The Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez 3 Aftermath: Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

(This piece appeared in my now defunct fight blog, Pinoy Fight Scribe, in 2011.)

by Mark Lorenzana

It’s been almost a week since the third fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, and the buzz has yet to die down. I’ve already written my take on the fight, and I already posted on Facebook that I thought Pacquiao lost that fight. I scored the fight 115-113 for Marquez.

Some people tried to convince me that Pacquiao actually won that fight, that perhaps I was just too fixated on a knockout win for Manny and that’s why I failed to score the fight objectively. A friend even told me to watch the fight again and mute the TV so I wouldn’t be swayed by the commentators.

Two things: One, when I watched the fight I wasn’t originally listening to the commentators because I was sitting at a table that was too far from the TV for me to hear the audio. Two, I watched the fight a second time without the distractions and tried to be as objective as possible. I still ended up scoring the fight for Marquez.

For me it’s fine to score the fight for Pacquiao if you really thought he won. Last time I checked, this is still a free country. What gets my goat, however, are those Pacquiao nuthuggers who have been looking for excuses to explain why Pacquiao didn’t perform up to par in this fight.

Here’s a list of those excuses:

  1. Pacquiao had foot cramps. We have to give Manny the benefit of the doubt here because he had suffered from cramps in previous fights. But in those fights he still won convincingly, so perhaps this time the cramps were more severe than what he suffered before?

“It was difficult for Manny,” Roach said. “His in-and-out motion was affected and he was coming in flatfooted. The pain started in his arches and then spread up to his calf. It is something that we really have to figure out and we will get advice on it. This has happened in his last two fights and we want to get it fixed. We are not making excuses.”

I’m just wondering if Pacquiao also had foot cramps when he fought Marquez for the first time in 2004 and four years later in their first rematch in 2008. He also had trouble with Marquez in those two fights.

  1. Marquez cheated Pacquiao by stepping on Manny’s foot in the course of the fight. Check out YouTube, and you’ll see quite a few videos devoted to this topic. For me this is just too fucking moronic. What could be more idiotic than this? People who genuinely watch boxing know that when a southpaw and and orthodox fighter meet, it is normal for them to step on each other’s foot inadvertently. And when you think about it, would Marquez even bother to try and step on Pacquiao’s foot on purpose instead of just focusing on the damn fight and throwing his counterpunches? If he focused too much on trying to stomp on Manny’s foot, he’d be eating a Pacquiao knuckle sandwich in no time and find himself on his ass.

And it’s as if all that foot stomping would really make a huge difference in the fight. Also, isn’t it quite funny that we haven’t really heard of Pacquiao’s camp complaining about this? Anyway what’s ironic is that there are also quite a few videos in YouTube that show Pacquiao repeatedly stomping (inadvertently, of course) on Marquez’s foot the entire fight. I think this will finally put an end to this stupid issue. Then again, maybe not. Them Pactards are one tenacious and feisty bunch.

  1. Marquez was given an illegal substance to drink in between rounds. A few hours after the fight, some people have already posted pictures on Facebook showing Marquez chugging on a yellowish drink. Some thought it was an illegal mixed drink that the Marquez cornermen smuggled into the corner, while others thought it was urine. (Marquez’s own urine, of course. Heh.) Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, promptly cleared the matter up. “Water and electrolyte drinks are allowed in the corner. Any electrolyte drink must be brought to the arena in factory-sealed, plastic bottles. Mr. Marquez used water and Pedialyte on Saturday night,” he explained. So there.
  2. Marquez used performance-enhancing drugs. Quinito Henson, columnist for the Philippine Star, recently wrote about “a disgruntled former member of Juan Manuel Marquez’ team” who “is ready to come out in public and expose the WBC lightweight champion of taking steroids to bulk up for his fight against Manny Pacquiao.” Quinito added that the “source said the ex-member was fired by Marquez, probably for cause, and is out for revenge. He supposedly sneaked into Marquez’ home and took an illegal drug from his refrigerator. The illegal drug is some kind of steroid or performance enhancer.”

For me, it’s actually quite funny that this came out because Pacquiao is no stranger to these kinds of allegations. Manny even sued Floyd Mayweather Jr. because Floyd had repeatedly hinted in the past that Pacquiao has been taking PEDs and that this is the reason why he has been able to move up in weight and still keep his speed and power.

I think this is an unfair allegation against Marquez. Like Floyd’s accusations against Pacquiao, there is no proof that Marquez took steroids.

All these excuses and allegations notwithstanding, I think we should all just be honest and admit to ourselves that Manny Pacquiao really had trouble against Juan Manuel Marquez because Marquez is a damn good boxer and he just gives Pacquiao fits. He has been a thorn in Pacquiao’s side for three fights now, and this won’t change even if both boxers meet in a fourth fight.

Hell, even Pacquiao himself admitted that Marquez gives him trouble because the Mexican is just one tough hombre.

I mean, if Pacquiao could admit that, then perhaps the rest of us should as well.

How now, Pacquiao nuthuggers?

Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Will They Ever Get to Fight Each Other?

(This piece appeared in my now defunct fight blog, Pinoy Fight Scribe, in 2011.)

by Mark Lorenzana

I think the more accurate question is this: with all the shit that has been going on, who the hell should fucking care anymore?

For the longest time, boxing fans have all been clamoring for a fight between these two guys, and for the longest time, we all had to content ourselves with conflicting reports. One day a story says a deal is close to being reached, the next day another story says initial talks have bogged down.

There was a time when Pacquiao nuthuggers were blasting Mayweather for allegedly ducking Pacquiao. Then when Mayweather demanded for an Olympic-style drug test and Pacquiao wouldn’t budge, it was the Mayweather fans’ turn to accuse Pacquiao of not wanting the fight. When Pacquiao finally relented to the stupid drug test, Mayweather didn’t want the fight anymore.

Tired yet? Oh, but all that bullshit gets worse.

Just recently, after Pacquiao struggled against Juan Manuel Marquez in their third bout, Mayweather began making noises again about wanting to fight Pacquiao. People reckoned that perhaps Mayweather saw something in the third Pacquiao-Marquez fight, a chink in the Filipino boxer’s armor that Mayweather thought he could exploit. People were actually feeling genuinely excited and hopeful that a deal would finally be reached. But—you guessed it—no talks happened, no deal was signed, nothing.

Nor would a deal happen even when Pacquiao hinted that he was amenable to getting a smaller piece of the pie just so the fight could push through.

So is anyone really surprised that even though Floyd Mayweather’s jail term has been pushed back to June just so he could fight on May 5, the fight still isn’t happening?

We actually have a rare instance here: both fighters are finally willing to fight each other. Problem is, it seems as though it’s Top Rank’s Bob Arum who doesn’t want the fight to push through. A bigger venue should be built, says Arum. Pacquiao suffered a cut in his last fight against Marquez, and said cut won’t be fully healed on May 5, adds the Top Rank head honcho.

What the fuck? Bullshit.

A fight of this magnitude doesn’t need a bigger venue. Las Vegas has lots of decent-sized ballrooms available, and even if you jack up the price of tickets, you would still get a full house. And with the closed-circuit revenue and PPV buys thrown in, everyone involved will, undoubtedly, be very, very happy money-wise. This is Pacquiao and Mayweather after all, guys who could each pull in significant ticket sales and PPV buys even if they weren’t fighting each other.

But for some strange, mind-boggling, and frustrating reason that he alone knows, Arum wants the fight to be pushed to June, but that won’t be possible because, obviously, Mayweather’s ass is going to be behind bars by that time. (Also, for some strange, mind-boggling, and frustrating reason, Arum has been shoving Miguel Cotto, Tim Bradley, and Lamont Peterson down our throats as possible opponents for Pacquiao.)

There were times when it was Mayweather who should be rightfully blamed; other times, it was Pacquiao who was at fault. After all, both those guys are boxing superstars and they both have huge egos. Now? Blame it all on Arum.

You’d think a sage promoter like Arum would be happy that the two best cash cows in the business are both willing to trade leather once and for all. You’d think Arum would be happy that a fight of this magnitude will  finally be made. You’d think Arum would be happy to make a shitload of money off this fight and that he should get off his lazy eighty-year-old ass and seize the opportunity and start negotiating with the Mayweather people right away.

Right?

Wrong.

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who has been feuding with Arum for the longest time, had a mouthful to say: “I think all the media members and fight fans, and so on, have started to get it—because some people still aren’t getting it—that Bob Arum doesn’t want that fight,” Schaefer said. “I don’t know how much more proof people need, or if they’re just drinking Top Rank’s Kool-Aid, or what it is, but it’s apparent to just about anyone by now, hopefully. Those that don’t get it yet, I think you have to wonder.”

But as always in this never-ending saga of tragic proportions, there is a glimmer of hope. According to a recent report from Ronnie Nathanielsz of the Manila Standard, Arum has shown willingness to make the fight and will try to get Las Vegas judge Melissa Saragosa to push Mayweather’s sentence further back so that the fight can be made either late May or early June.

Arum indicated he was ready to go before judge Melissa Saragosa and request that she push back the incarceration date so the fight, which the world wants to see, can take place.

The belief is that the judge, who postponed Mayweather’s incarceration from Jan. 6 to June 1 to allow him to keep his contractual obligations for a May 5 fight, is likely to grant the request.

With that piece of information, it seems that there is indeed some hope yet for the fight to push through. But after all the pile of shit we’ve been fed all this time, it’s best that us boxing fans take all this with heaping tablespoons of salt.

It sucks that instead of being able to enjoy the biggest fight that could be made in boxing right now, fans of the sweet science have to make do with a load of shit and a lot of salt.

Fuck that. We all deserve much, much better.

Ask the Fight Scribe: Stupid Answers to Nonexistent Readers’ Thoughtless Questions

(This piece appeared in my now defunct fight blog, Pinoy Fight Scribe, in 2012.)

by Mark Lorenzana

When I was a kid, I enjoyed reading my dad’s collection of Mad Magazines, and one of my favorite long-running segments of the humor magazine was the great Al Jaffee’s “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.” That, along with Gustavo Arellano’s witty and irreverent “Ask a Mexican” column in the OC Weekly as well as Drew Magary’s hilariously profane Funbag in Deadspin, is the inspiration for this blog post, which, I hope, will be the first of many here on Pinoy Fight Scribe.

I’m not claiming that this uninspired and painfully unoriginal blog segment will be witty or hilariously profane (after all, both stupid questions and thoughtless answers are—you guessed it—going to be supplied by yours truly [how fun {or pathetic} is that?]). Instead, I’d like to think of this as a drunken dare gone horribly wrong. (Come to think of it, even after more than two years of its existence, this entire blog feels like a drunken dare gone horribly wrong.)

The first installment of this auto-answer bag will focus on boxing. On to the questions (and answers):

Q: Will Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. eventually fight each other? If the fight happens, who’s your pick?

A: In all honesty, I don’t think the fight will ever happen. Here are just some of the reasons:

  1. Both guys have huge egos. Especially Mayweather.
  2. Mayweather is afraid to tarnish his undeafeated record, and Pacquiao has a very good chance of handing Floyd his first loss.
  3. It appears that Bob Arum is not too keen on making the fight happen.

They may fight, or they may never fight at all, but one thing’s for sure—a lot of boxing fans have grown tired of all the shit that has been flying from both camps. World War III won’t erupt if the fight doesn’t push through, and the fight, if it happens, won’t solve the global food crisis or bring about world peace anyway. So fuck it. Shove this damn fight up all them greedy boxing people’s filthy asses.

If the fight does, by some divine intervention, push through (late this year, for example), I’m going with Pacquiao. If the fight happens much, much later (a few years from now), I’d have to give it to Mayweather. Both fighters aren’t spring chickens anymore, and both have lost a step or two. Pacquiao is an offensive pressure fighter who relies more on his physical talents to win fights, while Mayweather is more defensive minded and tactical. In their primes, Pacquiao’s pressure will be too much for Floyd, and I’m leaning toward a Pacquiao split decision win. Past their primes, I’m leaning toward Mayweather via unanimous decision.

Q: Who is Genaro Garcia?

A: It depends on which Genaro Garcia you’re referring to. There’s Genaro “Panterita” Garcia, a Mexican lightweight boxer who sports a dismal 10-12 win-loss record and whom Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista knocked out inside two rounds early this month. Then there’s  Genaro “Poblanito” Garcia, another Mexican boxer whom Bautista was supposed to be fighting instead of Panterita. This Genaro Garcia sports a better record of 38 wins, 8 losses, with 22 of those wins coming by way of knockout.

Apparently, someone screwed up, and ALA Promotions lost money because of the switcheroo. Now ALA is suing the Mexican agent who screwed up, Hugo Correa, but the latter is denying any wrongdoing and insists that he sent the correct Genaro Garcia to the Philippines.

Anyway, Google the name “Genaro Garcia,” and you’ll find out that there’s a shitload of people around the world with the same name. With a little patience, hard work, and lots of idle time, you’re bound to come across the Genaro Garcia that you’re looking for. Good luck. You’ll need it.

Q: Will Manny Pacquiao really retire after his fight with Timothy Bradley? I don’t know who to believe anymore.

A: Just read the news on a daily basis and decide which story you want to believe in. One day a news report will say that Pacquiao is planning to retire after the Bradley fight so he can focus more on his religious duties; the next day, another news story will say that Pacquiao will fight on until 2013. Just remember, don’t let the conflicting reports get to you. You know what, I change my mind. Do not read the news at all. And avoid the sports section at all costs. Go turn on the TV and watch the Corona impeachment trial or something.

Q: Are Nonito Donaire and Brian Viloria Filipinos?

A: Of course they are. But don’t ask Arnold Clavio. Or maybe you already did, that’s why you’re confused. Else you won’t be asking this extremely stupid question. Next.

Q: Will Pacquiao be a good Bible ambassador for the Catholic church?

A: Let me answer your question with another question: has Pacquiao been a good congressman so far? Wait, come to think of it, yes, maybe he can be a good Bible ambassador. He hates contraceptives, right?

Q: What’s up with Juan Manuel Lopez? Does Orlando Salido have his number?

A: Juanma is an exciting fighter with great power and decent boxing skills. But he also has a porous defense, a suspect chin, and bad ring habits. Juanma can box, no question about that, but when he gets hit, he tends to slug it out with his opponent. That’s what happened in his first fight with Salido, that’s what happened in his second fight with Salido. He also has a problem with Salido’s overhand right, which he can’t seem to avoid hitting his face with. Juanma needs to go back to the drawing board and work on some adjustments in his game, or else he won’t be able to regain his belt.

Q: Aren’t the Klitschko brothers going to fight each other or something? It seems to me that they are holding the major heavyweight belts hostage. What do you think?

A: Of course they aren’t going to fight each other—they’re brothers. Manny Pacquiao won’t fight Bobby, Nonito Donaire won’t fight Glenn, and I won’t ever fight my younger brother inside a boxing ring. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s just wrong. About your other question, I don’t necessarily think that the Klitschkos are taking the belts hostage because they aren’t ducking anyone anyway. They take on all comers. The problem is, they don’t make heavyweights like they used to, so those opponents that get thrown the Klitschko brothers’ way all suck. So what happens is that we get all these awful heavyweight fights that are just a pain to watch. My advice to you: stick to the lower weights so you can enjoy your boxing. Or if you want to watch overweight, out-of-shape big guys trying to beat each other up in slow motion, it’s up to you. This is a free country.

Q: Why are you so damn lazy? Instead of updating this blog almost every day, you barely post four or five entries per month. You should be ashamed.

A: Blogging about boxing and MMA won’t pay my bills or put food on my table or buy me beer. A day job will, that’s why I have one. And that day job requires me to work long hours, which can be mentally taxing. I don’t have all the time and energy to update this blog every day because I need to work. And this is not work, this is a hobby, a labor of love.  So there. Unless you can afford to give me at least a thousand bucks per day so I can focus full time on updating this blog more often, I suggest you shut the fuck up.

OK, that’s it. Schizo post over. Nothing to see here anymore. Till next time, folks.

The Same Old Ricky Hatton

Pacquiao_Hatton(This piece appeared in 8CountNews on May 5, 2009)

by Mark Lorenzana

When the left hand that smashed into Ricky Hatton’s jaw finally took out the Hitman and left him in a heap, it wasn’t surprising to see the reactions of the people in the stadium – both Pacquiao and Hatton fans alike. It was a picture of awe, disbelief, and horror, all rolled into one.

Awe and disbelief, because not a lot of people expected Pacquiao to dispose of the supposedly bigger and stronger fighter in such devastating fashion, and in as early as the second round. Horror, because you had to fear for Hatton’s safety as he lay down on the canvas in the center of the ring in a semi-conscious state. I have to add that it was a good thing to see Hatton being able to walk out of the ring on his own.

What surprised me, however, are a couple of things.

First, Pacquiao’s vastly improving boxing skills. It wasn’t a stretch when Freddie Roach stated in the post-fight interview that Pacquiao’s right hand is now much better than his left. It showed in the course of the short fight, where Hatton was repeatedly tagged by right jabs and hooks. In fact, it was a cannonball right hook that knocked down the unsuspecting Hatton for the first time in the fight.

Also, who would have thought that Pacquiao could still pack one-punch knockout power in his fists despite having debuted at 106 pounds?

Pacquiao also showed that now, he isn’t a fighter who relies on offense alone. Hatton soon found out that what stood in front of him was an elusive and fleet-footed gazelle, a far cry from his previous opponents who were stationary targets and who were suckers to his brawling, mauling style and body punches. Pacquiao repeatedly bobbed and weaved, even while dishing out punches of his own. In other words, Hatton didn’t know what to do. He was overwhelmed by a multi-talented pugilist who was once thought as a one-dimensional, left-handed slugger.

Second, I would have thought that Hatton would showcase some of his new-found boxing skills under the tutelage of the self-proclaimed best trainer in the world, Floyd Mayweather Sr. But Hatton didn’t show anything new. He had no head movement, he had no lateral movement. He barreled straight into Pacquiao, hoping to land a power punch that would end the fight. In other words, it was the same old Ricky Hatton. And against Pacquiao, it was recipe for disaster.

To be the best fighter in the world, you have to leave it all in the ring. You just can’t claim that you are one of the best and leave it at that, hoping that people would gobble everything up, hook, line, and sinker.

Needless to say, Pacquiao did his job, and it was a masterful performance at that. He showed without doubt that he is the best pound-for-pound boxer today.

To be the best trainer in the world, you have to command respect. Respect will enable you to sculpt a raw talent and polish him or her into a flawless gem. Freddie Roach is one of the most respectable trainers the boxing world has ever seen, and he has helped make Pacquiao the fighting machine that he is now.

No amount of trash talking, faux poetry and fake posturing will make you the best trainer in the world. You just can’t claim that you are one of the best and leave it at that, hoping that people would gobble everything up, hook, line, and sinker.

It should be a lot more than that.

And that ain’t no joke.

Another year for Pacquiao, Silva to prove doubters wrong

Silva_Pacquiao(This piece appeared in 8CountNews on January 9, 2009)

by Mark Lorenzana

After three successful fights in as many weight classes last year (first when he eked out a split decision over Juan Manuel Marquez, second when he annihilated David Diaz to win the WBC world lightweight title, and third, his eight round drubbing of Oscar De La Hoya) Manny Pacquiao is the consensus 2008 fighter of the year among boxing writers and pundits.

Thanks to his fantastic showing, Pacquiao is in perfect position to enjoy even more lucrative fights this year. First on the list is Ricky Hatton, who has been salivating at the prospect of fighting the Filipino ever since the Pacquiao — De La Hoya fight pushed through. Should Pacquiao defeat Hatton, the most logical opponent would be Floyd Mayweather Jr. And if Pacquiao chooses to fight three times this year– win or lose against Floyd Jr. — he can have a farewell bout at the end of the year (perhaps a third fight with Marquez at Jr. Welterweight?) before hanging up his gloves.

Of course when we say fighter of the year, we should also look beyond prizefighting and take a look at the best among the practitioners of Mixed Martial Arts.

I don’t know if Anderson Silva is the consensus MMA fighter of the year, but I do know that in my book he is. The Spider showed that he is still the man to beat at middleweight when he won via submission over Dan Henderson in March. A lot of people believed that Silva’s reign as UFC Middleweight Champion would come to an end against a dangerous, skilled, and experienced fighter such as Henderson. But Silva once again proved his critics wrong.

Silva then climbed up to light heavyweight and took on James Irvin. Not a few wondered how Silva would handle the extra weight, not to mention how he would fare against a bigger opponent. Silva knocked out Irvin in 61 seconds.

However, Silva’s last fight for 2008 against Patrick Cote left a bad taste in some fans’ mouths. Instead of going for the kill early, Silva appeared to be toying with Cote. He didn’t show his usual deadly form, much to Dana White’s chagrin. The fight ended quite unfortunately when Cote blew out his knee and the referee was forced to put an end to the fight.

I attribute Silva’s less-than-stellar showing in his last outing to boredom. He has fought every possible contender in his weight class, annihilated every one of them, and he needs to step it up. Maybe Dana White should consider putting Chuck Liddell in the Octagon opposite Silva? Or how about the winner of the upcoming George St.-Pierre – BJ Penn fight? The point is, as good a fighter as Silva is, he needs to be fighting top contenders instead of tomato cans for him to be challenged. Give him an opponent who he knows could hurt him and even take him out, and Silva wouldn’t even think of toying with the other guy. I guarantee you’ll see the old Silva back in action.

In Pacquiao’s case, it has always been and will always be, proving other people wrong. Nobody gave him a shot to beat Lehlo Ledwaba, everyone thought Marco Antonio Barrera would school him in their first fight, boxing experts thought Erik Morales’s length and reach would be too much for him, and lastly, majority of the sports and boxing media thought the Dream Match was a farce and a huge mismatch.

Of course Pacquiao, as recent history has told us, cut through all of these opponents (and then some) like a hot knife through butter. Or, more appropriately, like a violent, ravaging Pacific storm through a sleepy seaside town.

Do I hear Erik Morales recently making noises about how Ricky Hatton will flatten Pacquiao? What, Pacquiao will go down in the sixth or seventh round because he will tire and lose steam?

With all due respect to Morales, a great champion and future hall-of-famer, since when did anyone of us see Pacquiao tire? Heck, the Pacman can easily give the Energizer Bunny a run for its money. Hatton, on the other hand, has had stamina problems in the past, of which, perhaps can be attributed to his hard living in between fights. Hatton is tough, a strong body puncher, and he has knockout power in both fists. But stamina is not one of his strong suits. He is a good pressure fighter for the early to middle rounds but for the rest of the fight he plods along and holds. Whether Hatton can outhustle, outwork, and finally overpower Pacquiao remains to be seen. But I dare go on the record here and say that I highly doubt it. I believe it will be the other way around.

For Pacquiao and Silva, the year 2009 will be one of the most important years of their careers. And it is not just because it is another year to earn more money through the hurt business. More importantly, another year is upon them to show to the world that they can continue to fight the best, stay on top, and prove the critics wrong.

Again.

Hatton vs. Pacquiao: A Question of Excess and Overindulgence?

Ricky Fatton(This piece appeared in 8CountNews on December 24, 2008)

by Mark Lorenzana

Barring any unexpected hitches, it seems that Ricky Hatton is the opponent that looms closest on the horizon for Manny Pacquiao.

This early, reports are coming in that Freddie Roach thinks Hatton – unlike Oscar De La Hoya – can indeed pull the trigger. Roach believes that while Hatton is beatable (as evidenced by his lone loss by knockout to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year), he has a style that can give Pacquiao fits. The Englishman is a rough and tumble pressure fighter, and he only knows one direction – forward. He bulls and bores into his opponent, utilizing clinches and holds to tire him out. And then the man known as the Hitman softens his adversary with crippling body blows before he finishes him up. Hatton also has enough knockout power in his fists to finish the fight at any moment. Out of Hatton’s 45 wins, 32 fights did not last the distance.

If Pacquiao thinks that he can take Hatton lightly, he’d better think again. Sure, he destroyed Oscar De La Hoya, but Ricky Hatton may prove to be a tougher customer. Which is why Roach wants Pacquiao to fly to Hollywood early, and he expects the Filipino to put in the usual hard work at the Wild Card for at least eight weeks.

Right now it’s safe to say that Pacquiao is still enjoying the fruits of his labors. He still has several weeks to enjoy the good life before he buckles down to work.

With this (but I could be wrong, of course), expect alarm bells to sound on how Pacquiao might enjoy his respite too much and give in to indulgence and excess.

As they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. But if there’s any effect of the purported hard-living by Pacquiao between fights, it remains to be seen. Performance-wise, Pacquiao has yet to lose since his close defeat to Erik Morales in their first fight. And with his recent destruction of De La Hoya, Pacquiao showed his deadliest form to date. Perhaps Team Pacquiao has a point when they ask the media to give the Filipino a fair shake especially when reporting about the boxer’s extra-curricular activities.

Ironically, if there’s a fighter that is also reported to give in to indulgence and excess, it’s Hatton. Christened Ricky “Fatton” for his penchant to put on the pounds when he’s not training, Hatton is known to guzzle pints and pints of his favorite brew, Guinness beer. He also enjoys fatty food, and admits that his favorite pre-fight meal is a fry-up, a full English breakfast.

A full English breakfast comprises several fried foods that include bacon, eggs, sausages, black pudding, potatoes, and beans. A sumptuous feast indeed, but you’d be hard put to find any sports nutritionist who’d be willing to prescribe this diet to any athlete, let alone a boxer. Especially one who enjoys wolfing down a fry-up prior to what may be one of the biggest fights of his career.

Of course, Hatton’s choice of food and drink is nobody’s business as long as he can make the weight come weigh-in and he can put on a good show come fight night. And Hatton has won his last two fights since his loss to Mayweather Jr.

Will Hatton cut down the chow and booze if a Pacquiao fight pushes through?

Who knows? But if Hatton loses, he’d better not blame it on the fish and chips.

Should Floyd Jr. Jump the Queue on Pacquiao Sweepstakes?

(This piece appeared in 8CountNews on December 17, 2008)

by Mark Lorenzana

Oscar De La Hoya had barely managed to lick his wounds and bruises from the thrashing he received from Manny Pacquiao when Floyd Mayweather Jr. had begun making noises regarding a comeback.

If the reports are true, then Mayweather Jr. would be lacing up his gloves again after announcing his second retirement last year. The encore retirement (certainly uncalled for, since avid and hardcore boxing fans enjoy Floyd’s virtuoso performances every time he practices the Sweet Science) came at the heels of an impressive stoppage victory over Ricky Hatton.

In this day and age, it’s no longer an exaggeration to say that immediately after Pacquiao TKO’d De La Hoya, Money Mayweather saw dollar signs dancing in front of him. Mayweather Jr. had a grand time dancing with the stars, but he would probably have a grander time dancing with Pacquiao, the new Pay-Per-View king.

Apart from Mayweather Jr., a lot of fans and boxing pundits alike are salivating at the prospect of the current pound-for-pound champion going up against the former p4p king. And on paper, it truly is a match-up worth looking forward to: Pacman’s speed, agility, and relentless pressure against the Pretty Boy’s defense, ring smarts, and superb boxing ability. Add to that master tactician Freddie Roach’s recent hint that Mayweather Jr. is a boxer who doesn’t like pressure fighters, and you have an instant recipe for a great fight.

Of course, not everyone is ecstatic about all this premature hoopla. Especially Ricky Hatton.

The Hitman, fresh from a smashing TKO victory over Paulie Malignaggi last month, told the UK Sun that he wants to fight Pacquiao next: “I’ve put the hard work in and would like to get the chance to take on Manny,”

Hatton also expressed his displeasure regarding a possible fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather Jr.

“I’m not surprised Floyd is considering a return — but I’d be disappointed if he got in ahead of me,” Hatton said.

For one, Hatton worked his ass off training for the Malignaggi fight, and he delivered. Surely he has a point being disappointed should Mayweather Jr. jump ahead of him in the queue?

In Floyd’s case, he walked away from the game for a second time, enjoyed his money and retirement, and now he wants to come back to fight and get an immediate shot at Pacquiao?

Going back to Roach’s claim that Floyd doesn’t exactly enjoy dancing with pressure fighters, he might have struck gold there. Roach named Jose Luis Castillo as one of the pressure fighters that gave Mayweather Jr. fits. But Roach could have gone further and mentioned one Antonio Margarito. Apart from Pacquiao, the Tijuana Tornado is one of the toughest pressure fighters this game has ever seen.

Margarito COULD HAVE given Mayweather Jr. a run for his money, if only they met each other in the ring.

But wait, didn’t Margarito call out Mayweather Jr. several times in the past when the Pretty Boy was still fighting?

So why didn’t tough guy Floyd accept Margarito’s challenge? Why did he retire instead?

Is Floyd Mayweather Jr. afraid of Antonio Margarito? Is he ducking him? Yes or no?

Only Mayweather Jr. can answer all these questions.

Nobody is questioning Floyd’s skills. His ring generalship, speed, and evasive techniques will be more than enough to make a competitive fight against Margarito. A fight against Margarito would definitely be a winnable one. But what is speaking loudly here, and is perhaps the biggest thing that is keeping the fight from happening is Floyd’s own assumed name, Money.

Simply put, why not fight Margarito first for the glory and Pacquiao next for the money?

Oscar De La Hoya made the mistake of choosing the supposedly “easier” fight with Pacquiao because he knew the match-up would be a bigger draw. Again, it seems Mayweather Jr. is looking at a fight with Pacquiao instead of a Margarito fight because he figures that this would be the biggest paycheck available with minimum effort.

Maybe he should watch a rerun of the Pacquiao – De La Hoya fight and re-evaluate the meaning of “minimum effort”?

In the meantime, to be fair to all concerned – especially to Ricky Hatton – maybe it is better and wiser for Mayweather Jr. to wait in line along with the growing number of fighters who are scrambling to win the Pacquiao sweepstakes and get a crack at the Filipino firebrand.

After all, Manny Pacquiao the current pound-for-pound champion has earned the right to choose whoever he wants to fight next.

Irrespective of glory, money, or both.