After catching a replay of the Guzman-Soto fight, I can't say as though I'm much in disagreement with BLH's Matt Miller, so I'll just let his comments sum it up for me:
The second half was not quite as exciting but I didn't think it became the stinker Arum and Rafael portrayed. What it was was classic Floyd Mayweather Sr. trained fighting. In fact, there was a strong resemblance between Guzman and Mayweather Jr's style in this fight, and it's not something I had noticed before in Guzman--the shoulder defense, the lightning fast (though not devastatingly powerful) jabs, the excellent use of real estate in the ring. I was very impressed with Guzman as a whole and feel he could give anyone trouble at this weight.
Guzman was simply in a different league than Soto, and while I didn't enjoy his showboating toward the end, the fight continued to be fairly entertaining, and in some ways moreso as Soto grew increasingly desperate.
Personally, I would love to see Guzman fight Pacquiao, but Arum isn't going to let it happen. I thought Arum was playing damage control with his comments, pre-emptively dismissing what a lot of hardcore fans would enjoy for purely financial reasons. That's what promoters do, I suppose, but I felt his assessment of the fight was biased, and Rafael just seemed to parrot it. I was disappointed with Rafael's description of the fight, and if I were Guzman, I would be pretty pissed at him.
The comments Matt referred to were Arum saying that he doesn't want to match Pacquiao with Guzman simply because he wants Pacquiao to be able to 350,000 buys for a PPV bout, and doesn't expect that Guzman would do 150,000.
To think Pacquiao-Guzman wouldn't do 150,000 is absurd. Also, Arum not long ago matched Pacquiao with Jorge Solis, a fighter far less notable and credible than Guzman.
Pacquiao-Guzman won't happen because Guzman's style is all wrong for Manny. Many of us have long believed that, including Dan Rafael. He's fast, slick, and very intelligent. He seems like the type of guy that could prey on Pacquiao's aggression.
As for Manny, we'll know this week who he'll be fighting on March 15. Pacquiao and his wife will be in the States to shoot a Nike commercial in Portland, Ore., and then will head to Bobby Pacquiao's fight on Friday. On Thursday night, he plans to eat Thanksgiving dinner with Arum, and the two will come to a final decision.
Prior to Guzman-Soto, the winner of that bout was in the running, along with Juan Manuel Marquez and 135-pound titleholder David Diaz. Since Guzman won, forget it. It's either Marquez or Diaz.
As much as I'd love to see Pacquiao-Marquez II, I can at least say that I would look forward to Pacquiao-Diaz. I gave David Diaz a bum rap before his fight with Morales. He's still a joke titleholder in that he never really won much of anything, but he's a tough, no-nonsense fighter that brings action. His fight with Morales was much better and more exciting than a Morales fight at this point had any business being, in many respects. Erik gave a great effort, and Diaz was with him every step of the way.
There's also some legitimate talk that we could see a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Oscar de la Hoya in the fall, which Larry Merchant brought up to Bob Arum, who really took to the idea. It's not quite as absurd as it sounds on the surface, as it would likely be at a catchweight of 144 pounds or so, and I wouldn't expect Pacquiao to top 140. I also don't think Pacquiao would have any real hope of winning -- Oscar's just too big and strong for him. But it would be a gigantic event, particularly if they staged it in the Philippines.
Rafael also had a note on ESPN.com this week from Arum that discussed Miguel Cotto's future. If he can't score that May 3 fight with Oscar, Arum will have Cotto fighting in March, with Antonio Margarito again on the undercard. Cotto would likely be facing Joshua Clottey, who is set to face Shamone Alvarez. If Cotto and Margarito came out of that night as winners, they would square off in June on pay-per-view.
In other Saturday night action, Zab Judah won his one-off fight at junior middleweight, beating Ryan Davis (20-7-2) via 12-round unanimous decision. Needless to say, pushing 12 rounds with Ryan Davis is nothing for a Judah supporter to get excited about. On the undercard, Rayonta Whitfield and the Peterson brothers, Anthony and Lamont, all remained undefeated with knockout victories.
In Germany, Alexander Dimitrenko improved to 27-0 with his 17th knockout, TKOing veteran Timo Hoffmann in the 12th frame. Vladimir Virchis improved to 24-1 with a fifth round KO of Robert Hawkins. It was Virchis' 20th knockout.