Freddie Roach (Pacquiao’s trainer) and Bob Arum (Pacquiao’s promoter) are ALSO insisting on a 60-40 split, but in Pacquiao’s favour.  Neither side appears willing to budge, and that’s why we might never see the two best Pound-for-Pound fighters take each other on.  Arum used to promote Mayweather, and now they absolutely loath each other, to the point that Mayweather said he’d never do business with Arum again.  Of course, the reason for their break-up was, as it always is, money.

Now, a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao with a 50-50 split is what everyone thinks is fair (regardless of what Mayweather, Roach or Arum say).  Both sides will still make a truckload of money, certainly more than what could be earned in any other fight.  But ultimately I think the reason why we might not see them fight comes down to ego.  Mayweather wants to stick it to Arum by getting the bigger purse split, because to him that equates to Arum conceding that Floyd is still the biggest draw, the one he was stupid enough to lose by disrespecting.  Likewise, Arum wants to stick it to Mayweather by getting the lion’s share, because in his twisted little mind, that equates to Floyd still ‘needing’ him to be successful. Both sides are bragging that they have ‘other exciting options’ (which I think are no more than bluffs).  Plus I don’t think either side will be willing to strike a deal where the ‘winner’ takes the larger share of the purse because the risks to both their bank balances and egos will be too much for them to accept.

In short, I don’t think it’s all Floyd’s fault anymore – both sides are being childish and pricing themselves out of the fight that fans want to see.  They need to wake up and realise that fans want to see them fight, and both sides will miss out on insanely huge paychecks if they can’t put their differences aside and be reasonable.  Now, if Floyd could just come out and be honest about it rather than ramble on incoherently when asked, then perhaps people will stop pinning it all on him.

[Update: I’m very excited; I hear Mayweather Jr has signed with Golden Boy Promotions for 5 fights, which means he’s back for good, and with De La Hoya having made up with Arum, the Pacquiao fight is a genuine possibility now; or at least a fight with fellow Golden Boy fighter Shane Mosley.  Further, Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions who is working with Golden Boy says that Mayweather will take all the ‘so-called’ best fighters one by one, and that obviously includes the likes of Pacquiao and Cotto.  Let’s hope he’s not just making shit up to drum up publicity, but if what he says is true then we have a very exciting time ahead.]

[Update (July): In the latest interview with Brian Kenny, Mayweather Jr (who has postponed his fight with Marquez until September because of a rib injury) divulged that Bob Arum has proposed a 50-50 split for a gith between Mayweather and Pacquiao, but Mayweather flat out dismissed it.  So forget about what I said when I tried to defend Mayweather.  He’s dodging Pacquiao.]

Will Pacquiao vs Mayweather Jr ever happen?

May 20, 2009 in Boxing by pacejmiller

Right after Manny Pacquiao’s unexpected (for most) drubbing of Oscar De La Hoya in December 2008, people were already talking about a potential matchup between former Pound-for-Pound and ‘retired’ champ Floyd Mayweather Jr.  Now after Pacquiao’s brutal demolition of Ricky Hatton in 2 rounds and Mayweather announcing his ‘return’ on the same day, everyone is expecting this amazing showdown to take place before the end of 2009.

But wait, there’s two obstacles.  The first is Juan Manuel Marquez, who will lace up his gloves to take on Mayweather Jr on July 18 (now postponed to September 19 – see my prediction for this fight!).  Many believe this will be no more than a ‘tune-up’ fight for Pretty Boy Floyd, simply because Marquez is way too small for him (and has to leap two divisions just to be in the same weight class), and will eventually lead to the fight with Pacquiao that every fight fan wants to see.

Mayweather Marquez

Marquez stands in the way of Pacquiao-Mayweather

However, it’s not impossible that Marquez can beat Mayweather.  Marquez has been in fine form since his split decision loss to Pacquiao (which many thought he won) whereas Mayweather hasn’t fought a round since December 2007 when he put the first black mark on Ricky Hatton’s previously unblemished record.  Marquez also desperately wants to fight Pacquiao for the third time (the first bout ended in a controversial draw) so there is that added incentive.  If Mayweather loses a step or two from the layoff or overlooks Marquez then it’s not inconceivable that he could lose.

Nevertheless, that is not the main obstacle between a Pacquiao-Mayweather bout.  The second, and most difficult hurdle to overcome, is financial.

Reports say that as soon as Pacquiao knocked out Hatton, promoters were already busy trying to work out a deal for Pacquiao to fight Mayweather in December 2009 (provided the latter defeats Marquez, that is).  However, as expected, early indications are that things have not gone smoothly.  Mayweather Jr is all about money and he wants the lion’s share of a 60-40 split with Pacquiao, who was willing to settle for a more civil 50-50 split.

There is simply no way that Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, will accept a 60-40 split, especially when: (1) Pacquiao is almost unanimously the No. 1 P4P fighter in the world; (2) Pacquiao is also widely regarded as the most exciting fighter in the world; (3) Pacquiao defeated both De La Hoya and Hatton in a much more dominant and spectacular fashion than Mayweather; and (4)Pacquiao is much more popular than Mayweather around the world, and perhaps even in America.

The problem is, Mayweather is one of the those guys that seem unwilling to budge because he knows he has leverage.  People often criticise Floyd for his unwillingness to fight the toughest fighters out there, and they say his method of escape is to price himself out of risky fights by throwing down hard-line purse splits that are overwhelmingly in his favour, to the extent that the other side gets insulted and simply walk away.

Mayweather probably knows that Pacquiao’s team will never accept a 60-40 split, which could be why he insisted on it in the first place.  Now, it could be that he genuinely doesn’t care who he fights has long as he gets paid handsomely for it (supporters will point to his lower split against De La Hoya, but at $25 million it was still by far his biggest pay day ever), but critics will argue that he’s getting cold feet after seeing Ricky Hatton’s brain almost getting knocked out of his skull by Pacquiao.

Is this why Mayweather is pricing himself out of fighting Pacquaio?

Is this why Mayweather is pricing himself out of fighting Pacquaio?

To support his case for a bigger share, Mayweather will undoubtedly point to his former (which I’m sure he’ll say is ‘current’) position as the No. 1 P4P fighter in the world and his undefeated record.  He will also point to his past PPV successes, especially against De Lay Hoya (2.4 million) and Hatton (915,000), where he did better in both than Pacquiao (1.25 million against De La Hoya and around 850,000 against Hatton).  And while Mayweather is clearly not as liked as Manny Pacquiao, he still has a sizeable fan base, and there are also many that would be willing to pay to watch him lose.

[Note: Having read some of Mayewather Jr’s non-promotional interviews, I’m convinced he’s not truly the arrogant dickhead he makes himself out to be.  He had a very tough upbringing with a drug-addicted mother and an estranged father who was sent to prison for drug-smuggling and was incredibly hard on him all his life.  After seeing Mayweather Sr ramble on like a moron on HBO’s 24/7 I an inclined to believe him.  Floyd also seems like a dedicated father to his four children.  But there is no doubting he loves money – perhaps his ploy is to get as many people to hate him as possible so they will pay to see him lose, kind of like what Ali did back in his day.]

Of course, Arum will point out that the PPV numbers are deceiving.  Mayweather’s fights against De La Hoya and Hatton didn’t take place when the entire global economy went down the shitpipe, whereas Pacquiao’s did.  Throw in the fact that Pacquiao’s popularity in the US didn’t really take off until after the De La Hoya fight and that Hatton was no longer undefeated, you could make an argument that Pacquiao’s PPV numbers were even more impressive than that of Mayweather’s.

So, where does that leave the fight every fight fan wants to see?

Much of this will depend on what happens on July 18 (now September 19) when Mayweather takes on Marquez.  If Mayweather wins convincingly, he’ll have more leverage in getting a bigger purse because he can say he’s back on top as Pacquiao struggled against Marquez (even though that was a different Pacquiao to the beast he is today).  But the most important indicator is the PPV performance of the fight.  If it really sucks (ie significantly below the 500,000 PPV buys expected), then Mayweather loses a significant portion of his leverage.  Even his most loyal supporters will start to question his courage and legacy if he tries to price himself out of a Pacquiao fight from there.

If that happens, then Mayweather may decide to budge from his 60-40 stance, simply because he knows going 50-50 with Pacquiao will still earn him a lot more money than going 70-30 against anyone else out there.  Pacquiao’s team might even soften their position a little and go for something like the 52-48 split we saw with Pacquiao-Hatton just to make it happen, because they too know the fight will be guaranteed to rake it in, and losing a couple of percentage points is better than getting nothing at all.  Personally, I would like to see a deal struck where the lion’s share of a 60-40 split goes to the winner of the fight, but that’s highly unlikely.

For now, all those that want to see Pacquiao fight Mayweather can only (1) hope that Mayweather stuggles but wins against Marquez and (2) boycott the PPV buys for that fight! (and now (3), Pacquiao win his fight against Miguel Cotto in November)

[Update: As I noted in my later post with the hilarious Mayweather Jr interviews, I no longer put the blame exclusively on Floyd Jr because it appears as though Arum and Roach are also insisting on 60-40 but in their favour, though it remains to be seen whether that is just a strategic move.  HOWEVER, Floyd has since signed on for 5 fights with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, which means Pacquiao-Mayweather is getting closer to reality.  De La Hoya still hates Arum in all likelihood (like Mayweather) but at least he is willing to do business with him.  With so many fights to fight and Floyd wanting to maximise his earning potential, it’s a good bet that he’ll get into the ring with at least one of Pacquiao, Mosley, Cotto or Berto.  The chief exec of Mayweather’s own promotion company who is working with Golden Boy says Floyd will take on all the supposed best fighters out there after Marquez, one by one.  Hope he’s referring to the guys I mentioned above, not the likes of Edwin Valero.]

[Update (July): Looks like it might be a while before Mayweather squares off with Pacquiao, but I am still hopeful it will happen.  Mayweather injured his ribs in training and so the Marquez fight has been rescheduled to September 19.  Strangely he has refused to divulge how he sustained the injury, only willing to say that it was a ‘freak accident’.  Some speculate whether the defensive master got tagged in the body during sparring, but Mayweather says: ‘Believe me, it wasn’t a small guy that done it, but it didn’t even come from sparring’.  So does this mean it was a big guy who did it outside sparring?  Mayweather has also laughed off speculation that he is in financial difficulty, and revealed in a recent interview with Brian Kenny that he is NOT going to accept a 50-50 split with Pacquiao as proposed by Bob Arum.  So it appears Arum is willing to reduce Manny’s purse to 50% in order to make the fight happen, but Mayweather won’t accept.  Interestingly, word is that the Mayweather-Marquez fight is struggling to sell, so that might help Floyd change his mind in the future.  On the Pacquiao side, it appears he will first fight fellow Top Rank boxer Miguel Cotto (who just came off a split decision win against Joshua Clottey) around November 14.  Weight (probably catch weight around 142) and purse split (probably 60-40 in favour of Pacquiao) have not yet been finalised.  Let’s hope both Pacquiao and Mayweather win and a fight against each other (or either against Shane Mosley, who has said he will accept a 40% split against Pacquiao) can be signed by the end of the year.]

[Update: (September 2009) encouraging reports are saying that Pacquiao’s camp will begin to negotiate in good faith with Mayweather if they both win their respective upcoming fights.  Let’s hope they do.  They are optimistic that a deal can be worked out, provided reasonable and rational demands are made.  From what I hear, the Pacquiao/Cotto fight is doing well, whereas it took quite a while for Mayweather/Marquez to fill up the seats.  Arum’s 50-50 proposal sounds reasonable to me, but even if it’s 55-45 I think Manny will be willing to take it, though I’m not so sure Arum will.  I guess we have to wait and see.]