It's been said before, but now it's being said again. Over at FanHouse, Bernard Hopkins is calling out Manny Pacquiao for having never fought a top black (by which he means a black American) fighter.
"Listen, this ain't a racial thing, but then again, maybe it is. But the style that is embedded in most of us black fighters, that style could be a problem to any other style of fighting."
Michael Koncz offered some thoughts about how fighters have to prove they have drawing power to get a fight with Manny Pacquiao, which could be read as a reason he hasn't fought Andre Berto or, but we all know that's nonsense. Joshua Clottey has zero drawing power and Pacquiao fought him. Why? Clottey works for Top Rank, and thus Top Rank controlled the paydays and everyone at the firm was happy.
Bob Arum, though, says that he's got some challenges for Pacquiao's next fight in mind, and lo and behold, they're all black American fighters:
"[T]here's no argument there that he has not fought a top African American fighter. But the notion that he would not fight an African American fighter is ridiculous. ... A fight with Shane Mosley would answer that situation. And maybe the winner of Devon Alexander and Tim Bradley would answer that. Andre Berto might be a consideration, also, yes."
As much as I like Shane Mosley, no, fighting the 39-year-old Mosley does not answer the question of when Pacquiao's going to fight a fast, in-prime black fighter. Berto's a better fight now. So is the Bradley-Alexander winner. Mosley is damaged goods and didn't just look bad against Mayweather, which just about everyone does, but looked really bad against Sergio Mora, too. Mora isn't easy to look good against, but it wasn't a case of looking bad against Mora, but just plain looking bad. Still Mosley, even exhausted, did keep trying to land big shots in that fight. Maybe the all-action style of Pacquiao would help him find his youth again. Probably not, but maybe. He's come back from being "washed up" before.
Still, the other guys are more in line with the idea Hopkins is talking about. But it goes back to following. Mosley has more than the other fighters. Tim Bradley and Andre Berto struggle to sell tickets at home. Alexander can sell in St. Louis, but does he "travel well"?
Paul Williams is not likely. Arum calls him "just too big," and considering he's about nine inches taller than Manny, it's hard to argue. Williams hasn't made 147 pounds since 2008 and there's no reason to really assume he can, other than his team says he can, but teams say lots of things.
For now, it looks like Shane Mosley is first in line.