Montero’s Boxing Notebook: p4p King – Pretty Boy or Pacman?

24.11.06 - By Michael Montero: For months now (check out my articles from July and September) I’ve been claiming that Manny Pacquiao is indeed the true pound for pound king of boxing. After his dominant performance last Saturday over Erik Morales, a first ballot hall-of-famer, there should be little doubt in anybody’s mind – even the “Pretty Boys” should recognize.

The Pretty Boys swear up and down that Fraud Mayweather has the best technique/skills in the game today and holds an undefeated record; thus he should be seen as the best professional fighter on the planet. While I agree that May-runner is the most talented boxer alive, I certainly don’t believe that fact alone earns him #1 pound for pound status. And who cares if he’s undefeated? Nicolai Valuev hasn’t lost a fight yet and nobody’s calling him an all-time great. There are other factors that come into play – things such as activity, level of opposition, heart, excitement, etc. Where does the current welterweight champ rank in those categories? How does he compare to Pacquiao? Let’s have a look (I promise to make this as easy as possible for all the Pretty Boys out there).

Activity - Pacquiao
Over the past four years (2003-2006) FM has fought eight times, MP ten. Easy enough, right?

Level of Opposition – Pacquiao
Do I really need to break this one down? Over the same time span noted above (2003-2006) FM’s best opponents were DeMarcus Corley and Zab Judah, both coming off loses. His most notable opponent was a past his prime, starved at 140 pounds, Arturo Gatti. His latest fight against Carlos Baldomir was one of the biggest PPV mismatches (scams) ever. During that same time, MP knocked out Marco Antonio Barrera (and nobody knocks out MAB), controversially drew with Juan Manuel Marquez in his very next fight, and fought Erik Morales three times (with successful “stay busy” fights in between all three). Before 2003 you could give FM a slight edge in quality of opposition with his wins over Genaro Hernandez, Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo – but since then he’s fought not a single pound for pound player, while MP has fought three future hall-of-famers. MP’s record against the three Mexican warriors is 3-1-1, with 10 knock downs and 3 knock outs.

Heart – Pacquiao
I shouldn’t really have to explain this one either, but the Pretty Boys are so damn stubborn! Every time FM faces adversity, he becomes a sprinter. When he fought Jose Luis Castillo (who should hold a victory over Fraud) he ran all night; the rematch was more of the same. In his most recent fight against Baldomir he hurt his hand and ran all night. He ran so much that the crowd booed, so much that Tiger Woods and Charles Barkley left early, so much that Larry Merchant questioned his legitimacy as a major boxing draw. There have been numerous fights in FM’s career that were just plain boring to watch, period. Can we have a boring pound for pound king who can’t do more than half a million PPV buys for the legitimate welterweight championship of the world? On the other hand, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen MP back up in a fight. Need an example? See Pacquiao-Morales I. The Filipino warrior was badly cut early in the fight and although it clearly affected him – he never backed down. Anybody who’s seen one of Manny’s fights knows the man has big time heart, no question.

Excitement – Pacquiao
HAHAHA!!! I’m not even going to waste my time on this one.

Bigger Draw – Pacquiao
Case and point – FM’s latest poo-poo-view for the welterweight title did about 325 buys, with no more than 9,000 people in the stands. Pacquiao-Morales III easily surpassed that number of buys, while over 18,000 people were packed into the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas to see the final chapter of their epic trilogy. Why do you ask? Because people know that they are going to get their money’s worth with the Pacman.

Momentum – Pacquiao
With his post fight rant against Larry Merchant and his tear-filled whining at the post fight presser after the Baldomir bout, FM didn’t exactly help his status/image with the fans. It was clear that the media critics and booing fans finally got to Floyd, and he was hurt by it all. The truth is that he had the power to silence the critics all along, to turn the boos into cheers, to earn some of the respect he’s been whining and crying for. Had he stood toe to toe with the rugged Argentine and stopped him, at least the fans would have had some excitement. Sure, he still got the big fight with Oscar De La Hoya (tentatively scheduled for next May), but he lost most of his negotiating pull with his lackluster performance against Baldomir. Oscar’s latest PPV event (against Ricardo Mayorga) did just under a million buys, roughly three times what FM’s latest did. Expect ODLH to demand nothing less the three times FM’s purse in their upcoming bout. MP on the other hand is an international powerhouse that continues to grow. He’s already the most popular figure in the Philippines and one of the most notable athletes in all of Asia, but he’s now seen here in the US as the premiere “little guy” in the sport. Not to mention, the boys at HBO love him…

Shall I go on? Or does everybody finally get it? I can get into marketability, international appeal, attitude, likeability, and I can keep going from there. Bottom line is that Manny Pacquiao is the best pound for pound fighter in the sport, hands down. Fraud is the most talented boxer for sure, but he’s also the best at shoving his foot in his mouth and crying about it later. If Floyd wasn’t constantly proclaiming himself to be the best fighter that’s ever lived (LOL) he wouldn’t be held up to such high standards. If he didn’t put down and berate his opponents, often calling them “C+” fighters, perhaps we’d give him more credit for beating them. If he wasn’t always snapping at reporters who challenge him, like Brian Kenny of ESPN or Larry Merchant of HBO for example, perhaps the media would be a little fairer to him. Reporters tend not to like hearing the same “you don’t know nothing about boxing” rant over and over.

I know this is hard for all you Pretty Boys out there to comprehend, but you can’t call yourself the best fighter who’s ever lived and then decision Carlos Baldomir. Not when there’s still unfinished business at 140, not when there’s Antonio Margarito and other real challenges at 147. You can’t say “it’s about the legacy” when you duck Margarito and fight Baldomir (for the title), then turn around and say “it’s about the business” as you again duck Margarito to fight De La Hoya (for the cash). Which is it Fraud? Manny Pacquiao just took care of both (legacy and business) by not only dominating at future hall of famer, but earning $3+ million for the lucrative third bout (which is A LOT for a little guy from foreign soil). And you know something? I’ve never heard the Pacman complain that he “wasn’t getting his props” and I’ve certainly never seen him go off on a reporter that’s just doing his job. He’s not calling himself the best fighter living today, let alone the best ever. Lastly, I’ve never heard Pacman say “Why should I fight him? He’s not on my level, he’s nobody” – like everybody’s favorite little fraud likes to say about Antonio Margarito.

Ten Additional Random Rants

1). How many times will Dan Goosen, Don King, Jose Sulaiman and the WBC bail James Toney out? How long will it take people to realize that he is not the guy who’s going to take over the heavyweight division? He was allowed to bypass Oleg Maskeav to get a mandatory match with then paper champ Hasim Rahman, only to receive a gift draw in a fight he deserved to lose; then he gets an eliminator fight against Peter and loses. Now I happened to believe the Toney actually won that bout, but it was hardly the worst decision I’ve ever seen. Now he gets yet another chance in a mandatory rematch with Peter? Look, he couldn’t beat Rahman, who was KO’d by Maskeav - and he couldn’t beat Peter, who lost 10 of 12 rounds to the real heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko. When are people going to get it? Come January, I predict we will see a clearer victory for Peter, perhaps by stoppage, and then hopefully people may finally wake up. Toney was truly great under 200 pounds, but not much better than average at heavyweight.

2). What should Sergei Liakhovich’s horrible performance against Shannon Briggs teach us? You cannot judge a fighter based on a single fight! After his fight with Brewster, many were calling the White Wolf the best heavyweight in the world – the one guy who could beat Klitschko – but no more. Funny how quickly things change eh? I saw some technical problems in his fight with Brewster, and expected to see some improvements against Briggs – but there were none. The strength and conditioning was still poor, his low hands and lazy body punching were visible, and it seemed as though he was intimidated by his opponent. Briggs was W-I-D-E open for a straight right hand, and I only saw Liakhovich throw that punch once. I still think Sergei is a top heavyweight, but he needs work. Perhaps he should discover these things called weights, and maybe try to lose the bitch tits. If he improves his technique and strength/conditioning he will be right back in the mix.

3). Calvin Brock fought with a lot of heart against the best heavyweight in the world a couple weeks back. There’s absolutely no shame in losing to the best, and Brock should hold his head high. This was his first fight against an elite heavyweight, and for four rounds he befuddled Klitschko and was actually winning the fight on my scorecard (three rounds to one). Chris Byrd (who was ranked number one when he fought Klitschko) couldn’t do that in his April fight with the new IBF title holder – that says something about Brock. The fact that Calvin even got up from that right hand he ate in the seventh says a lot too. In this boxing lover’s eyes, he legitimized his status as the top American heavyweight of the future in his first loss. I would currently give him even odds with the other title holders.

The Boxing Banker does everything pretty well (especially defense); he just needs some polishing on his overall fundamentals. Of course, he should probably get a nutritionalist and a strength and conditioning coach as well. He needs work, granted, but he has a solid foundation (including a nice amateur background) and should be a title holder in the not so distant future. Mark my words folks; the banker turned boxer from Charlotte, North Carolina is for real.

4). What ever happened to O’Neil Bell? The guy had a great victory in January to unify the Cruiserweight division and then he disappears. Now he’s signed on to participate in the “Super Fighter” tournament (if it ever even comes off), scheduled for next year. I wish him the best of luck, but I had really hoped he’d ride the momentum he had the beginning of the year and set a precedent in the Cruiserweight division, which I think will be a very important division in boxing’s future. He’s already been stripped of his IBF belt (damn I hate sanctioning organizations!) and he’s in danger of losing his other belts if he doesn’t do something soon.

5). A bout between Joe Calzaghe and Peter Manfredo Jr. has been confirmed for March 3rd of next year in Wales – say it ain’t so Joe! While I understand the logistics of this fight given Manfredo’s “Contender” fame, I don’t want to see him fight anybody in the world that isn’t named Mikkel Kessler, Jermain Taylor or Winky Wright. If he beats Manfredo this coming spring (which he should), he will need to immediately sign on to face one of the three fighters mentioned above by the end of the year; or he’ll lose all credibility.

6). With Emmanuel Steward in his corner, this version of Wladimir is better than ever; and with no other dominant heavyweight rising up the ranks anytime soon, this will soon be the era of Doctor Steelhammer. His resume can not be rivaled by any other current heavyweight, period. The 1996 Super Heavyweight Gold Medalist with an outstanding amateur record has wins over numerous contenders/former titlists, and is now beginning to master the teachings of the best trainer in boxing, Emmanuel Steward. Now a two time World Champion (former WBO and current IBF/IBO) with the backing of boxing powerhouse HBO; his goal of unification is a realistic possibility. Besides unification, he needs one other thing to define this as his era – a rivalry. Should Lamon Brewster make a comeback and scoop up one of the belts again (I’d easily favor him over Briggs right now for the WBO belt that was once his), a Klitschko-Brewster II fight would become the biggest heavyweight match in some time. Or could Samuel Peter become his rival? A possible scenario: Peter beats Toney again (which I expect), becomes Oleg maskeav’s mandatory and beats him for the WBC belt, then rematches Klitschko to avenge his only loss. Who wouldn’t want to see this WBC/IBF/IBO unification grudge match?

Should these two things happen (unification and a rivalry) and Wladimir succeeds, this would certainly become his era. I believe we’ll see a unification fight between him and another titlist sometime in 2007; and he will then be on his way.

7) Willie Pep, one of the best fighters pound for pound EVER, died on Thanksgiving at the age of 84 at a nursing home in Connecticut. On top of being the best featherweight ever, Pep was also boxing’s greatest all-time defensive wizard; once winning a round without throwing a single punch. Born Guglielmo Papaleo, he was one of the best in a long line of outstanding and memorable Italian-American fighters; compiling an incredible professional record of 230-11-1 (65 Kos) over 26 years. What he did in the ring was immortal, and he will be remembered forever. May he rest in peace.

8) If your brave effort against Manny Pacquiao on the 18th was your last fight, I just wanted to thank you, as a fan of this great sport, for everything Erik Morales. You gave it 100% every single time you fought, you were a warrior, and you will be sincerely missed. Your trilogies with Marco Antonio Barrera and the Pacman were classics – I’ve watched those fights a million times (often to the dismay of my girlfriends) and I still find myself at the edge of my seat each and every time I watch. Once again, thank you Mr. Morales, you were one of the great ones.

9). Is Floyd Mayweather really undefeated? I’ve watched the April 20th, 2002 bout between Mayweather and Jose Luis Castillo numerous times and the closest I can score it is seven rounds to five for Castillo. FM easily dominated the first two rounds of the fight, and did enough to earn the third. In the forth JLC started to pressure FM, who started to back up and punch on the run. I felt JLC eeked out rounds four and five by being the aggressor and landing the more significant shots. Rounds six through nine clearly belonged to Castillo, except in the eighth when he was penalized a point hitting on the break by referee Vic Draculich, forcing an even frame. I feel Mayweather won the tenth, but he had a point deducted for using his elbow, forcing another even round. Castillo clearly won the eleventh, and did enough to earn the final round.

I originally scored the fight 115-11 for Castillo, but could accept a closer score, even a draw of 113-113 – but the actual judge’s scores were insane. Both John Keane (England) and Jerry Roth (Nevada, USA) scored it 115-11 for the Pretty Boy; and somehow Anek Hongtongkam (Thailand) also judged in favor of Mayweather with a score of 116-111! Harold Lederman of HBO scored the fight exactly as I did, 115-111 for Castillo. All of the announcers, including the great George Foreman, scored the fight in favor of Castillo. The audience must have agreed with them because they angrily booed the decision. If you never saw the fight; I invite you to visit websites like “youtube” to search for it and see for yourselves. If you’re the type that needs some hard core evidence to really tell you the story – just check out the punch stats:

Total Punches: Castillo 203-506 (40%) – Mayweather 157-448 (35%)
Power Shots: Castillo 173-377 (46%) – Mayweather 66-151 (44%)

PUNCH STATS DON’T LIE!!! Any questions?

10) I’ve had a lot of fun in this article at Floyd Mayweather’s expense; as well as his dedicated fans that I playfully call the “Pretty Boys”. Let me set the record straight – I think Floyd is an exceptional boxer, one of the best in the world. His skills are incredible, and his work ethic in the gym is top of the line. I certainly do admire him as a boxer; I just can’t justify that he is pound for pound the best fighter of our time, or all-time, with his current record. The great thing is that he does have the potential to be the best of his era and one of the all-time greats – he still has time. A few key fights at 140 and 147 and he could truly become the “greatest fighter since Ali” – as Bob Arum once quoted. A victory over De La Hoya would be a step in the right direction, but there are still names like Hatton and Margarito that need to be added to his resume. Only time will tell; and it’s all up to Mr. Mayweather.

Comments, questions, hate mail – you know what to do. I plan on posting a mailbag with the reader’s best questions/comments very soon so bring ‘em on. I want to hear from you…


Article posted on 25.11.2006

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