Desert Robbery: Tim Bradley shocks Manny Pacquiao in controversial decision

June 10, 2012 in Boxing, Sport

I told you it was gonna be a weird fight. Everything about it felt a little “off”, from Manny Pacquiao’s religious awakening, his well-publicized calf problems and the drama with conditioning coach Trevor Ariza to him weighing a career-high 147 points. From those predicting a Timothy Bradley upset (including himself, with a mock Bradley-Pacquiao II poster and ticket) to the delay over the Heat-Celtics game 7 and Pacquiao’s bizarre stalling just prior to the bout (warming up his calves on a treadmill). The night just had a surreal feel to it.

And those concerns were proven right. Despite dominating the fight – and when I say “dominate” I mean it in every sense of the word – Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao somehow lost a split decision to Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley at the MGM tonight. Inexplicable. 115-113 three times, twice to the winner.

This was not a “close fight that could have gone either way”, like the first two fights between Pacquiao and his arch rival and Mexican great Juan Manuel Marquez. It was not a “close fight that one guy ought to have won”, like what some have said about Pacquiao-Marquez III (with Marquez being the rightful victor). It wasn’t even a case of one guy taking his foot off the pedal with the fight seemingly in hand, only to allow the other guy to sneak home a victory, ala Oscar de la Hoya vs Felix Trinidad. This was, frankly, a flat out robbery, the worst of its kind.

Not one of the experts covering the fight gave the bout to Bradley. In fact, I can’t see a single scorecard (apart from the three official ones), that gave Bradley more than four rounds (which would mean a 116-112 Pacquiao decision). Many gave Bradley ONE round, which made it a 119-109 virtual shutout. Personally, I had it 118-110 after giving Bradley two rounds, and one of those might have been a pity round. Put it this way: even Bradley’s own manager reportedly had it 8-4 in Pacquiao’s favour. Heck, even Floyd Mayweather’s dad, Floyd Sr, said Pacquiao won and there was clearly “a gap” between the two fighters.

Whichever way you look at it, this has to be one of the most outrageous decisions in boxing history, and one that is almost certainly dirty. Even the worst incompetence could not have produced this kind of result.

Bradley was the busier fighter of the two, but Pacquiao was by far the more effective. It’s hard to remember a single clean punch from Bradley, and certainly not one that troubled Pacquiao. On the other hand, Pacquiao landed several crisp shots throughout the fight (though to be fair, most of them early on), and some of them forcing Bradley to bend his knees and wobble back.

CompuBox stats are said to be misleading, but not when they are this wide. Pacquiao landed 253 punches at 34% to Bradley’s 159 at 19%. He landed 63 jabs to Bradley’s 51. He landed 190 power punches at 38.5% to Bradley’s 108 at 27.7%. And he landed more punches than Bradley in 10 of the 12 rounds.

There will now be a rematch in November as per the option clause in the contract. Is anyone else suspicious? Bob Arum, the promoter for both men and very possibly Satan in disguise, acted outraged by the decision. Apparently, he had it 10-2 in Pacquiao’s favour. He added, before the decision was announced, that Bradley told him, “I tried hard and I couldn’t beat the guy.”

Interestingly, Arum also  said, “I have both guys, and I’ll make a lot of money in the rematch, but it’s ridiculous.” Mmm…does anyone smell fish? The popular conspiracy theory making the rounds on the internet now is that Arum rigged the fight to make more money from the rematch, and so that Pacquiao could continue delaying his fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr – maybe even kill any possibility of the megabout happening altogether. Another theory is that Pacquiao’s contract with Arum’s Top Rank is nearing its expiration date and his cash cow has not signed an extension, suggesting he might jump ship to rival promoter Golden Boy. (For those of you who don’t remember, Pacquiao stirred up controversy last time when he allegedly signed with both promoters, only to have a judge later rule that he belonged to Top Rank, with Golden Boy taking a small percentage of earnings.) Could this be Arum’s way of trying to hold on to Pacquiao for a little longer or to punish him for not signing an extension?

Some might say it is karma for Pacquiao’s decision over Marquez in their third fight, but at least that fight was close. This was just another black eye on the already-battered sport of boxing.

Brilliant Mayweather beats Cotto, I face facts

May 7, 2012 in Boxing, Sport

I finally got a chance to watch the Mayweather-Cotto bout fought last night in Las Vegas.

Just the day before, when previewing the fight, despite admitting that Floyd Mayweather Jr had all the advantages, I decided to go out on a limb and pick Miguel Cotto to score a stunning upset. Part of it is because Mayweather is 35 and is going to prison in less than a month. But subconsciously, it may have simply been because I wanted Mayweather to lose his perfect now-43 and 0 record.

And now, after Mayweather defeated Cotto in a unanimous victory (117-111, 117-111, 118-110), I have to give the man props and eat crow. Quite simply, Mayweather was sensational, and together with the game but outclassed Cotto, put together the most exciting fight of his illustrious career — which hasn’t always had a lot of action.

Watching the fight after already having read the fight recaps was a strange experience because it turned out slightly different to what I had expected. I thought Cotto would come out strong and fade in the later rounds, but it was Mayweather who came out on the offensive, being, surprisingly, the more aggressive fighter in peppering Cotto with jabs and right hands. After the first three rounds I wondered how Cotto would be able to get back into it, given that Mayweather was clearly faster, sharper and more accurate with all his punches.

But to Cotto’s effort — the dude is a flat out warrior — he fought back like a champion, busting up Mayweather’s nose and making him bleed profusely from the nostrils and mouth for the majority of the second half of the fight. It was the first time I had seen so much blood on Mayweather’s face. I’m not sure if it was a strategic decision by Mayweather to make the fight more exciting by often exchanging with Cotto in the corners (and if so, good on him), but the fact is Mayweather took Cotto’s best shots and dished back his own, and then some.

The difference between the two fighters was clear. Cotto was more plodding, looking to trap Mayweather against the ropes and the corners where he could unleash furious body blows and powerful head shots. The problem was, even when he got Mayweather where he wanted he still couldn’t do significant damage — for the most part — due to the incredible defensive reflexes and that famous shoulder roll of his opponent.

On the other hand, Mayweather simply controlled distance and pace like a masterful technician. Hate the man as much as you want for being an arrogant show-off, a wife-beater or a racist, but watching him fight last night was an absolute pleasure. He was always moving to a distance that suited his offense, which allowed him to get off first with his lightning quick hands. When Cotto closed the gap, he either opened it up again or closed it up even more so that Cotto couldn’t get off his own shots. When Cotto appeared to be getting the other hand with his relentless pressure, Mayweather just used his arms to tie up Cotto’s gloves. And later on in the fight, Mayweather adjusted and found a new weapon — the left uppercut — that became his most effective weapon down the stretch. He was just flat out better.

Let’s not forget Cotto here because his effort ensured that we were able to see Mayweather at his best — Money himself admitted afterwards, with rare marks on his face, that Cotto was the toughest guy he had ever fought. I had the fight a little closer than the judges in the end with a 8-4 scorecard (116-112), but there was no doubt Mayweather had won it convincingly. There was no feeling that Mayweather would have faded had the fight continued either. In fact, round 12 was probably Mayweather’s best round, in which he rocked Cotto with several vicious left uppercuts and right hands.

Cotto left the ring before interviews, and Mayweather, as usual, was back to his irritating self, basically ignoring all of Larry Merchant’s questions to say only what he wanted to say. Needless to say, Manny Pacquiao’s name came up and it was the usual excuses, showing that there’s almost no point in expecting something to happen at this point.

But that’s still not going to stop people from fantasising about what might happen if they do eventually meet in the ring. And despite years of having believed that Pacquiao has the tools to beat Mayweather, after this fight and Pacquiao’s last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, maybe I’m not so sure any more.

Supporters from either side are going to point to their common opponents as evidence that their guy will win. Pacquiao beat Oscar de lay Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley and now Miguel Cotto with more ease and in more dominating fashion (though it is impossible to overlook that they fought at different weights — especially Cotto, who weighed 154 for Mayweather and just 145 against Pacquiao; and the popular argument that Mayweather had softened them up first). Mayweather, on the other hand beat Marquez, a guy many believe bested Pacquiao one or two or maybe even three times, with utmost ease (though that was at a catch weight too ).

Previously, I believed that Pacquiao’s relentless activity, punching power and endless stamina would eventually wear down Mayweather en route to a points win. But I realised that was an oversimplification of the facts. It’s not that Mayweather doesn’t like to throw — he showed against Cotto that he can be a very active offensive fighter himself, landing 179 of 687 punches compared to 105 of 506 from Cotto — it’s just that he prefers to just do enough to win. That’s why Mayweather hasn’t been as impressive as Pacquiao in beating up some of their common opponents.

I was also wrong about Mayweather’s inability to throw combinations. Before this fight I thought he had become more of a pot shot puncher who threw only one or two punches at a time. But against Cotto, he was tearing it up with sick combinations from all angles. These combinations were different to Pacquiao’s, which tend to be quicker but wilder; Mayweather’s combinations were more methodical, not in rapid Pacquiao-like succession but each one was snappy and dead on the mark , and arguably, even more effective.

If the two were to match up now, you’d have to pick Mayweather, with his bigger size, longer reach and superior defense, as the favourite. As much as I like Pacquiao and want him to win, it’s time to face the reality of the situation.

But does that mean Pacquiao is sure to lose? I don’t think so either. After having watched Cotto land a few on Mayweather despite his orthodox style and plodding speed, I still believe Pacquiao has the best chance of beating Mayweather than anyone else on the planet. If Cotto could land some effective punches throughout the fight, then surely Pacquiao, with his blazing speed and footwork, could as well — and with greater snap and power. Pacquiao is also less likely to fade, as Cotto did a little when he put together a string of three solid rounds from around the mid-point of the fight. However, what I see as Pacquiao’s greatest advantages are his southpaw stance (kryptonite against the shoulder roll) and his bizarre punching angles and timing, which could catch Mayweather off guard. That said, Mayweather is better than adjusting mid-fight than anyone else in boxing, so perhaps that’s not saying much either.

What is maybe more worrying for Pacquiao now is Mayweather’s offense. We all know Pacquiao can get a little out of control at times, and against Mayweather, the ultimate counter puncher, he will surely pay for it. It might depend on how disciplined Pacquiao can be, because we know he’s going to be pissed off. I suppose what I am trying to say is that Mayweather might have become more of a favourite after the Cotto fight, but Pacquiao may also have a bigger chance of winning than he had before. Does that even make sense?

At the end of the day, there are going to be people from both camps who are going to defend their guy no matter what. Right now Mayweather seems to have the upper hand, but who knows if that will change if Pacquiao comes out and blasts Tim Bradley away on June 9.

So all of this back and forth banter between the two sides is rather pointless because no one will really know for sure until these two get it on. Unfortunately, right now it looks as unlikely as ever.

Mosley Back-Pedals to UD Loss in Rare Pacquiao Stinker

May 8, 2011 in Boxing, Sport

By Manny Pacquiao’s ordinarily lofty standards as the pound-for-pound king and the most exciting boxer in the world, his 12 round unanimous victory over future Hall-of-Famer Shane Mosley was a complete stinker.  I’d actually probably say it was one of his worst fights ever from an action and excitement perspective.

So what the heck happened?  Even at 39, Shane Mosley was expected to be a good opponent for Pacquiao not because he posed a serious threat, but because he’s been known throughout his career as a skilled, exciting boxer with speed and power, and most importantly, liked to trade shots with the other guy.

Instead, this Mosley essentially back-pedaled all night (worse than Cotto in those last few rounds, and Mosley wasn’t even seriously hurt), all the way out of the ring and straight to the bank to collect his cool $5 million bucks for this sham of a fight (Pacquiao got a guaranteed $20 million).  I’m a little angry and very disappointed, because Mosley talked it up and made it seem like he was going to hunt Manny down like Team 6 on Osama.  He exuded confidence because, as he said, Pacquiao likes to trade, and that’s what’s going to give him an opportunity to knock Pacquiao out.  But when the time came, Mosley did jack all.  I gave him the benefit of the doubt before the fight despite his last two performances (against Mayweather and Mora), but he’s a shot fighter.  No doubt about it.  He just can’t pull the trigger anymore.  This wasn’t an Oscar de la Hoya situation where Pacquiao didn’t give him the opportunity to get his punches off.  Mosley just didn’t want to throw.

How the fight unfolded

After a pretty decent undercard which I missed, Mosley entered the ring first with LL Cool J rapping ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ alongside him (how ironic).  Pacquiao entered next to ‘Eye of the Tiger’, sung live (or lip-synched) by Survivor.  All good up to this point.  Everyone was hyped.  Jamie Foxx sang a song and everyone cheered.

The first round was a ‘feel out’ round where neither guy did much, but Pacquiao clearly won because he at least tried to engage a little.  Mosley just threw a few jabs in the air and kept moving back whenever Pacquiao looked like he might throw a punch.  But at least he was sharp, and I thought perhaps he was sizing Manny up and getting ready to go all out in the next round.

But in round 2 Mosley did more of the same.  Pacquiao turned it up a notch, but not by much.  He did have a couple of brisk moments where the crowd went ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ from his combinations, but by and large it was uneventful.

Round 3 turned out to be probably the best round of the fight because Pacquiao managed to land a couple of big shots (a left and a right) that put Mosley on his backside.  Mosley got up at about the count of 5, but from the stunned expression on his face and the wobbly legs it looked like he was ready to go.  However, Pacquiao didn’t really go after him with full force and Mosley survived.

If Mosley was tentative up to that point in the fight, after the knockdown, it was much much worse.  I couldn’t believe the bigger guy, the supposedly stronger guy, was running so much.  It was embarrassing to watch, and frustrating for the fans who paid good money to see what they thought would be an action-packed bout.

From round 4 onwards, Mosley just back-pedaled and Pacquiao chased.  Apparently in this round Pacquiao cramped his calf, which made mobility an issue for the remainder of the fight, a possible reason why he didn’t go after Mosley harder than he did.  Rounds 4 to 9 were really a complete blur in my memory because they were all the same.  Mosley refusing to engage and Pacquiao bringing brief moments of fake excitement whenever he landed a few blows before Mosley darted away again (it got so bad that the crowd cheered whenever Pacquiao got close to Mosley).

In round 10, the best possible thing that could happen in this fight happened.  Mosley clearly pushed an off-balance Pacquiao to the canvas, but referee Kenny Bayless inexplicably ruled it a knockdown (he apologised later).  Freddie Roach was fuming, and Pacquiao was bewildered, but soon the bewilderment turned to anger and he finally started putting his punches together and sprinted after Mosley instead of just stalking him.  At last, Pacquiao started belting Mosley with powerful combinations, but Mosley turned it up a gear and ran even faster, managing somehow to survive until the final bell.

Not surprisingly, boos rained down throughout the slower parts of the fight, and who could blame them?  Mosley looked like he had zero intention of trying to win the fight, and the only thing he cared about was walking away without a permanent injury (so he can snuggle up to his hot new 21-year-old girlfriend, who received the second loudest ovation after Pacquiao at the venue where I watched the fight).  At least against Joshua Clottey, Clottey covered up most of the night.  Mosley just ran.

The final scorecard: 120-108, 120-107 and 119-108.  This was quite astonishing, considering they used a ’10-point must’ scoring system for the 12 rounds and Pacquiao was ruled as having been knocked down in round 10.  Usually when a boxer is knocked down, the round automatically becomes a 10-8 in favour of the guy who scored the knockdown, but the fact that Pacquiao received perfect scores from 2 judges and only lost a point on the other, showed just how pathetially hopeless Mosley was on this night.

Final thoughts

What a stinker of a Pacquiao fight. Average or slightly above average compared to your run of the mill boxing match, but a stinker by Pacquaio’s standards.

Pacquiao was disappointed afterwards and showed it in the interview, because he knew he didn’t give fans what they wanted to see.  He complained about the lack of willingness to engage on Mosley’s part and his calf injury.  He was almost completely unmarked after the fight, whereas Mosley’s face was puffy and bruised, and was forced to wear sunglasses in the post-fight interview.

I had predicted that Pacquiao would be the first to knock Mosley out (he did pretty well by just being the second person — after Vernon Forrest — to knock Mosley down) because I thought Mosley would try and trade.  I think from what we saw in the fight, if Mosley did decide to trade, he almost certainly would have been carried out on a stretcher.  How he fooled everybody, including even his own trainer, Nazim Richardson, who pleaded all night for Mosley to do something.

I don’t really blame Pacquiao for what transpired here.  His job, first and foremost, is to win the fight, which he was doing with absolute ease.  He didn’t have to do much to dominate this bout.  Why risk anything if you can just coast your way to a victory?  I just wish he wasn’t so friendly to Mosley, allowing him to escape from the corner whenever he had him seemingly trapped, and not going after him until the 10th round knockdown error by the referee.  If the error occurred earlier the fight probably would have been less burdensome to watch.

That reminds me of a couple of things I noticed about the fight that really irked me.  One was that Pacquiao and Mosley would touch gloves at the start and end of every round and after just about every accidental head butt (there were a few) and separation by the referee.  I mean come on, it’s good to be friends after the fight but not in the ring.  They even hugged at the beginning of the 12th and final round.  It made me feel like Shane was just saying: thanks for giving me the chance to steal $5 million; I just fooled the world into thinking I was going to fight, but I was really here just to collect my paycheck and try and get out with my brain in one piece.

The second thing was Shane’s corner always taking an extra 5-10 seconds between rounds to get out of the ring.  I thought it was an obvious ploy to give Shane more time to recover so he can run faster the next round, and the referee should have at least warned them.

What’s next

Pacquiao’s next opponent will probably be Juan Manuel Marquez, who really wants to fight Pacquiao after believing he was robbed in two previous decisions (a draw and a loss).  Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum already sent an offer to Marquez, which he turned down, and they are sending a revised version to him.  Perhaps they were offering too little money, or perhaps he didn’t like the weight (which would almost certainly be welterweight).

Arum says if Marquez backs out then the next best option is Timothy Bradley, a legitimate young stud and title holder.  Not sure if a real danger for Pacquiao, but with Mayweather nowhere to be found, the best that could be hoped for.  Andre Berto might be in the mix, but he’s not as attractive now that he’s got a loss on his record (recently to Victor Ortiz).  And the other guy in the pound-for-pound chatter, Sergio Martinez, is just too big at 154 pounds.

I hope Pacquiao does take on Marquez again, because I think it’ll be a good fight.  Marquez is the only guy that has given Pacquiao real trouble since 2005, though I think it will be a massacre at 147 pounds.  A brutal, bloody massacre that will shut everyone up about Marquez’s earlier success against Pacquiao.

As for Shane Mosley, please retire and ride off into the sunset with your hot young girlfriend.  You’ve had a glorious career but you crapped all over your legacy tonight.  At least you got 5 million bucks out of it.

Pacquiao demolishes Hatton in 2 Rounds, eyes Mayweather Jr!

May 3, 2009 in Boxing

Pacquiao flattens Hatton in just 2 rounds

Pacquiao flattens Hatton in just 2 rounds

I still can’t believe it.

Just hours after I posted a prediction that Manny Pacquiao would beat Ricky Hatton by an unanimous decision, the Filipino national hero proved once again why he’s the number 1 pound-four-pound fighter in the world by absolutely annihilating Ricky Hatton in 2 rounds in Las Vegas.  As at the time of this post, an almost-full video of the fight could be found on YouTube, but rest assured it will be taken down, though I’m sure there will be other resources available online if you know where to look.

The easy victory sets up a salivating bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr (son of Hatton’s trainer), who unsurprisingly announced his return to boxing on the same day (after prematurely retiring following his 10th round KO of Hatton in December 2007) to “reclaim what’s mine”.  Mayweather Jr will fight lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez, the man who gave Pacquiao all he could handle, on 18 July 2009, with a view to squaring off with Pacquiao before the end of the year.

Fight action

The Pacquiao/Hatton fight is well worth seeing because it was brutal and spectacular, though probably not worth buying through PPV because it only lasted 2 rounds (and the undercards were apparently crap).

The bout started off with Hatton trying his usual rough tactics, trying to force Pacquiao into the ropes and clinching whenever he got a chance.  He was actually quite successful in the first minute or so of the fight in that regard, but it didn’t have any material effect on Pacquiao, who was sticking to his game plan, throwing lightning quick combos and getting out of the way whenever he sensed danger.  The most effective punch in the first 90 seconds of the round was Pacquiao’s right hook, which had landed flush several times already.

In the second half of the first round, Pacquiao started unloading some big hooks on Hatton and had him on the ropes.  And then, with just under a minute left in the round, Pacquiao lands a big right hook just as Hatton was about to swing, and Hatton drops to his knees.  Hatton manages to get up at the count of 8, but then continues to get thumped by lightning quick combinations for the rest of the round until with less than 10 seconds to go, when Pacquiao landed a stunning straight left that drops Hatton again, flat on his back in the corner.  He manages to get up and survive the round, but the stunned expression on Hatton’s face said it all.

Pacquiao landed against Hatton almost at will

Pacquiao landed against Hatton almost at will

Hatton begins the second round trying to be aggressive, throwing big punches that mostly missed the mark, then tying up Pacquiao and throwing punches during the clinch.  On the other hand, Pacquiao remained calm, throwing quick, precise punches and spinning and turning out of the way whenever Hatton tried to unload.  Then about 30 seconds in, Pacquiao starts to throw some big punches of his own, and actually gets caught by a left hook from Hatton, who continues to clinch and punch.  With about 40 seconds to go in the round, Pacquiao starts throwing some wild punches to try and KO Hatton but without success.  However, he eventually goes back to the precision-style boxing that had worked so well for him, and with 8 seconds left in Round 2, Pacquiao unleashes a devastating left counter hook that lands square on Hatton’s jaw.  Hatton drops like a puppet with its strings cut, and one quick look from the referee was all it took for him to wave off the fight without a count.

Hatton is carried out on a stretcher while Pacquiao celebrates.

Analysis

I’m usually pretty terrible when it comes to predictions (of any kind) so I’m not surprised that I got it wrong.  At least I got the winner right!  Most people who predicted a Pacquiao victory thought it would happen in the later rounds, not in Round 2.  I don’t think anyone predicted it to be this easy for Pacquiao.  Even ESPN’s Fight Night Round 4 simulation had Pacquiao climbing off the canvas to win by KO in round 11.  As it turns out, Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach was probably closest when he predicted a KO victory in the third round (but he later admitted he was just trying to get under Floyd Mayweather Sr’s skin).

For those that thought Pacquiao was devastating against Oscar De La Hoya, they need to see this fight.  Against Hatton, Pacquiao had a slightly different game plan, but it was equally effective.  He maintained his precision boxing with rapid hand speed and footwork, but also mixed in some power hooks.  Hatton had no idea what was coming.  Many people thought perhaps Manny would underestimate Ricky, but it turned out to be the other way around.  Hatton simply had no answer for Pacquiao’s speed and precision.  There was also little of that head movement and improved defence that Floyd Mayweather Sr was talking about before the fight.  Or maybe it was because Pacquiao was just too fast for him.  Further, even though Hatton was perhaps physically stronger, Pacquiao’s punches seemed to be much heavier.

“I’m surprised the fight was so easy,” Pacquiao said after the fight. “He was wide open for the right hook. I knew he would be looking for my left.”

Freddie Roach, on the other hand, made it seem like he knew the outcome from the start.  “The fight was no surprise to me.  We know he always pumps his hands before he throws a punch. He’s a sucker for the right hook.”

For the bout, Pacquiao landed 73 of 127 punches (57.4%), whereas Hatton only managed to connect on 18 of 78 punches (23.1%).

Aftermath

Fortunately, Hatton was not badly hurt.  He was taken to the hospital as a precaution but didn’t appear to suffer any serious injuries. “It was a hard loss but I’m okay,” he said. “I really didn’t see the punch coming but it was a great shot. I know I’ll be okay.”  He should be, after earning $8 million for the fight.

So it seems Hatton, as humiliating as the loss was, will not be seeking retirement.  On the other hand, what does the future hold for his new trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr?  They had one decent showing together in Hatton’s fight against Malignaggi, but this performance against Pacquiao demonstrated very little, if any, noticeable improvement.  If the rumors of a rift between the two before the fight had any truth to them, chances are you won’t see Mayweather Sr in Hatton’s corner again.

Floyd Jr's back, but will he reget it when he faces Pacquiao?

Floyd Jr's back, but will he reget it when he faces Pacquiao?

As for Manny Pacquiao, who earned $12 million for the bout, the sky is the limit.  The only logical fight for him now is Floyd Mayweather Jr, and if it comes to fruition, will be the biggest fight in boxing in years.  The current pound-for-pound champion against the undefeated guy who handed him that mythical title by retiring prematurely.  However, one must not overlook Mayweather Jr’s July 18 bout against Juan Manuel Marquez, who is about as dangerous of an opponent as you can get for a return/tune-up fight.  If Mayweather Jr shows any rust or loses the form he once had, there is a chance JMM might shock him back into retirement.

Then again, this is Floyd Mayweather Jr we’re talking about (and JMM is moving up in 2 weight classes), so in all likelihood we’ll get to see the Pacquiao/Mayweather fight in December 2009.  I hope so.  At this point in time, it’s hard to predict a winner.  Do you go with the in-form, two-fisted fighting machine that is Manny Pacquiao, or the undefeated technican and defensive genius in Floyd Mayweather Jr?  It’s a difficult fight to pick, but at least with Manny Pacquiao you can be sure that it’ll be an exciting fight.

And make no mistake, the crowd will be on Pacquiao’s side when they get into the ring.  In the press conference announcing his return, the Pretty Boy showed the same cockiness and arrogance that I’m sure will make many boxing fans root for the humble Pacquiao. “I guess I just missed boxing,” Mayweather said. “Somebody’s got to keep the sport up and running. Why not me?”  Mmm, it seemed to me that Manny Pacquiao had been keeping the sport up and running pretty well without him.  Mayweather also proclaimed: “I’m still the biggest draw in boxing.  Everybody wants to fight me because they know I’m the cash cow.”  Does Mayweather honestly believe that he, and not Pacquiao, is the biggest draw in boxing right now?

If there is a God, please let this fight happen!