Boxing

Say no to possible alternatives for Pacquiao

by Paul Strauss: Apparently Freddie Roach and Bob Arum are seriously considering Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto as grade "A" alternatives for Manny Pacquiao in the event the fight with Pretty Boy can't be made. Anyway, that's what Arum, in particular, would like us to believe, but don't swallow his morsel of tattle. Neither fighter is a good fit at this time, and to try and pass it off as so is mere piffle. First of all, Margarito doesn't deserve the opportunity. Prior to the Mosley fight and the handwrap scandal, many of us were enthusiastic loyal fans of Margarito.. He was admired for what appeared to be his incredible heart and determination. but fans have since had a revelation. Margarito refuses to admit any wrong doing and remains unrepentent. He has done nothing to earn his way back into the good graces of the boxing world. It's as if Antonio and Arum are practicing a Confucianism by hoping fans will quit remembering, and therefore the attempted wrong will become nothing. Well, you remember. There's no need to rehash what transpired that night or during the commission hearings. Regardless, Antonio would be a sitting duck for the fast, accurrate and hard punches of the Pacman. It would be exciting for a while, but still be a slaughter.

Also, there's got to be a better candidate out there than Cotto. Cotto is a great fighter, very likeable and a gentleman. He deserves everything he can get, but does anyone really think he will do any better the second time around against Pacquiao? That's phedinkus.....nonsense! His win over Yuri Foreman shouldn't have convinced anyone that he would. Although Miguel looked good, he was in there against a courageous, but light punching one legged fighter. There was no real danger of repercussions, and that fight should in no way give anyone a false hope that Miguel would fare any better the second time around with Manny. In their first fight, some were impressed that Cotto landed some good shots, and indeed he did. He certainly was dangerous in the early rounds. However, now that Freddie and Manny know first hand what Miguel can and cannot do, bet on the second time around being be much easier.

There are some out there who risk being described as "alone altogether" (sic). They suggest that Manny should (to use a jewish phrase attributed to Mel Blanc) say to Floyd, "Ish mir im tuchis" and then retire. Sure the selfish caterwauling would be harsh and noisey. But, it might teach Money to stop with the redumbdancy. For the rest of us, in the long run it would simply be a botheration or source of unhappiness. We would get over it.

Many look at Manny as the panacea for boxing. It's believed he can cure all of its ills and problems. Sure it's true that someone like him comes along once in a blue moon, but great fighters do keep coming along. Who would have thought boxing would survive without Dempsey? Then Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson came along. Another era ended with the Brown Bomber's destruction at the hands of Marciano. Then the Rock retired and left a void, but that was soon filled by The Greatest. Boxing enthusiasts thought there would be a total collapse (because he told us so) when his time was over, but we had Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, Tyson, Holyfield and Lennox Lewis and many more. The truth is Shakespeare was right when he said "What is past is prologue". Boxing fans find that hard to believe. They want to be optimistic, but they tend to see the past better than it was, and the unknown prevents them from envisioning any future success in the sport. Well, rest assured there's a new Paladin out there, and he is probably in the gym right now.

There are some pretty good possibilities we already know about. Consider the winner of the Timothy Bradley and Luis Abregu fight. They're two newer faces and undefeated. Abregu has good size, and a good punch. Bradley is a tough, determined fighter, who has shown considerable skill in garnering wins over some pretty good names. He beat Junior Witter, Edner Cherry, and got off the canvas after getting nailed by a beautiful Kendall Holt left hook. In the Lamont Peterson fight, Timothy boxed beautifully, and most fans think that he would have beaten Nate Campbell if an accidental head butt didn't result in a NC stoppage.

Amir Khan and Devon Alexander are also interesting newer faces. A Khan vs Pacman fight would be a tough one to make, since Freddie Roach trains both. Devon Alexander would be a better choice for now, as he too is undefeated and is just coming off that great knockout win over Juan Urango. He has an August meeting with Audriy Kostelnik, but he should come out victorious in that one. One other undefeated exciting fighter is of course Andre Berto. If it wasn't for the unfortunate events that transpired in Haiti, he might have been the guy to beat Mosley? Andre was impressive in his win over Carlos Quintana. You will remember Carlos was good enough to come away with a win over Paul Williams, which remains as the only blemish on The Punisher's record. To borrow a Ron Borges description, there are no "game quitters" in this group.

Sergio Martinez and Paul Williams should be avoided. Just the thought of Manny being matched up with either makes one queasy. You can hear the metalic sounding voice over the PA system repeating the warning.......danger, danger, danger! Oh sure, Manny might be able to beat either one, but the risk is too great. Manny would be sacrificing too much height and reach, without gaining much in the area of speed. Martinez' size (5'11"), speed and skill would be too much for even the Pacman. Williams is less skilled and much more hittable, but his tremendous size advantage (81" reach), toughness and volume punching might be enough to beat down even the Pacman.

Why should Manny risk fighting any of these guys? If Mayweather wants to continue to play the idolit outside of the ring, let him. Most of us knew the blood doping issue was subterfuge for the real issue. Everybody knew that once it was resolved, something else would surface. In this case, Grantland Rice's little poem describes it perfectly. In fact, it could be Floyd's theme song, "Money to the left of them, and money to the right, money everywhere they turn from morning to night, only two things count at all from mountain to sea, part of it's percentage and the rest guarantee".

Would any of these new faces be better candidates than Margarito or Cotto? Probably not, but they would at least be new faces, and not ones marred by previous loss or past transgressions. What has Manny got to prove anyway? Nothing! He's P4P, fighter of the year, and fighter of the decade. He can't do much better than that. Oh sure fans want the Mayweather fight, and if it happens, great! Then, after Manny shuts Mayweather's yap, he definitely should retire. There will always be another prospect or so called deserving fighter on the horizon, but Manny should avoid falling prey to outside pressures. He should choose the high road and pursue his other interests......i.e. his religious faith, music, the movies and helping his people. Hell, who knows, maybe Mayweather will surprise everyone and be first to retire (again). He might want to pursue other worthwhile endeavors as well. Maybe he can model blinge blinge, or be a spokeman for the hip hop and rap industry, or better yet be a greeter at one of the Vegas Casinos. I've got it......he and Roger and Floyd, Sr. can start a new reality tv show called, "You don't know shit!"

Here's what Bob Arum should do instead of pushing Margarito or Cotto against Manny. He recently mentioned Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. as a possible opponent for Miguel Cotto. Why not follow through with that one? It would be a good fight for both and bring in large numbers of fans, especially Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. There would be a lot of potential locations in addition to the Dallas Cowboys Stadium too. If Chavez was able to manage a big upset win over Cotto, it would propel him into title contention. For Miguel, he would be facing much less of a threat, but still be in there against a famous name (son of Chavez, Sr.) who has excellent drawing power. For Miguel, there would be much less danger of getting stopped (or beat up), and he could demosntrate to Chavez, Jr. what a really good left hook to the body truly looks (and feels) like.

As far as Margarilto is concerned, let him fight in Mexico, where apparently he has a little more creditablity.

Article posted on 02.07.2010



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