NEW YORK — Eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao will challenge WBO welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley on April 12th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Top Rank announced on Saturday. Pacquiao-Bradley will be a rematch of the controversial 2012 fight that Bradley won in a highly disputed decision.
Posts Tagged ‘Manny Pacquiao’
NEW YORK — Former unified junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan — the leading candidate to face Floyd Mayweather next May — sat down with SI.com on Wednesday to discuss Mayweather, his pairing with Virgil Hunter and the criticism that his weak chin will prevent him from ever becoming an elite fighter again
SI.com: So, you are fighting Floyd Mayweather…
Amir Khan: That’s your first question, huh?
SI.com: Well why beat around the bush?
AK: Well it’s a fight I’d love to have. That’s what I’m supposed to say, right? Floyd is the best fighter out there and you would love to see how you fight against the best. I’m not going to shy away from that fight. Styles make fights and I know for a fact that I will do better than most of the guys that he has fought. I’ll beat him. My speed and movement will give Floyd problems. I’m not taking any time off. I know that’s a fight that will change my life. That’s why I’m so focused on winning it.
SI.com: What about the argument that you have not earned the fight?
AK: Well who else out there can give Floyd problems? No one. Danny Garcia? Floyd has fought many opponents like him. I have a style that has given him problems before. I’m an orthodox fighter who is quicker than him and faster than him. And if Floyd wants to be a global superstar, he has to fight me. It will make him popular in the UK and the Asia area.
With promoter Bob Arum announcing that Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring in April, let’s look at some of the potential opponents.
Floyd Mayweather – Even if the issues of network, financial split and drug testing could be worked out — and hitting the lottery three straight days is more likely than that — Mayweather and Pacquiao would still find reasons not to fight. These two are just destined to dance around each other. Moreover, making Mayweather-Pacquiao now — as I’ve noted on Twitter — would irritate as many fans as it pleased. It still would do big business, but it would be a fraction of the ridiculous numbers it would have done in 2010, when Mayweather and Pacquiao were at the top of the sport. Not that it matters. After a month or so of public sabre rattling, both sides will do what they always do. Move on. Probability of it happening: Very low.
Juan Manuel Marquez — If a Mayweather bout doesn’t happen, this is the fight Pacquiao’s team wants. Freddie Roach has noted on numerous occasions that before he was stopped, Pacquiao was boxing beautifully and likely would have stopped a battered Marquez in the later rounds. The future of this fight depends on Marquez, who at 40 and coming off a loss to Tim Bradley, may not be interested. But for those claiming Pacquiao-Marquez fatigue, remember this: Every round of their first four fights was entertaining, and a fifth installment — perhaps in Mexico – would virtually guarantee more than one million pay-per-view buys. Probability of it happening: High.
Tim Bradley — Despite losing a controversial decision to Bradley last year, Pacquiao has little interest in a rematch. Perhaps it’s because most observers thought Pacquiao won a lopsided decision; perhaps it’s because the first fight was far from a financial success. Bradley has had a strong year, beating Ruslan Provodnikov in an entertaining slugfest and outpointing Marquez to bolster his résumé. And his willingness to trade haymakers with Provodnikov could make Bradley even more appealing. Still, it’s likely one or two opponents will have to fall out before Bradley gets a shot. Probability of it happening: Somewhat High.
Ruslan Provodnikov — After two fights this year, Provodnikov has established himself as a must-see attraction. Unheralded before his matchup with Bradley, Provodnikov rebounded from a close loss in that bout to pound Mike Alvarado and win a piece of the 140-pound title. An old-school slugger, Provodnikov has the ability to wear down any opponent who stands in front of him. Still, that Provodnikov is a stablemate of Pacquiao’s – both men are trained by Freddie Roach — could prove an obstacle to any deal. And HBO may want to build Provodnikov up even further in fights with Rios, Bradley or Marquez, whom Provodnikov has campaigned for a fight against on Twitter. Probability of it happening: Medium.
Miguel Cotto — In 2009, in one of his finest performances, Pacquiao stopped Cotto in 12 rounds. Since then Cotto has moved up to junior middleweight and established himself as one of the best in the division. A rematch is certainly possible, but Cotto has shown little interest in dropping below 154 anymore and Pacquiao prefers to fight at 147. In addition, Cotto is now trained by Roach, who has publicly stated that it is unlikely the two will fight again. Probability of it happening: Low.
Sergio Martinez – OK, so it’s not likely. But say Miguel Cotto elects to face Saul Alvarez next. And say Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. loses his rematch with Bryan Vera. And say Martinez, who at 38 is a big-purse hunter, was willing to drop to 155 pounds. Could a chance to win a middleweight title appeal to Pacquiao? Probably not. Then again, we never thought Pacquiao would get in the ring with Oscar De La Hoya, either. Probability of it happening: Very Low. — CHRIS MANNIX
Three thoughts on Manny Pacquiao’s lopsided unanimous decision win over Brandon Rios for the WBO international welterweight title in Macau:
Pacquiao is back. In the aftermath of a horrifying knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last December, questions about whether Pacquaio would be the same fighter lingered. But while Pacquiao is not the same human wrecking ball he was through 2009, he proved against Rios that, at 34, he still has plenty left. Boxing brilliantly, Pacquiao moved in, out and around Rios, peppering him with combinations, bruising his face with thudding power shots. It was an easy fight to score — evidenced by the 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110 scorecards — with little controversy.
Rios was selected for this fight for a reason: He’s a tough guy with a television-friendly style who is easy to hit. Pacquiao needed a confidence-rebuilding fight, and he got it against Rios, who, save for a handful of decent punches, was never able to mount much of a threat. The punch stats backed that up: Per CompuBox, Pacquiao landed 281 of 790 (36 percent) while Rios connected on 138 of 502 (27 percent)
Thanks for coming, Brandon. Few expected Rios to beat Pacquiao. But Rios’ unwillingness to go for broke, to chase a knockout when it was clear he was way down late in the fight was disappointing. Rios and his team talked tough before the fight but did little to back it up. He never adjusted to Pacquiao’s speed, and despite his insistence that he wasn’t bothered by Pacquiao’s power, refused to stand and trade shots with him. For a $4 million payday, Rios left little doubt that he is not in Pacquiao’s class, and probably never will be.
Moving on. Let’s get this out of the way right now: A Floyd Mayweather fight isn’t happening. Money and politics scuttled any chance of that fight long ago. Moreover, making that fight right now, after years of frustrating excuses from both sides, would be insulting. Pacquiao has clearly lost a step, clearly isn’t the same fighter who emerged as the best in the world from 2008 to 2010. It would do nothing to settle the dispute of who is the best fighter in this generation.
For Pacquiao (55-5-2), a fifth fight against Marquez is a likely option. Marquez has not committed to continuing his career following a loss to Timothy Bradley, but another career-high payday against Pacquiao would be a nice carrot to lure him back to the ring. For all the talk about Pacquiao-Marquez fatigue, the two have rarely fought a dull round, much less fight, and it guarantees more than one million pay-per-view buys. Putting the fight in Mexico could create a little more spice to matchup.
Rios (31-2) has plenty of options, too. A third fight against Mike Alvarado is inevitable and a matchup against the rugged Ruslan Provodnikov would be a can’t-miss. Expect him to get a softer touch in his next fight to rebuild his confidence after back-to-back losses, then get right back in the ring for a high profile matchup.
– Chris Mannix
After a lay-off of 11 months, Manny Pacquiao got back in the ring Saturday in Macau, where he won a unanimous decision over American Brandon Rios and captured the WBO international welterweight title.
The judges scored the bout 120-108, 119-109, 118-110 for Pacquiao, who moved deftly while scoring well-executed combinations in winning round after round. Rios found few opportunities to unleash the power that gave rise to his nickname, Bam Bam.
“Manny Pacquiao is very fast. He’s fast, very awkward. His speed got me a little bit,” Rios said in a ring interview after the fight.
The victory snaps a two-bout losing streak for Pacquiao, who had not stepped in a ring since being knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez. Pacquiao has won 10 world titles in eight different weight classes and improved his career mark to 55-5-2 with the win over Rios.
After the fight, Pacquiao indicated reports that he was considering retirement were premature, telling the crowd, “My time is not over.”
A scuffle broke out between Manny Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, and members of Brandon Rios’s team at a workout in Macau, China on Tuesday. During the expletive-filled confrontation, Alex Ariza, Pacquiao’s former strength coach who has clashed with Roach in the past, kicked Roach in the chest and can be heard on video mocking the symptoms of Roach’s Parkinson’s disease.
Tensions boiled over around 11 am, when Roach arrived at the gym to prepare for Pacquiao’s workout. Rios and his team–including Ariza and trainer Robert Garcia–were finishing up. Roach approached Rios’s team aggressively and ordered them out of the gym. Garcia said his team was delayed by interviews and said “I ain’t going nowhere.” Roach and Ariza then started getting into it. Roach cursed at Ariza. Ariza began purposefully slurring his speech. When Roach moved towards Ariza, Ariza responded by kicking Roach in the chest.
If you are familiar with the boxing industry, the following sentence will sound strange: Ross Greenburg is working for Showtime.
Greenburg, of course, was the President of HBO Sports from 2000 to 2011 — and an executive producer at the network for nearly two decades before that — before being forced out in the summer of 2011. With Showtime, Greenburg will produce a one-hour documentary that will air on CBS chronicling the last year in the life of Floyd Mayweather, including his time in prison. In addition, Greenburg will work on Showtime’s All Access reality show, a carbon copy of the the 24/7 series Greenburg created at HBO in 2007, that will air in the weeks leading up to Mayweather’s fight against Robert Guerrero on May 4th.
“This has always been in my blood,” Greenburg told SI.com. “I have always been a producer at heart. I love telling stories. It’s refreshing. There are not a lot of headaches. I didn’t have to put out too many fires. I really enjoyed the people I work with.”
Since leaving HBO, Greenburg has worked closely with NBC, producing documentaries on Earl Campbell (which was nominated for a Sports Emmy), the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union, the 1952 U.S. Open and the 1991 Ryder Cup. Greenburg also worked on Costas Tonight on NBC Sports Network — including Mayweather’s appearance on the show last year — and consulted for the NHL, Discovery Channel and Under Armour.
Now, Greenburg is back in boxing, working with the archrival of the network that he had a big hand in turning into a powerhouse.
“I guess I feel like [Kevin] Youkilis and [Johnny] Damon going into the [Yankees] locker room,” Greenburg said. “I’m just interested in helping [Showtime Executive Vice President] Stephen [Espinoza] as much as I can. It’s been very easy for me. They have welcomed me like family. It’s like Jeter putting arm around Youkilis. I’m back doing what I want to do. I have to take care of my family. I’ll always remember and cherish the glorious past. I had a wonderful 33 years [at HBO].”
It’s been comfortable for Greenburg to work with Mayweather, who he maintained a close relationship with during his time with HBO. And despite the fact that since Mayweather became a star on 24/7 in 2007 his story has been told repeatedly, Greenburg believes the events of the last year have left a rich tale to tell.
“There is the evolving relationship between Floyd, Roger [Mayweather] and Floyd Sr.,” Greenburg said. “Floyd himself spent 62 days in solitary. It changed his whole point of view on life. We spent the last three or four days with Floyd in the gym. Floyd and Roger are both there. Floyd Sr. is very involved. It’s an interesting evolution of that relationship. Floyd and his father are very close. The time he spent in prison did change him.”
Greenburg wouldn’t say if his relationship with Showtime could last beyond this fight (“We’ll see,” Greenburg said) but said he had no regrets about his time at HBO.
“No, not at all,” Greenburg said. “I did my job. The HBO sports department is something I will always remember. I think we built a hell of a franchise and a brand. The boxing program when I left it was as strong as it ever was. I have no regrets whatsoever. I took a lot of criticism, most of it unwarranted, but that is OK. I’m a big boy. I’ll pick myself back up. I have so many great memories. All fond memories.”
Well, almost all. Greenburg admits he still wishes he could have made the mega fight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
“It’s funny, there weren’t that many times that I couldn’t make a fight,” Greenburg said. “I tried twice and got very close. To this day, I’m not going to put the blame on anyone because I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t happen. But I think boxing can recover. It didn’t happen, and it was not meant to be. It’s unfortunate because it probably would have been an epic buildup, even though I’m not sure it would have been a good fight. I know Floyd has moved on. He continues to be asked about Pacquiao and his attitude is much like mine, that if it was meant to be, fine. He believes his third act, over the next couple of years, is going to be special.”
– Chris Mannix
Three thoughts on Timothy Bradley’s wildly entertaining win over Ruslan Provodnikov:
Who saw this coming?
Bradley, the defending champion who has spent his career competing against top competition, was a heavy favorite coming in against Provodnikov, a 140-pounder best known for being Manny Pacquiao’s sparring partner. But from the opening bell, it was clear this was no mismatch. Both Provodnikov and Bradley came out aggressive, but while Bradley landed the higher volume of punches, Provodnikov’s carried more steam behind them. Provodnikov had Bradley rocked multiple times in the first two rounds, including a shot in the first that appeared to knock Bradley down, to the point where he stumbled twice just trying to get up. Referee Pat Russell ruled it a slip, and Bradley recovered to control the action until the 12th round, when an aggressive Provodnikov swarmed him with power punches and put him down with less than 20 seconds to go. The final scores (114-113, twice, and 115-12) were right, given that judges are handcuffed by what the referee calls. But if Russell had ruled a first-round knockdown, the fight would have been scored a draw.
• Speculation has been rampant in the boxing industry that Manny Pacquiao could return to the ring in April, possibly in a fight in Singapore, Macau or Abu Dhabi. Yet I’m told that there is no sense of urgency to rush Pacquiao back into the ring.
Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, told SI.com recently that he prefers that Pacquiao — who was brutally knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez last month — stay out of the ring until September. Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank, isn’t pushing to make the fight, partly because getting a $10-million site fee secured in the next two months would not be easy, and partly because Top Rank, like Roach, doesn’t see any need to rush back in the ring, not with another $30 million payday coming Pacquiao’s way in a potential fifth fight with Marquez. Most of the talk of a comeback fight is coming from Pacquiao’s business advisor, Michael Koncz, who will need the full support of Top Rank to make the fight happen. And right now, he doesn’t have it.
• Last week, Main Events announced that heavyweight prospect Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov would headline an NBC Sports Network Fight Night show against undefeated Malik Scott on February 23. Now there has been some backlash to the choice of Scott. Despite good size (6-foot-3) and an unblemished record, Scott is rarely, if ever, in an entertaining fight, preferring to jab his way to lopsided wins on the outside against inferior opposition. It’s how his career has gone and, at 32, it’s likely how his career is going to be.
Certainly Scott wasn’t the promoters’ first choice. Main Events thought it had a deal with heavy-handed heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov before he backed out. They it turned to Joe Hanks, Jason Estrada, Travis Kauffman, David Rodriguez, Justin Jones and Franklin Lawrence. Each turned the offer down.
There is plenty of upside for Glazkov (14-0). Beating Scott (35-0) would be a nice feather in his cap. The fear though is that Scott, as he has done his whole career, will use his length, box on the outside and win a boring, unwatchable decision. And for Main Events, which has made Fight Night a success largely by putting together exciting fights, that would be a disaster.
• Shane Mosley, whose skills have deteriorated significantly in recent years and who retired following a lopsided decision defeat to Saul Alvarez last May, is coming out of retirement to challenge welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi at the Barclays Center in April. Putting aside that Mosley, 41, whose declining motor skills have been noticeable to reporters who have interviewed him the last few years, has reached the point where just fighting is especially dangerous, there is almost no way that can be an entertaining fight.
• British promoter Frank Warren announced a terrific card to be held March 16 at Wembley Stadium in London. Headlining will be lightweight titleholder Ricky Burns, who will attempt to unify the 135-pound titles against fellow titleholder Miguel Vazquez. In addition, light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly will defend his belt against mandatory challenger Robin Krasniqi, super middleweight prospect George Groves will face Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye, and Dereck Chisora, who has not fought since being knocked out by David Haye last summer, will face an undetermined opponent.
Chisora’s participation in the show is contingent on him being relicensed by the British Boxing Board of Control, which suspended Chisora’s license indefinitely after he provoked an ugly brawl with Haye last year.
The card will be televised in the U.S. on Epix and EpixHD.com.
• Heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek will likely have to deal with charges stemming from an arrest for driving under the influence in upstate New York last week, but physically Adamek emerged from the three-car wreck unscathed. Adamek reportedly crashed his car into a parked vehicle, which was pushed into another parked car, while driving late Saturday night near Lake Placid, N.Y.
Adamek is hoping to face Kubrat Pulev later this year in a fight that will determine the next mandatory challenger for Wladimir Klitschko.
“Fortunately, he’s fine,” said Adamek’s promoter, Kathy Duva, in an email. “This will not affect his next fight.”
• Undefeated heavyweight Denis Boytsov, who is recovering from elbow surgery, has resumed training again. I’ll care when the oft-injured Boytsov starts fighting again.
• Lightweight Adrien Broner’s impressive stoppage of Antonio DeMarco last November has many clamoring to see him in more big fights, including some at junior welterweight, one of the deepest divisions in boxing. However Broner, 23, has no plans to move up in weight anytime soon.
“That’s what everybody wants you to do,” Broner said. “They have just seen me dominate and put on a great performance… but I just moved up to this weight [135 pounds]. I still make the weight [by] eating steak and potatoes every night at training camp. I make the weight comfortably, so I’m going to stay here for a lot of good fights that I still can have at 135-pounds. So, I’m going to flush out this lightweight division and then we can go up to the light welterweight and crush their dreams. We’re going to stay here for a while.”
• An interesting fight under discussion for the spring: Steve Cunningham, the former cruiserweight titleholder coming off a controversial loss to Tomasz Adamek last month, against Tyson Fury, the big (6-foot-8) heavyweight prospect who has been looking for name opponents.
Some quick jabs …
• Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said no decisions have been made regarding opponents for Floyd Mayweather and Saul Alvarez in May. While Robert Guerrero continues to be a leading candidate to face Mayweather, Schaefer indicated that Austin Trout, who is coming off an upset win over Miguel Cotto in December, isn’t a likely candidate for Alvarez.
“[Trout] is one of the names being considered,” Schaefer said. “But at this point, I don’t think it will happen.”
• The shoulder injury that will sideline Andre Ward for at least the next few months could turn out to be a blessing for Kelly Pavlik. Pavlik, of course, was scheduled to face Ward later this month. Few people in the industry — myself included — gave Pavlik little more than a puncher’s chance against Ward, a physically stronger and more skilled fighter who has been campaigning at 168-pounds for most of his career. With Ward out, Pavlik has plenty of options in the super middleweight division. A fight with Lucian Bute has been dangled and a long-awaited matchup with Arthur Abraham could be a possibility. One name I’ve heard linked with Pavlik: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who could still be contemplating a move up to 168-pounds.
• So Mariusz Wach says he has lost his passion for boxing. I would too if I took the beating Wladimir Klitschko gave him.
• Heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev’s promoter, Chris Meyer of Sauerland Event, told me on Monday that he will begin negotiations with Main Events CEO Kathy Duva this week about a matchup between Pulev and Tomasz Adamek this year. Pulev-Adamek would be an IBF eliminator, with the winner guaranteed a shot at IBF titleholder Wladimir Klitschko. Meyer said he hoped to have a tentative plan settled in the next 10-14 days.
• Credit junior middleweight Gabriel Rosado for refusing to fight middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin at a catchweight of 158-pounds. I like Golovkin to win that fight but Rosado — who has never backed up from anyone — will make Golovkin fight. Could be an early candidate for Fight of the Year.
• NBC reported that the ratings for its December 22nd card headlined by Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham averaged 1.6 million viewers (a 1.2 rating), peaking at 3.2 million viewers (2.2 rating). On the heels of a successful show on CBS a week earlier, I think it’s safe to say boxing will be back on network TV. Soon.
• Count me among those concerned about Manny Pacquiao after his devastating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last month. But I don’t think doctors who have never examined him — like Filipino neurologist Dr. Rustico Jimenez, who last week said he saw early signs of Parkinson’s disease in Pacquiao — have any right to go public with that kind of accusation. That’s staggeringly irresponsible.
- Chris Mannix