Pacquiao’s possible fights this Year of the Dragon

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BOXER Manny Pacquiao (right) of the Philippines, hits Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez during a WBO welterweight title fight Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, in Las Vegas. (AP)
BOXER Manny Pacquiao (right) of the Philippines, hits Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez during a WBO welterweight title fight Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, in Las Vegas. (AP)

By Eddie G. Alinea

MANILA, Philippines (3 Jan 2012)  – Two days from today on Friday (Saturday in Manila), undefeated American World Boxing Council welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. starts his 90-day jail term handed down by a Las Vegas Justice of the Peac Judge Melissa Saragosa following his plea of guilt on a lesser domestic violence charge filed by his ex-wife in 2010.

Meaning, he will be living behind bars until no earlier than March in the process killing all the hopes of seeing him face Filipino belt holder of the World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) 147-pound division planned to be staged May 5 in Las Vegas.

But while the 42-0 win-loss record owner would be in complete hiatus in that stretch of time, and perhaps the whole of 2012 should decisions on his other cases are promulgated, Pacquiao, the eight-division belt owner would be as busy as in the past decade vowing to continue his campaign both atop the ring besides performing his responsibilities as a lawmaker representing the Province of Sarangani in the Halls of Congress.

“Yes, Manny will be as busy fighting even without Mayweather,” this, Pacquiao’s American trainer Freddie Roach declared. “The Mayweather fight can wait, but we can’t wait for him.”

“We’re going to fight in May or in June,” Roach vowed in a telephone interview with this writer. “We don’t know yet the exact date, but for sure, our first fight in 2012 will in the spring as a tradition the past several years. The regular scheduled second bout could be held as usual in November.”

“If Floyd is available and is willing to accept the challenge, then we’ll go for him because not only has Manny already reiterated his willingness to face him but, as we already know, that’s the fight the entire boxing world has been craving for for many years now,” the Boston-born five-time ‘trainer of the year’ awardee said.

Roach would not name though who he wants his ward fight next, except to say that at least four name are being mentioned -– world lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez, whom the RING MAGAZINE pound-for-pound best had disposed off via a majority decision last November 12, another former victim Miguel Cotto, world junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley and Lamont Peterson.

Roach denied earlier reports that he prefers Peterson to be the Pacman’s initial opponent for the year than the other three simply saying that anyone could prove a good tuneup just in case the much-awaited mega Pacquiao-Mayweather confrontation turns a reality.

In terms of public interst and financial benefits, Marquez, as Top Rank’s Bob Arum personal choice, could be it. The Filipino and the Mexican “Dinamita” have fought in trilogy but the outcome, although in favor of Pacquiao, 2-0-1, win-loss-draw, have not been decisive as to who between them is the better boxer.

Roach agreed that Cotto, whom the Filipino ring hero, who turned 33 last December 17, knocked out in the 12th round to wrest the WBO 147-pound crown in 2009, would be another good choice.

The Briton is coming from an impressive victory over Antonio Margarito to bounce back from that annihilation and getting revenge for the first loss of his career back in 2008.

Bradley came into the equation as a likely candidate when he was signed by Top Rank last year after emerging triumphant over Jose Casamayor in the undercard of the Pacquiao-Marquez III.

Like Peterson, who surprisingly beat another Rolach protégé Amir Khan to make it in the list, Bradley is not yet a big pay-per-view draw and, therefore, cannot be considered as a possible a bankable opponent.

Pacquiao was also vocal in having interest to fight Marquez for the fourth time, but, the Mexican’s numerous demands can prove the hindrance to make this possible.

Besides asking for a bigger share of the purse than their third meeting, he, likewise, demands that the bout be held elsewhere than Las Vegas.

Believing, again, that he won the third confrontation, Marquez wants Chapter IV of protracted confrontation staged in Mexico, his hometown, or Texas.

Roach, of course, would not want that to happen saying, in an earlier interview that Marquez has no right to demand as he is not yet the champion. Or something to that effect. (PNA)

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