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Bernstein Defends Manny Pacquiao Against Teddy Atlas

By Chris Robinson

On November 12th Manny Pacquiao will defend his WBO welterweight crown against former foe Juan Manuel Marquez inside of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is a bit of a weird time for Pacquiao, who has seen a huge fight with Floyd Mayweather elude him yet still shown the willingness to fight on as he reaches the twilight of his career.
 
Pacquiao is expected to defeat Marquez, whom he has drawn with and defeated via hotly-contested split-decision a little over three years ago, but heading into 2012 his future is unclear. While there are some respectable names floating around between 140 and 147 pounds, nobody stands out, aside from Floyd Jr., as being the top of opponent to further enhance his legacy at this point.

During a recent conversation with Showtime analyst Al Bernstein, I discussed the current dilemma facing Pacquiao and what his best options are moving forward. Always one to speak without bias, Bernstein had much to say and also spoke on a number of intertwining story lines related to the Filipino star's life.
 
In his own words, this is what Bernstein had to say about Pacquiao-Marquez III, the crop of young fighters hovering around Pacquiao, his rebuttal to ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas who recently questioned the recent level of competition Pacquiao has been facing, and much more...
 
A sense of closure with Pacquiao-Marquez III...
"Obviously their first two fights were very difficult for Pacquiao. They were a while ago and they were at different weights but they were both fights you could arguably make the case that Pacquiao lost. They were certainly close. I think this fight represents some type of closure. It's probably a little later than people would have liked to see it but I think it does represent closure and could create another, very excellent boxing trilogy."
 
Pacquiao's victory over Shane Mosley...
"Obviously it wasn't as exciting as we would have liked. I think that was for two reasons; one, Mosley felt Pacquiao's power early and admitted as much after the fight and fought a very defensive fight, one in which he didn't want to get knocked out. And then the second factor I think was the leg spasms that Pacquiao had, made him just a smidge less effective attacking. Obviously Pacquiao won the fight by a large margin and he had very big moments in the fight but it just didn't create the kind of two-way action that we would have liked." 
 
Pacquiao's dilemma...
"Here's the problem. The issue is, of course Pacquiao would like to fight Mayweather and I think everyone would like to see him fight Mayweather. I lay the lack of that happening on Mayweather's doorstep, not Pacquiao's. That's my view on it. Having anything less than that is, and this becomes a business issue, if you want to have a big pay-per-view, who is out there? If you take on a Tim Bradley or a Victor Ortiz, are those fights marketable enough?" 
 
A no-win situation...
"And secondly, I noticed that all the pound-for-pound lists, it seems like Marquez is number five or six, still, despite the loss. Obviously he doesn't translate as well to the higher weights. You can make the case, how do you justify fighting Tim Bradley or Victor Ortiz, who are certainly below him in the pound for pound? In a way, you are going backwards. But I would have had no problem with him facing Berto. I have no problem with him facing Ortiz, or even Tim Bradley. I think those are acceptable opponents. But honestly, I think at the end of the day when he wins those fights, which he probably will as he's been dominating everybody else, we'll get the idea 'These guys weren't really on his level'. The problem is that it is kind of a no-win situation." 
 
Names in the mix...
"There are moments when I think it would be fun to see somebody else's name in the mix instead of all these names that we are used to seeing. But then, I didn't see Floyd Mayweather doing any of this either. Did he do any of this? He fought Marquez and the same people Pacquiao has faced. For instance, in the last go-round they were talking about Berto as a possible opponent instead of Mosley. That's fine but now we see Victor Ortiz beat Berto, so we wonder how effective would he have been against Pacquiao? I think he would have been an acceptable opponent but it would have made the fight much less marketable after all." 
 
What's going on in Mayweather's head...
"I have no idea. Obviously he's got personal issues. He's got legal issues. He's dealing with other things but there is talk of him facing someone else. So if he's going to fight someone else, why not Pacquiao? I don't know why, if they are still building this fight, why they would need to build it anymore."
 
Is Pacquiao still in his prime?
"That's a good question. I think he's got another couple of really good fights left in him. At least two more. It's remarkable though, when you think of it, and this is what people forget. Here is this guy who started at 106 pounds, here he is fighting at 147. People kind of criticize him. I saw this interview with Teddy Atlas and he was just ripping Pacquiao for his choice of opponents, which is essentially the same choice of opponents that Mayweather fought. The same guys, except you can add to his list was Cotto, who is still a decent fighter when he fought him and still is now. Margarito, who had his history but is still a big, strong guy. And here's the thing about Clottey, while he didn't fight well against Pacquiao, certainly he was one of the top three or four welterweights when Pacquiao fought. He won a title, we knew he was a very good fighter. He was fighting all these real welterweights." 
 
Unwarranted heat on Pacquiao...

"It's interesting to me because Atlas even says he handpicked his opponents. Well, everybody out there who is reasonable to fight, he's fought. And how do you ignore all those wars he had with Morales, Barrera, and Marquez. To suggest that Manny Pacquiao's schedule has been soft is beyond my comprehension. And to throw Mayweather up as the example. I just think it's interesting. I think that Manny Pacquiao gets some heat on this that I'm just not sure is warranted. I do realize that part of this is that Bob Arum doesn't reach out and get the fighters he can get. Whether they aren't in his own promotional company or guys he knows he can make deals with. But some of that is dispelling to the issues he's had with Golden Boy."

Tags: Manny Pacquiao image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by cortdawg25 on 06-21-2011

[QUOTE=BIGPOPPAPUMP;10624809]On November 12th Manny Pacquiao will defend his WBO welterweight crown against former foe Juan Manuel Marquez inside of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is a bit of a weird time for Pacquiao, who has seen a…

Comment by KitangKatag on 06-21-2011

Atlas is in self denial.. when was the last time hes at ringside as a trainer?

Comment by hugh grant on 06-21-2011

Teddy Atlas thinks Pac is top 5 greatest boxers ever. But he dont want you to know he thinks that. Like a poker player with his cards close to his chest.

Comment by joe strong on 06-21-2011

every analyst & historian has their own opinion on different fighters....EVERYONE SAID WLAD SHOULD RETIRE after the brewster loss including vitali...george foreman was the only one who said he would be world champ outside manny steward...roy jones compared wlad to…

Comment by STRUGG on 06-21-2011

[QUOTE=LeadUppercut;10624895]Bernstein and Bert Sugar each think that Marquez won both fights. I.......... bet.......... you.......... dont.......... reply.[/QUOTE] great.........why wont i reply?..............:burnout:

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