Thursday, August 5, 2010

Give me Manny Pacquiao-Juan M. Marquez III

• As long as there isn't going to be a Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight in the fall, I'd much rather see Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III than Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito, the fight Top Rank is planning for Nov. 13.

Marquez wants it and deserves the opportunity. The fans deserve it, too.

They've already fought two great fights, for the featherweight championship and the junior lightweight championship. Marquez got a raw deal, going 0-1-1. I was ringside for both fights and I had Marquez winning close both times. I certainly wasn't alone. More importantly, they were outstanding fights. Even though Pacquiao has the official edge, you can't help but look at them and think they have unfinished business.

If they did fight again, I believe it would do big business. I think the pay-per-view would come awfully close to a million buys, if not exceed the magic number. The Margarito fight won't come close to 1 million. Maybe it will do in the 700,000 range that Pacquiao pulled for his March fight with Joshua Clottey, but not much more.

Speaking of Pacquiao-Margarito, does anyone have a clue where it will take place? Top Rank is all over the map because of Margarito's licensing issues. He is supposed to be on the agenda for the California State Athletic Commission meeting later this month, but that's a dog and pony show. He most likely won't be licensed there, although Margarito is at least following Nevada's request to at least ask California for a license. Margarito probably won't fight Pacquiao in Las Vegas, either, unless the pace of this mess really picks up. Time is already running short to get everything set for a major promotion for a November fight.

Top Rank's Bob Arum loves talking about the exotic locale of Abu Dhabi for the fight, but the time difference and distance would make it a hard sell for a pay-per-view dependent on American consumers and media. Even Arum is skeptical it will really wind up there, as evidenced by this quote he gave me last week when talking about the proposal: "It's a lot of money. I'm embarrassed by how much it is, but if it's real, I'm ready to ride there on my camel."

I think I'd rather spend PPV money to watch Arum ride a camel than to see Pacquiao-Margarito.

Arum also has mentioned Atlantic City, N.J., and I am told officials from Washington state sent Top Rank a letter saying they would license Margarito immediately if he asked.

And, of course, there is always Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where Arum did Pacquiao-Clottey. He and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hit it off, and Jones would love another Pacquiao fight in his building; the March fight drew more than 50,000. As much as I am no fan of Pacquiao-Margarito, it probably would draw even more based on Margarito fighting in a major Hispanic market. Still, wherever the fight goes in the U.S., Margarito faces licensing issues.

'Round and 'round it goes, where Pacquiao-Margarito will land, nobody knows.

• If Mayweather would just man up and fight Pacquiao already, he would have nothing to worry about if he lost. Leonard Ellerbe would simply put out a statement denying the fight ever took place.

• I read how Mayweather Promotions, which was renting office space in Las Vegas for $10,800 a month on a three-year lease, got evicted and the landlord is suing Mayweather and his company for $62,000 in back rent. I suppose Ellerbe will deny the property was ever rented and Richard Schaefer will challenge the landlord to take a lie detector test.

• I heard Pacquiao-Margarito will be sponsored by Cheatos.

• News alert: Paul Williams is no longer the most feared fighter in the world (as his promoter, Dan Goossen, likes to espouse), because Sergio Martinez is ready, willing and able to give him a shot at the middleweight championship. It's a rematch of a great fight (a close Williams decision), and HBO is dangling $3 million to the promoters to make the match. Martinez and his promoter, Lou DiBella, will make the deal. It's the Williams side, with its demand for more than 50-50, that is holding it up. Feared Williams is not. Fearful his camp might be.

• Saw David Haye while I was in Las Vegas at the Marquez-Juan Diaz rematch. He ducked me.

• A giant thumbs down to HBO for ignoring Dmitry Pirog after he drilled Daniel Jacobs to steal the PPV show Saturday night. Instead of interviewing the new middleweight titlist, who happened to have an excellent interpreter with him, HBO interviewed Jacobs on the telecast moments after he had been knocked out. Interviewing Jacobs is fine, but not if you're going to talk to only one guy. If you're going to do that, you talk to the winner. Bad call.

• For the record, Paul, one of the contractors working to repair recent water damage to the floor in my finished basement and a boxing fan, told me he wants to see Pacquiao-Mayweather and won't buy another one of their fights unless they are fighting each other.

• The scuttlebutt from the Top Rank offices is that one match it's thinking about is junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto against Vanes Martirosyan in another in-house fight. I'm a huge Cotto fan. I like Martirosyan's potential. But that fight does absolutely nothing for me at this point, especially when there are other way more interesting fights for Cotto, such as against Alfredo "Perro" Angulo or Andre Berto. Frankly, I'd be surprised (and disappointed) if HBO bought Cotto-Martirosyan.

• Here's how dominant heavyweight champion brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, the clear top dogs, are: The next two guys in the rankings, titlist Haye and Alexander Povetkin, simply do not want to fight them. Haye, despite calling them out relentlessly, has turned down multiple legitimate offers. Povetkin sat on his mandatory status for two years before bailing on a Sept. 11 fight with Wladimir and passing up a career-high purse of more than $2 million because his trainer, Teddy Atlas, came out publicly and said he wasn't ready. Have you ever heard of fighters passing up lucrative title shots that are there for the taking? It's unreal.

• I got a news release the other day touting that lightweight Hank Lundy, who got drilled by John Molina a couple of weeks ago on "Friday Night Fights," was a promotional free agent. A couple of hours later I got another news release, this one from promoter Jimmy Burchfield, saying that, no, Lundy was still under contract. My reaction: Who cares either way?

• For those who endorse the IBO as an alternative to woeful big four sanctioning bodies, all you have to know is that it sanctioned Danny Green-Paul Briggs debacle for its cruiserweight title. That makes it peas in a pod with the others.

• Since Golden Boy's Sept. 18 HBO PPV card is pretty weak, I have a proposal to spice it up at least slightly: The loser of the junior welterweight undercard bout between "Vicious" Victor Ortiz and "Vicious" Vivian Harris can no longer use the nickname. Besides, the way each has fought in recent bouts, neither has looked all that vicious anyway.


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