Some quick jabs…
• While some have called for Manny Pacquiao to retire following his brutal sixth-round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last Saturday — most notably his wife, Jinkee, and mother, Dionisia — don’t expect Pacquiao to walk away. I spoke with several fighters this week, including former stablemate Amir Khan and Filipino-American Nonito Donaire, who don’t believe they saw signs of a fighter in serious decline. No, Pacquiao is no longer the dominant fighter who tore a path through the 140- and 147-divisions for the last four years. But he is still a top-10 pound-for-pound guy who can beat most in his weight class and be competitive against all. So look for Pacquiao-Marquez V sometime next year, and if Pacquiao wins, expect a sixth installment of this historic rivalry, too.
• Any future meetings between Pacquiao and Marquez need random blood and urine testing. Both Pacquiao and Marquez have fought under suspicion of performance-enhancing drug use, with Marquez’s chiseled frame being credited to admitted PED peddler Angel Heredia the latest reason to raise questions. USADA or VADA testing isn’t perfect, but it’s significantly better than Nevada — or any state, really — which only does urine tests.
• Reports persist that the rematch between Seth Mitchell and Johnathan Banks will likely be Feb. 16, likely on HBO. But Banks’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, told SI.com that while Golden Boy had exercised the rematch clause for Mitchell, there was nothing official to report, other than Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer insisting that HBO will buy it.
• Please, Golden Boy: Don’t subject us to Bernard Hopkins-Nathan Cleverly. Hopkins-Tavoris Cloud is a much better fight.
• Here’s hoping Bryant Jennings gets a shot at a bigger fight in 2013. Lost amid the bedlam of Saturday in Marquez’s win over Pacquiao was the performance of Jennings, who knocked out Bowie Tupou on Saturday night on NBC Sports Network. It was Jennings’s fifth win of 2012. Jennings is supremely athletic, and against Tupou showed an ability to get off the deck — a third-round knockdown which, while not officially scored a knockdown, certainly was. He finished strong, dropping Tupou with a vicious uppercut in the fifth round. Jennings has been chasing 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Deontay Wilder; that’s not a bad undercard fight for HBO or Showtime to pick up.
• Nice gesture by Golden Boy, which is offering a special before Saturday’s card headlined by Amir Khan and Carlos Molina in Los Angeles. The company will be sponsoring a toy drive and, in order to help get fans into the holiday spirit, will give two tickets to the Khan-Molina fight to anyone who donates an unwrapped, unopened toy with a value of $20 or more (two tickets per toy, per person while supplies last). Fans in Southern California can donate toys on Thursday in the lobby of the Golden Boy building, 626 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles.
• Here’s hoping Ricky Burns — whose Dec. 15 fight was scrubbed after Jose Ocampo withdrew — goes directly into a showdown with Adrien Broner early next year. That’s a tremendous fight, maybe the best in the 135-pound division.
• Got to say, hip hop mogul 50 Cent brought a palpable presence to fight week in Las Vegas. Fifty will need plenty of help learning the promotion business, but if he keeps aligning himself with Top Rank, he is going to bring an added dimension to major shows.
• Top Rank’s show headlined by Pacquiao and Marquez sold 15,403 tickets for a live gate of $10.88 million. According to the Nevada State Athletic commission, 908 tickets were given away and no tickets – none — were unsold.
• On this week’s SI Boxing Podcast: Former junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan and super bantamweight titleholder Nonito Donaire drop by. Check it out on SI.com on Friday.
– Chris Mannix