By Robert Morales
Manny Pacquiao recently told BoxingScene.com that he never beefed about his controversial decision loss to Timothy Bradley this past June in Las Vegas. Specifically, here is part of what Pacquiao said in the post-fight news conference.
"I respect the decision, but I believe I won the fight," he said. "That decision has already been done, so we have to give him (Bradley) credit, too. The fans know who won the fight. But the best thing is respect and professionalism in this boxing world."
Considering most reporters had Pacquiao winning - many by at least four points - Pacquiao showed great restraint and class. That's quite a contrast to the way Juan Manuel Marquez has reacted after his three fights with Pacquiao. That's not to say Marquez isn't classy, but his antics after a draw and two subsequent losses were at times shameful.
The second fight featured Marquez and his camp bitching and moaning in the post-fight news conference following Pacquiao's split-decision victory over Marquez in March 2008 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. It was a very close fight. But the way Marquez and his cohorts went on, one would have thought Marquez beat the holy hell out of Pacquiao over 12 rounds.
Bottom line is, when fights are close, it hurts boxing to have one of the combatants scream bloody murder because many fans out there already believe fights are often fixed.
To be fair, Marquez had a very legitimate gripe after their third fight in November 2011. Pacquiao was scored a majority-decision winner. But more reporters - including this one - had Marquez winning than Pacquiao. By this time, one could almost say it was understandable for Marquez to complain.
After all, he had fought his heart out three times against Pacquiao, with nothing more than a draw to show for his efforts.
But Pacquiao on Monday reiterated that this is the type of stuff big names like he and Marquez should not do.
"He's always complaining and complaining and it's not good for a champion like that to complain," said Pacquiao, as he prepared for his last training session in Hollywood before he hopped on his bus and headed for Las Vegas, where he and Marquez will tangle a fourth time Saturday at MGM Grand (on HBO pay-per-view). "I never like to complain, and that's why there is a fourth fight."
In other words, Pacquiao wants to beat Marquez so badly, even Marquez won't have anything to whine about.
"I'm doing my best in training and I'm always prepared to go, to make sure that this fight will be a good victory for me, a convincing victory," Pacquiao said.
Roach: Pacquiao Has Been The Aggressor
Freddie Roach, who trains Pacquiao, said it's not in Pacquiao's nature to rip judges.
"Manny is not like that," Roach said. "But the thing is the three fights they have had, you take a counterpuncher against an aggressive fighter, you're going to have close rounds. The close rounds are always going to go to the aggressive guy and that is Manny Pacquiao. That is why Manny Pacquiao has won all three fights. I thought we won all three fights.
"The last one we got booed afterward because the Latin Grammys were there the night before and we were out-numbered. But if one of those three fights had gone the other way, I wouldn't have cried."
Roach apparently has grown tired of all bellyaching.
"I do want to shut them up," he said. "And I told Manny we need a knockout to win this fight."
We spoke to Roach a few hours after we spoke to Pacquiao. By this time, Pacquiao had finished his training session, and he left Roach a very happy trainer.
"This is the first camp we have had four knockdowns (of sparring partners) in camp," Roach said. "And we haven't had knockdowns in camp since the (Miguel) Cotto fight (a 12th-round TKO win for Pacquiao in November 2009).
Arum's Two Cents
We asked Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, how important it is for Pacquiao to come up with a clear victory because of all the fuss kicked up by the Marquez camp. Arum came with an unexpected reply.
"It has nothing to do with Marquez complaining," Arum said following Wednesday's final news conference. "Nobody has any confidence in the judges anymore. Neither Pacquiao nor Marquez, and so they're going take it in their own hands. And they're each going to go looking for a knockout."
Arum said, "Absolutely," when asked if the situation has given Pacquiao added motivation.
"You know, Manny was stunned, as were some many people, by the judges in the Bradley fight."
Arum was also asked if he believes Marquez had a legitimate gripe regarding the result of the third fight.
"Oh, it was a close fight," Arum said. "If it had been scored as close for Marquez as it was for Pacquiao, nobody could complain. It was a very, very close fight."
No Reward For Trout
The phrase "To the victor go the spoils" apparently is not going to apply to Austin Trout, who defended his junior middleweight belt with a unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto this past Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Even though Trout was the winner, the loser is going to get the first crack at taking on Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in Alvarez's next fight.
On Tuesday, we took Richard Schaefer to task on this. To be fair, his explanation made sense in some ways.
"Well, I think what we all need to do - meaning the boxing media and matchmakers and things like that - we have to realize that this is entertainment," said Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Alvarez. "This is a sport and it's entertainment. I think that when they look at compelling matchups, which fight fans want to see - and I'm not talking about the hard-core boxing fan, who is one thing - but I'm talking about sports fans, the general audience and so on.
If you asked the general public, they would love to see a match with Cotto and Canelo Alvarez.
"And I think we might take a page out of the UFC playbook here that just because somebody loses, that doesn't mean they have to go back in line, depending on how they lose and who they are and so on. I think they are still very, very much in the mix for big fights, big pay-per-view fights, if it came to the UFC. Here with boxing, why should it be different?"
Cotto lost to Trout by six, six and 10 points on the scorecards.
Schaefer reminded a reporter that he said something similar after Ricky Hatton's recent comeback loss that ended with him being knocked out by Vyacheslav Senchenko in the ninth round of a fight Hatton was winning.
"I think Ricky put in a terrific performances given the fact he was out for over three years and I still felt that a fight between Ricky Hatton and Paulie Malignaggi would still be a fight which would be warmly embraced by fight fans and by sports fans and would be a fight people would want to see," Schaefer said.
Schaefer said there are just way too many good things about a Cotto-Alvarez fight for him not to try and make it happen.
"Now, if you take Cotto and Canelo from a style point of view, from an excitement point of view, the Mexicans, the Puerto Ricans, talk about crossroads and all of that, there are a lot of elements which people are going to say, 'Hey, I would definitely like to see that fight,' Schaefer said.
The Puerto Rican-Mexican rivalry is boxing's biggest.
And let's not forget the financial perks that would likely favor a Cotto-Alvarez fight over Trout-Alvarez.
"It basically would be a bigger money-making fight because there would be more fans wanting to see the fight and therefore buying the pay-per-view or buying the tickets or buying the tickets to the bars or the movie theaters or whatever else it was going to be," Schaefer said. "So that shows you right there, the fact that we agree that it's a bigger money-making fight, is because of more people are interested in it."
What about Trout? Well, Schaefer could not praise him enough, but ...
"I don't want to take anything away from his victory," Schaefer said. "He's a terrific young man, has been waiting for an opportunity like this and when the opportunity presented itself, he captured the opportunity. He comes across very well, well-spoken, polite, nice."
"But just because you beat the man, that doesn't mean that you are the man," Schaefer said.
Schaefer said that doesn't mean there is no possibility Trout will end up being Alvarez's next opponent.
"By the way, I'm not saying it won't happen," Schaefer said. "I don't know. Cotto may want to say, 'Hey, I don't want to fight,' or, 'I have other plans,' and so on. And then he might be in the mix. Others might be in the mix. A (James) Kirkland might be in the mix, an (Alfredo) Angulo might be in the mix, a (Cornelius) 'K9' Bundrage might be in the mix.
"There are different names for fights which we would make for Canelo. But as a fight fan, as a sports fan, as somebody who likes to put together big events, I have to tell you that the Canelo-Cotto fight would be a big event.
"I like to have events in sold-out venues and I know a Canelo-Cotto fight would be a big, big event."
Finally, Schaefer reminded BoxingScene.com that it's not like there was anything in Trout's contract that promised him a fight with Alvarez, who, like Trout is a junior middleweight champion.
All that said, to those who like to see people rewarded for doing well, tough. To the victor does not always go the spoils. Not when big bucks are involved.
Arum on Pavlik-Ward
Since super middleweight champion Andre Ward has become one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world and former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik has been on the decline even though he's only 30, it figures their title fight Jan. 26 at Galen Center in Los Angeles (on HBO) is going to be one-sided.
Arum, who promotes Pavlik, isn't so sure.
"Well, we'll see what happens," he said. "I think Ward, to be honest, is a big favorite. But Kelly is resourceful and if Kelly gets prepared, he'll perform very well. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion."
Editor's Note: BoxingScene reported earlier that Ward suffered a shoulder injury in training camp and his fight with Pavlik would likely get postponed to a later date.
Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News and BoxingScene.com.