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Pacquiao must fight Mosley-Mayweather winner next

13
Mar

ARLINGTON, Texas — Manny Pacquiao’s welterweight title defense against Joshua Clottey lived up to its billing as an event — drawing the third biggest crowd to an indoor stadium in the U.S. — but it didn’t deliver much of a fight to the 50,994 fans who packed Cowboys Stadium on Saturday.

Fans watching the pay-per-view broadcast were probably under-whelmed by Pacquiao’s dominant performance even though the pound-for-pound king shutout a bona fide welterweight contender on one scorecard and held him to one round on the other two.

It’s obvious that Pacquiao’s on such a level that fights with good, solid fighters like Clottey will not produce compelling fights.

For a real event — one that would dwarf Saturday’s — and one that would deliver a compelling fight, Pacquiao’s next fight must be against the winner of the Shane Mosley-Floyd Mayweather Jr. welterweight showdown on May 1.

If we want to see the best of a future first-ballot hall of famer he needs to be in the ring with a fellow future hall of famer.

Put two great — or arguably great — fighters in the ring and fans usually get a great fight. It worked with Sugar Ray Robinson and Carmen Basilio, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, and Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns. My guess is the formula would work for Pacquiao versus Mayweather or Mosley.

Pacquaio says he’s willing to do it, for the fans, of course.

“I want that fight,” Pacquiao said when asked about Mayweather during his post-fight interview. “I know I have the fans support and I love them for it, but it’s up to him. I’m ready to fight anytime. If Mosley wins, maybe I’ll fight him. Floyd’s style is not difficult.”

Many fans and members of the media would beg to differ with Pacquiao’s assumption. Many fans and members of the media agree with it.

That’s why a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would be the biggest boxing event in ages. The fight would definitely be more interesting than what fans got on Saturday.

A Pacquiao-Mosley showdown wouldn’t be as high-profile as a Mayweather event but it would probably deliver the most dramatic slugfest between elite fighters since Leonard-Hearns I.

One of these fights must happen before the end of 2010.

The excusable reason Pacquiao versus Mayweather or Mosley doesn’t happen this year is if the aspiring politician wins his congressional seat in the Philippines on May 20 and decides to retire from boxing.

However, Pacquiao and his trainer, Freddie Roach, have repeatedly told the media that he could probably do both jobs should he win the election, at least for a little while. Long enough to make the fight that would cement his legacy.

The more likely reason Pacquiao versus the Mosley-Mayweather winner will fail to materialize this year is boxing politics, or more to the point, the clashing egos of the fighters’ promoters.

It’s no secret that the Top Rank-Golden Boy Promotions feud is back in full swing following the fallout of the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout earlier this year.

Bob Arum, president of Top Rank and Pacquiao’s promoter, will probably say that Pacquiao doesn’t need Mayweather, whose demand for Olympic-style drug testing was the key sticking point that dashed the proposed superfight. The 78-year-old hall of famer will point to the fact that Pacquiao was able to draw 50,000-plus against a fighter that only hardcore fans recognized.

Arum will say his star fighter can draw even bigger crowds, make for even bigger events against Antonio Margarito or Edwin Valero, two potential Pacquiao opponents that he promotes.

Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, which represents both Mayweather and Mosley, will probably say the pay-per-view numbers of the May 1 event — which is expected to far exceed those of Pacquiao-Clottey — will determine who the real star is.

Schaefer has boldly predicted that Mosley-Mayweather will break the all-time pay-per-view record and do close to 3 million buys. If it does half those numbers he can tell Arum to stuff it and predict that a Mosley-Mayweather rematch will break the record.

Both promoters are right to an extent, but both will be very wrong if they don’t deliver the fight the public demands.

Boxing can be a major sport as the people at Cowboys Stadium and the early interest in Mosley-Mayweather prove, but it won’t happen if its power brokers don’t listen to the fans.

Fans want big events that produce great fights. Pacquiao versus Mayweather or Mosley will give them what they want. Nothing else will deliver.

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