By Robert Morales
Manny Pacquiao has accomplished a lot during a career that began in 1995. In turn, he's done a lot for boxing because he became a pay-per-view star who drew worldwide attention.
With the announcement this week of his Nov. 23 fight against former lightweight champion Brandon Rios in Macau, China (on HBO pay-per-view), we realize that one more knockout loss anywhere like the one Pacquiao suffered in the sixth round at the hands - or devastating right hand - of Juan Manuel Marquez last December, and it could soon be adios to the future Hall of Fame selection.
We put the question to Bob Arum, Pacquiao's longtime promoter: If Pacquaio gets his clock cleaned again, would he be of the mind Pacquiao should hang up his gloves?
"I'm not of any mind," Arum said to BoxingScene.com. "In other words, my feeling is that's up to the fighter and his team when it's time to hang 'em up, or when it's time to go on. And that's a decision Manny will make, when the time comes."
Arum said he has four more fights on his contract with Pacquiao. He said if Pacquiao had his way, one of those would already have taken place. And that would have been too soon after such a knockout loss, where Marquez sent Pacquiao face-first and unconscious to the canvas.
"Yeah, I think it would have been wrong to rush him back into action in April," Arum said, "which he was looking to do because then he'd have to devote his time to politics, which thank God are over Monday. But I just resisted that. I just thought that was an incredibly bad thing to do."
Arum Explains Tabbing of Rios
Arum gave his thoughts on why both Marquez - who is now 1-2-1 against Pacquiao - and Timothy Bradley passed up a rematch with Pacquiao, instead agreeing to fight each other (tentatively) on Sept. 14 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. He said Marquez and Bradley perhaps did not pass up as much money as it may seem by balking on Pacquiao, and he said a view of the economic situation as a whole sheds light.
"As far as Manny's concerned, there's a tremendous advantage fighting outside the United States because the tax rate is close to 40 percent in the United States," Arum said. "So he goes to a place where there are no taxes and he virtually saves all of that money. As far as Bradley is concerned, Bradley is a U.S. citizen just like I am. And therefore, wherever he earns the money, he has to pay the tax. So there is no advantage for Bradley to fight outside the country. And therefore Bradley wants to fight in a place which generates the most money.
"And because the pay-per-view could suffer fighting outside the United States in lieu of the United States, Bradley looked at it and said, "Look, I might be able to make more money fighting Marquez,' based on his upside and so forth."
Arum then touched on Marquez.
"Marquez, also because the Mexico tax rate's so high, there is no really great desire to fight outside the United States because whatever he makes in the United States with taxes, he gets a credit against his Mexican taxes. So Marquez said to me, 'There is no reason for me to go to Asia to fight Pacquiao. I would just as soon fight Bradley. And I might not make as much money, but it'll be a lot of money.' So that's how it all fell into place."
And, as Arum noted, the lucky recipient of that interesting story was Rios.
"The beneficiary was Brandon Rios, particularly since he had lost a close decision to (Mike) Alvarado," Arum said.
Arum said there was no reason thinking too much about Alvarado getting the shot at Pacquiao because of the hand surgery he recently underwent after his second fight with Rios on March 30, won by Alvarado via decision.
"Alvarado's hand, I couldn't on this type of promotion take a chance that Alvarado's hand would recover because the operation was a serious ligament operation," said Arum, who said he couldn't even get into seriously considering Alvarado because of that. "When I weighed it, the first thing I'm facing was one guy has a bad wing and I couldn't assure the Venetian (in Macau) that he would recover fast enough, so I never got to the point of, 'Who was the better opponent?' "
Interestingly, Arum told the Denver post this week that Alvarado has missed some rehabilitation appointments.
"The doctor couldn't assure me that if he continued to miss appointments, that he'd be ready," Arum told that newspaper.
As for which is the better opponent, it was suggested to Arum that Rios-Pacquiao figures to be a better fight than Alvarado-Pacquiao would have been.
"A lot of people do (think that)," Arum said.
Of course, that's because Rios will engage.
"Well, does he know anything else?" Arum said.
Speaking of Marquez-Bradley
Even though there has been nothing from the Floyd Mayweather Jr. camp indicating he won't be ready to fight Sept. 14, Arum believes he now may not have to move Marquez-Bradley from Sept. 14 to Oct. 12 at Thomas & Mack because of the right hand injury Mayweather suffered in his win over Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero this past Saturday at MGM Grand.
"It doesn't look to us now that Mayweather's going to make it," said Arum, who said he was referring specifically to Mayweather's hand injury.
Golden Boy Promotions has helped Mayweather promotes his past several fights, including Saturday's. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer was told of our conversation with Arum.
"His hand is OK," Schaefer said about Mayweather. "He had it checked out and it was just bruised, so it's all good and he's going to go Sept. 14."
Schaefer said he has already begun early negotiations for a Mayweather-Saul "Canelo" Alvarez fight for that night.
"I've started having conversations and I'm planning on probably getting together some time later this week with Al Haymon (Mayweather's adviser) and talk to Canelo as well, and see if it can get done," Schaefer said.
Abel Sanchez Analyzes Mares
How good has Abner Mares become? The 27-year-old from Hawaiian Gardens, Calif. entered his fight against featherweight champion Daniel Ponce De Leon underneath Mayweather-Guerrero having won titles in the bantamweight and super bantamweight divisions. In De Leon, he was taking on a bigger guy who hits very hard, a southpaw at that.
Mares appeared to weigh a good 10 pounds less than De Leon on fight night, yet he went right after him and stopped him in the ninth round, taking De Leon's title and becoming a three-division champion.
Really, Mares could not have been more impressive. He has top 10 pound-for-pound written all over him. Abel Sanchez, who trains middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, believes we have yet to see the best of Mares.
"Just like Floyd (Mayweather), he seems to be getting stronger and better at the higher weights," said Sanchez, who trains fighters out of his sprawling camp in Big Bear, Calif. "When he gets to 130 (super featherweight), he's going to be an even better fighter. He has good mobility, he was able to withstand Ponce De Leon's punching; De Leon's a strong puncher."
Mares has heart to burn, too.
"He's not going to shy away from anybody," Sanchez said. "He has proven that in all of his fights. And to go in there against a guy who was at least 10 pounds heavier, he took everything De Leon threw and De Leon never wobbled him. I think it has a lot to do with him going up in weight. Not having to sacrifice for weight makes him a better fighter, just like it did with Floyd."
We have not seen last of Arreola
Promoter Dan Goossen on Wednesday said Chris Arreola's nose was broken in five places during the third round of his unanimous decision loss to Bermane Stiverne on April 27 in Ontario, Calif. Goossen said Arreola will be seeing his doctor next week to have - not surgery - but some sort of procedure done on his nose to facilitate its rehabilitation.
That said, Goossen believes Arreola would have had a much better chance of winning the title-elimination fight had he been able to breathe well. Once the nose was broken, he had to breathe through his mouth, which of course is naturally impeded by the mouthpiece.
"One of the things that my brother (trainer) Joe (Goossen) said to me right when it happened, he goes, 'Fighters can withstand anything in that ring, other than not being able to breathe. It's going to be very difficult for him to overcome as the rounds go on because it's the target area, and you've got blood gushing through it, preventing you from getting a free-flowing amount of air as the fight goes on every round,' " Goossen said.
Indeed, Arreola bled heavily from the third round on and by the time the 12 rounds were over, his face was a bloody mask.
"I got up in the ring afterward and throughout my years of seeing our share of blood and guts battles, there was more blood on this ring than I can ever recall seeing before, so Chris obviously lost a lot of blood," Goossen said.
Goossen said that even with this latest setback, he still believes Arreola (35-3) will not only remain a viable contender, but a candidate to win the heavyweight championship.
"Is he capable of doing it?" Goossen said. "I believe he still is capable."
Goossen didn't want to surmise when Arreola will return.
"After his nose heals, we'll sit down and figure out where we go from here," he said.
Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News and BoxingScene.com.