Posted 22 days ago on
AP on Fox
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By TIM DAHLBERG AP Sports Columnist The guy he really should be boxing will be in a jail cell when Manny Pacquiao enters the ring next, not that it's the furious little fighter's fault. Neither was the faux uproar that erupted when shoddy journalism and the rush to judgment collided with predictable results.
This is boxing, though, and things happen. Sometimes they even happen for a reason, though it's hard to believe Pacquiao tried to insert himself into the debate over gay marriage in the hope it would sell a few more pay-per-views for his June 9 fight against Timothy Bradley.
The crazy thing is, it just might.
''It may very well resonate with people,'' promoter Bob Arum said. ''We have so many evangelical Christians living in this country that have paid attention to this whole thing. Some of these people would never think of buying a fight and they might buy it, I don't know. It certainly isn't what was intended.''
On that, I have to give Arum a pass. He's been promoting fights for the better part of a half century and done some silly things to sell tickets, but even he wouldn't have been able to dream up a scheme to get this fight in the news by having Pacquiao seem to disparage gays as well as gay marriage.
I'll also give him a pass on the Mayweather fight that never happens because I've grown convinced that Mayweather simply doesn't want to fight Pacquiao. Not with a 50 percent cut of proceeds from the richest fight ever, and not even if Arum comes through on a plan to build a 40,000 seat outdoor arena on the Las Vegas Strip.
The whole thing is getting a bit stale anyway. Both fighters are edging toward the end of their careers and, with Mayweather heading to jail and Pacquiao concentrating on politics, a date next spring will probably be the last hope for a fight that fans have been desperate for the last few years. There's a chance they could meet after that, but by then both will be past their primes and the fight won't be nearly as meaningful - or as lucrative.
Instead we get Mayweather and Pacquiao twice a year against opponents who aren't nearly as significant or interesting. Bradley may be undefeated and a fine family man - both traits that HBO will showcase on ''24/7'' - but it's as hard to justify spending $64.95 to watch him fight Pacquiao as it was to spend the same kind of money to see Mayweather against a slow and very hittable Miguel Cotto.
Arum understands that, just as he understands that Pacquiao is under pressure to sell the same 1.5 million pay-per-view buys that Mayweather generated against Cotto last month - if only to show Mayweather that he should be a 50-50 partner in any purse split should they somehow put aside their other differences. To have people talking about Pacquiao weeks before the fight is a promoter's dream, no matter what they're saying.
That Pacquiao's comments about gay marriage went viral isn't all that surprising in today's all-consuming media. That they were misconstrued wasn't too surprising, either, given the way content is created and appropriated these days.
The bottom line is that Pacquiao says he doesn't hate gays. He's simply against gay marriage, a position that is not out of line with many segments of the American public.
''The reporter asked me about my stance on it and I answered his question,'' Pacquiao said. ''I am against legalizing same-sex marriage. That was all I said.''
Mayweather, of course, is for it, if only because the two fighters can't seem to agree on anything. That's fine, too, though fight fans would surely rather see Mayweather and Pacquiao discussing how they would fight each other than debating one of the hot social issues of the day.
Both are getting ready to move onto other things. Mayweather will spend most of his summer in a Las Vegas jail cell for domestic abuse, while Pacquiao will fight Bradley and then head back to the Philippines to continue a political career that includes a planned run for governor of his province next year.
The selling point, meanwhile, for Pacquiao's June 9 fight revolves around his recent re-dedication to religion and the new discipline in his life. He's given up long nights playing darts and visiting cockfights and become a family man again. There will be no distractions, he said, of the kind that left him unfocused in barely pulling out a win over Juan Manuel Marquez in his last fight.
''He's somebody we've known and admired, but we knew he had some moral shortcomings,'' Arum said. ''Now he finds God and eliminates those moral shortcomings. It's a good storyline, but only because it happens to be true.''
Truth seldom sells in boxing, but the real truth is that both Pacquiao and Mayweather are running out of opponents they can sell. Mayweather admitted as much after beating Cotto, and Arum's talk about a possible fourth Pacquiao-Marquez fight shows just how lean the list of possible future opponents is.
Unfortunately, the only way they'll get in the ring together is if they need each other.
And unless fans stop buying fights against lesser opponents, that isn't going to happen.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Manny Pacquiao faces Timothy Bradley on June 9 in an HBO pay-per-view fight in Las Vegas. Leading up to the fight, Pacquiao is sharing weekly thoughts and training updates with HBO.
Question: At this point, what is keeping you and Floyd Mayweather Jr. from climbing into the ring together? Will the fight ever happen? How important is to you being considered one of the best of all...
Remember the scene as we left it?
The guys at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., in a move reminiscent of some pugilistic Willy Wonka, have announced they are opening their doors one final time and have space for just one candidate -- the all-time great of the current boxing era. And they will only consider the two leading lights of the current...
Did I jinx her T?
World boxing champ Manny Pacquiao graced the American Idol Post Show Red Carpet, following fellow Filipino Jessica Sanchez’ biggest performance night. Unfortunately for Manny, the other guy won. -TO
Pacquiao Denounces All anti-gay allegations
Pacquiao Barred From The Grove and Extra
As he readies for his June 9 HBO pay-per-view fight with Manny Pacquiao, undefeated challenger Timothy Bradley will share some thoughts each week.
In this installment, Bradley discusses with HBO his take on critics who thought he should have taken the Amy Khan fight.
Q: How does it feel getting this fight after being criticized for not taking the Amir Khan fight? Did you know...
‘Born Again’ Pacquiao vows to dazzle live on Primetime (Sky Channel 480)
Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao has experienced a religious awakening in recent months but he knows his new found pacifism cannot be carried into the ring when he faces the undefeated three-time world champion Timothy Bradley on Saturday June 9th, live on Primetime (Sky Channel 480 and Virgin on Demand...
In a scathing diatribe posted in response to an article on The Queensberry Rules (TQBR) boxing blog, a commenter by the name of nuaronagg3 posted a lengthy rant accusing the blog of bigotry, lambasting the boxing media as a whole, belittling acclaimed fighters throughout history, decrying the “godlessness” of American culture, and effusively praising Manny Pacquiao, all despite...
In a battle of pound for pound box office attractions, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao and television’s late-night comedy king Jimmy Kimmel will go head to head for the sixth time in their series of entertaining appearances together dating back to November 3, 2009. Pacquiao will appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live! This Thursday! May 24, on ABC, beginning at 12:05 a.m...
Yesterday, we brought you our exclusive interview with Tim Bradley, as he shared his thoughts on the fight, his plans to step away from boxing, his thoughts on the steroids issue in the sport, what it's like being on 24/7, and more. Right here, you can find a huge collection of Tim Bradley workout photos from his recent media day in Indio, California. The throngs flocked to the...
Manny Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach held a media conference call to discuss the upcoming June 9th fight against Timothy Bradley. Right here, you can find the complete transcript and see everything that Pacquiao and Roach had to say about preparing to meet Bradley, training camp, potential fights against Juan Manuel Marquez and Floyd Mayweather, and all the rest. Take a look...
"You got a young, hungry, determined fighter, who trains like an animal, fights like an animal, who brings the pain, man.... Tim Bradley's going to do it against Pacquiao"
Timothy Bradley has been waiting for this moment his whole life. Now it's finally here, and he's ready to take the big stage. On June 9th, he'll step into the ring against Manny Pacquiao...
WBO light welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley claims to be infinitely better than Juan Manuel Marquez and, therefore, “Desert Storm” is confident he will batter WBO world welterweight king Manny Pacquiao on June 9 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las … Continue reading →
Thanks to those pesky PED tests, a couple of really good bouts have fallen by the wayside. For a couple of weeks, the summer boxing schedule, which usually isn't the busiest time in the sport anyway, was starting to look positively barren.Lo and behold, the announcements started coming. Some guys found new dance partners, while others paired off in interesting and sometimes surprising...