Speaking with Michael Woods of ESPN New York, trainer Freddie Roach says he believes that Manny Pacquiao will push to face Floyd Mayweather Jr in his next fight, and that the mega-fight that boxing fans desire isn't quite off the table just yet.
"For me, Mayweather is the number one choice to fight next. I'm trying to get hold of Manny, to get his feelings on it." ... Roach told me that he is confident that Arum, who he said is superior at what he does, will deliver the fight that Pacquiao desires. "And I think that's the Mayweather fight," Roach said.
Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KO) won a debated majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night, and is taking further blows in the media since then, most of which is not directly his doing. Pacquiao hasn't really said anything yet -- after the fight on HBO, he said he'd fight Floyd ("Let's get it on"), but it didn't convince anyone due to the timing and the fact that Manny didn't appear to want to answer any questions. He left the post-fight press conference after just two questions, something that Todd duBoef of Top Rank laid tried to pin on himself.
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Mayweather (42-0, 26 KO) last fought on September 17, of course, knocking out Victor Ortiz in four rounds. Neither fighter left their most recent bouts without some controversy swirling, but the chatter definitely was not the same in the two cases. It seemed that Mayweather was quickly accepted as being perhaps unsportsmanlike, but legal and, to some, justified, while Pacquiao's decision win over Marquez has been attacked from all angles, fair or otherwise.
Floyd has announced that he will return on May 5 at the MGM Grand, and I want to say something here: The excuse that that means Mayweather is "dictating terms" like some kind of jerk is bogus. There's no way that the fight isn't at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, unless someone does something really crazy. The MGM Grand is the home to the biggest boxing events in America, the fights that make the most money. If you filled Cowboys Stadium, you wouldn't make the money that can be made in Vegas on Mayweather vs Pacquiao, which would almost sure sell all 17,000 or so seats in the arena, for ridiculous ticket prices.
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Arum knows that. Everyone involved knows that. Mayweather isn't going to fight in Texas, and would have totally legitimate reasons to doubt the commission and its officials, to be honest. And Manny has stated a preference to fight in Nevada in the past as well. The two fights Pacquiao did at Cowboys Stadium last year under-performed compared to expectations, and had either of them been held in Las Vegas, would have made a good amount more money than they did even with less paying customers.
It's a Vegas fight. It will be a Vegas fight. And May 5 is a perfect date. There's always a big fight on that weekend, and no, it doesn't have to involve a Mexican fighter. Pacquiao vs Hatton was on that weekend, as was Mayweather vs Mosley, as was Pacquiao vs Mosley. All did good business.
There's some light peaking through the clouds with this fight, I think. This frankly may be as serious or close as any actual negotiations have ever made the fight. Don't expect it, but don't write it off just yet. There's life still in Mayweather vs Pacquiao.