MANNY: MAYWEATHER DODGING BIGGEST FIGHT
[PHOTO AT LEFT - Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao takes a break from training to greet Lakers star Ron Artest, at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Los Angeles. AP]
LOS ANGELES, OCTOBER 31, 2009 (STAR) Manny Pacquiao believes the biggest potential fight in boxing will never happen because Floyd Mayweather Jr. wants no part of him.
Pacquiao is training in Hollywood for his meeting with Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas, but the pound-for-pound champion spared a moment on Thursday to evaluate his chances of fighting Mayweather, the unbeaten pay-per-view king. Although the matchup almost certainly would be a financial bonanza for both fighters, Pacquiao thinks fans shouldn’t hold their breath.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” Pacquiao said. “I’m sure he doesn’t want to fight.”
Mayweather has been circumspect about his plans for his next bout, saying only that he has never ducked anybody and would consider any opponent. In his comeback bout from a 21-month layoff, Mayweather demolished Juan Manuel Marquez on Sept. 19 in a fight that generated more than 1 million pay-per-view buys.
Mayweather’s advisers claim they haven’t ruled out a bout with Pacquiao, likely among the world’s few fighters who could match the American’s speed. But the Filipino champion has surprisingly strong opinions about why it won’t happen.
“Boxing for him is like a business,” Pacquiao said. “He doesn’t care about the people around him watching. He doesn’t care if the fight is boring, as long as the fight is finished and he gets (plenty of) money. ... I want people to be happy. You have a big responsibility as a boxer.”
If Mayweather and Pacquiao don’t make a deal, Sugar Shane Mosley has been outspoken in his desire to fight Mayweather, even calling him out in the ring moments after his victory over Marquez. Mosley is slated to meet welterweight champion Andre Berto in Las Vegas in January.
After arriving in California last Saturday, Pacquiao has been ramping up his training regimen this week while also battling jet lag that forced him to sleep for about 20 hours on Wednesday, wiping out a day of training. Because of tax issues, Pacquiao’s camp began in Manila and moved to Hollywood later than trainer Freddie Roach usually prefers.
“I’m not worried about it, because he’s always known how to block everything out,” Roach said. “If anybody can do it, he can.”
Pacquiao looked fairly sharp while sparring 11 rounds on Thursday at Roach’s Wild Card Gym in front of a small group of spectators including Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest and his father, Ron Sr., both avid boxing fans and Pacquiao admirers.
Pacquiao will spar 12 rounds on Saturday before gradually scaling back in preparation for his trip to Las Vegas to meet Cotto, the once-beaten welterweight champion whose combination of size and strength will be unlike anything the former flyweight champion has faced. Cotto is in camp in Tampa, Florida before traveling to the West Coast next week.
“I consider this one of the hardest fights in my boxing career,” Pacquiao said. (AP)
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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