By Robert Morales
Promoters, trainers and the like often dole rhetoric to help sell a fight. It's probably been going on for as long as boxing has existed. It's up to reporters and fans to decide how much is fact, and how much is fiction. But Freddie Roach seems genuinely concerned about the third fight between MannyPacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, tentatively slated to take place Nov. 12 - probably at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Roach, Pacquiao's longtime trainer, on Wednesday played host to a media workout for another of his fighters - Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Chavez was typically late, so there was plenty of time for Roach to talk about Pacquiao-Marquez III. The first two fights - in 2004 and 2008 at featherweight and super featherweight - ended in a draw and split-decision victory for Pacquiao, respectively.
"I'm a little bit scared of that fight," Roach said. "I think Marquez might have our number. He can do well with certain styles and he seems to do well with our style.
I think we're bigger and better now, but that's my good solution, that we're bigger and better now."
This third fight would be at a catch-weight of 144 pounds.
"He just might know how to fight Manny Pacquiao," Roach said. "It makes me think, so I know I have my work cut out for me. I have to come up with a great game plan for that fight. It's obviously not an easy fight because, well, I know that he'll come to fight. I would have said that two weeks ago, too, but we were surprised that Shane (Mosley) didn't show up for the first time in his life.
"That was disappointing, but I don't think that will happen with Marquez. I think he's got a lot of balls. He thinks he won the first two fights, he says he got robbed, he wants revenge and he has a good trainer in Nacho (Beristain). They have a good relationship, they seem to work well together."
Indeed, Marquez and his camp did some serious belly-aching after the first two fights, especially after the second one at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The way Marquez complained, one would have thought he dominated Pacquiao.
That, of course, is ridiculous because both fights were very close.
Apparently, Roach is pumped to put any remaining doubts to rest.
"I actually want this fight, I love this fight," he said. "I would love to shut them up."
Just About Done
Pacquiao-Marquez is not 100 percent finalized, but it is close. Marquez has signed, and promoter Bob Arum said Wednesday that Pacquiao could sign as early as Monday. The other thing is that Marquez wants to take a tune-up fight on July 2 against former lightweight champion David Diaz in Mexico City. If Marquez somehow loses that fight, he won't get Pacquiao again.
"I want him to do the best he possibly can against Manny," Arum said of Marquez. "He feels that with the layoff he's had that he needs the other fight, so if he loses that fight, then there's no deal. If he wins that fight, he will have had the benefit of getting the rust off. So it's a win-win situation. I mean, Marquez isn't the only fighter that Manny can fight."
Arum outlined what will happen with the Pacquiao side over the next few days.
"I'm having dinner tonight with Michael Koncz, his adviser," said Arum, chairman of Top Rank Inc.. "I've already talked to Manny before he left to go back to the Philippines, so I know he's pretty much on board. But now we have to go through all of the details, etcetera, etcetera. And I'll do that with Michael tonight and he'll relay it to Manny when he gets back to the Philippines on Monday. And I'm sure that in a normal course, we'll have a signed contract from Manny."
The Future Ahead For Top Rank, Golden Boy
Arum said he had a sit-down with Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer on Monday. The two companies have been hating on each other for some time, but their talk paved the way for this third fight to happen. Golden Boy, which has been promoting Marquez, had the right to match any monetary offer made Marquez by Arum or anyone else.
Although Schaefer isn't talking at the moment, Arum said, "Golden Boy was very cooperative and did the right thing. And it cleared the way for me to finish the deal with Marquez without any matching or anything."
Arum said a confidentiality agreement between the parties prevents him from saying exactly what took place in Monday's pow-wow, but he did say it could help get the companies together for future promotions.
"Absolutely, I can say that because we had a mediation," Arum said. "Whatever happened in the mediation is completely confidential. But after the mediation, Schaefer and I shook hands and said that we would - not that we would have to be buddies - but we would try to work together in the future.
But that's all I can say.
I'm not going to say what the mediation was about, who agreed to what."
This is quite a turn-around from what Arum said recently, that if he never does business with Golden Boy again, it would be too soon.
Arum Not Sure About Television For Pacquiao-Marquez
Showtime surprised a lot of people by beating out HBO for the Pacquiao-Mosley telecast. Arum was asked Tuesday if Showtime or HBO would do Pacquiao-Marquez.
"We haven't made any determination," he said. "That'll depend on who, in our estimation, will do the best job in helping us promote the fight."
Arum: All on Mosley
Although most of the blame for the lack of action for Mosley-Pacquiao has been placed on Mosley, some ringside observers thought there were times when Pacquiao could have done more, too. After all, it seemed at timesbthat the fans were booing both fighters - not just Mosley. Arum wasn't buying it.
"I disagree," he said. "If Manny says legs were cramping up, its very, very difficult to engage a guy who won't fight, particularly a guy who knows all the tricks like Mosley. And when Manny did put on the gas after the erroneous knockdown (of Pacquiao in the 10th round), then he was really able to put the pressure and really hurt Mosley."
Did Yawner Hurt Chances for Network Exposure?
Some of the talk between reporters following the Pacquiao-Mosley fight centered on how much the snooze-fest might have hurt boxing's chances at getting back on network television on any kind of regular basis. CBS was involved in a big way in Pacquiao-Mosley. It owns Showtime and aired the Fight Camp 360 episodes along with the cable station.
Arum was asked if he was concerned that the poor showing might have been a turn-off to CBS and perhaps other major networks.
"No, because that is not something that a network executive will focus on, the quality of the fight as it unfolds," Arum said. "That's something that you guys write about and rightly so. It doesn't affect them at all."
Goossen Backs Ward's Performance
Rarely will you see punch stats used in a story written by yours truly because they often don't represent what happened in a fight. But having been at the Andre Ward-Arthur Abraham super middleweight title fight this past Saturday at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., it was not surprising to see the results when the statistics were handed out following Ward's one-sided unanimous decision.
Ward, who won the fight with his left jab, landed a grand total of 71 power punches. That is just a hair under six power punches per round. In round one, he did not throw a power punch. In round three, he threw three and landed one. In round 11, he threw 12 and landed two.
A couple of days before the fight, Ward told this reporter that he wanted to become one of the greatest ever. During the same conversation, he scoffed at the notion that his fights aren't exciting enough. Then, after Saturday's fight he said he wanted to remain champion for as long as possible while taking the the least amount of punishment.
We like Ward. Besides being very talented, his character seems beyond reproach. But this is prize-fighting and it appears he is going to have a difficult time being all he can be unless he gets in some fights where there is some hard-hitting give-and-take going on.
However, his promoter, Dan Goossen, doesn't know what all the fuss is about regarding Ward's less-than-thrilling fights. Goossen said that around the ninth round Saturday, he was engaging someone in conversation and that the theme of the talk was how terrific a fighter Ward has become.
"When I use the phrase 'fighter', it's from the basis of, he fights," Goossen said of Ward. "He's not out there trying not to get hit. He just happens to be that good, that he doesn't get hit that often."
Goossen intimated Ward showed his fighter's mentality during the 12th round when a well-behind Abraham went after Ward and landed a couple of nice left hooks and Ward landed a solid hook of his own.
"If he was concerned about getting hit - everyone knew he was ahead - why would he go out there and fight?" Goossen said. "Because he likes to fight. It was such desperation for Abraham, it was one of the few times he was able to get something on Andre. But that was only caused because Andre was willing to fight."
Goossen correctly pointed out that Abraham fought out his peek-a-boo style much of the fight, which of course always makes it difficult to get through. But Ward rarely threw a left hook to the body, which would have made Abraham bring down his gloves. Ward threw jabs to the body, but they don't carry nearly the devastation a hook does.
Bottom line, most boxing fans don't fall in love with a fighter who gets in the type of fights Ward often is in. Again, six power punches a round just doesn't cut it.
And remember, a power punch means something other than a jab. Of those six power punches every three minutes, none of them hurt Abraham. The only time Abraham was buzzed was by a couple of jabs that rattled his head. But Goossen believes that Ward will turn on the power when he has to.
"He is not looking for a 12-round decision," said Goossen, who said Ward would have stopped Abraham had referee Luis Pabon let them fight inside. "He is looking to stop you. His power will show when he gets fighters who are willing to engage him. Right now they are not. Andre is not willing to allow it. He prevents it from happening with his ability.
"It's nice to hit that home run as much as you can, but sometimes you've got guys who are heroes who are hitting triples all the time, hitting doubles. He is certainly not a singles hitter. He is swinging for the fences. He may not be hitting them out day in and day out, but I guarantee you he is going to get his share of home runs because he's taking big swings out there."
Anyway, if Ward gets past the winner of the Super Six's other semifinal between Carl Froch and Glen Johnson, the best thing Goossen could do is put Ward in with Lucian Bute. Bute is considered right there with Ward as far as super middleweights. An exciting win by Ward over him would stop a lot of the criticism.