Manny Pacquiao is a heavy favorite to retain his welterweight title against Chris Algieri when they meet Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) in Macau, China (where it will be Sunday morning).

So if things go as many expect, and the PacMan comes through, then what? Of course, many hold out hope that his next fight will be the one we’ve all wanted for years against fellow welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.

But we’ve all heard the talk for years and even though Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who represents Pacquiao, said there are serious talks for the fight, let’s take it with a grain of salt for the time being until presented with more evidence than just Arum’s word.

So who’s next for Pacquiao if not Mayweather?

“There are a lot of opponents,” Arum said. “Let’s see how Jessie Vargas looks on the card.”

Vargas is defending his secondary junior welterweight title against former lightweight titlist Antonio DeMarco on the Pacquiao-Algieri undercard.

“What happens if Diego Chaves upsets Tim Bradley?” Arum said of the main event of his Dec. 13 HBO card.

Another possible opponent, and one more intriguing than either Vargas or Chaves, is unified junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia.

Garcia is promoted by Golden Boy, but there are no issues between the companies in making fights any longer. But Garcia is also managed by Al Haymon and that is a huge problem because HBO has essentially banned his fighters from the network. Garcia is also a regular these days on Showtime, although he has fought some of his most significant fights on HBO.

“What happens if Oscar [De La Hoya of Golden Boy] is right and he can free up Danny Garcia to fight Pacquiao? There are a lot of what-ifs,” Arum said. “We’re concerned about Algieri. He’s a top opponent. After that we’ll look around.”

Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, wants Mayweather but said Garcia would be a good second option.

“Garcia is a tough guy and one thing about Garcia is he will throw,” Roach said. “He is a heavy puncher. He knocked out Amir Kahn. I think he is a very good opponent for Manny Pacquiao. I think Manny would box a little more and not exchange as much.

“It's a fight I would like to see and a fight the fans would love to see, and that's what we want to give the people -- good fights.”

Roach to Floyd: 'Step up to the plate'

November, 21, 2014
Nov 21
Trainer Freddie Roach wants his star fighter, Manny Pacquiao, to get a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. as much as anyone and has no problem speaking out about it.

Roach is in Macau, China, getting Pacquiao ready for his welterweight title defense against junior welterweight titleholder Chris Algieri at the Cotai Arena in Macau, China on Sunday morning. With the time difference, HBO's live telecast will air Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET).

But in the final prefight conference call with boxing media members on Thursday, the subject of Mayweather naturally came up. That came as no surprise, especially since Top Rank’s Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, has been talking once again about the prospect of a deal for the fight the public has wanted for years.

After taking a few slaps at Algieri, including a knockout prediction (“about three” rounds) and saying that he was “in way over his head” and that he would be “overwhelmed” by Pacquiao’s speed, Roach addressed a Mayweather fight once again.

“I’m going to have to tell Manny, 'Don’t beat up Algieri too bad because Mayweather will run even more,'” Roach said. “He’s scared of us now, and he’s going to be more scared of us after we destroy this guy. Mayweather, you know, show some balls and step up to the plate.”

While Roach has never hidden his desire for the fight, Pacquiao has only recently begun to be more outspoken about his desire to face Mayweather, who has been reluctant to make the fight.

“He’s been talking more and more about Floyd,” Roach said. “The more time goes by, the more he talks about it. Manny wants the fight badly. After seeing Floyd’s last couple fights, he wants him even more. He just wants to prove he’s the best fighter in the world, and he’ll take that zero and give [Floyd] his first one.”

Like everyone, Roach is frustrated that the fight has gone unmade for nearly four years since it first became the focus of the boxing world.

“I’ve been waiting for this fight for a long time,” Roach said. “I’m anxious for this fight. I like challenges. Mayweather is a challenge. He’s a good fighter but, obviously, I’m tired of people asking me about if the fight’s going to happen and so forth because I can’t give them a real, true answer because this guy keeps running away and running away and running away.”
J'Leon Love, Marco PeribanHarry How/Getty ImagesMarco Antonio Periban, left, is one fight removed from a competitive decision loss to J'Leon Love.
Super middleweight contender James DeGale is on the verge of a world title fight. He became one of unified titleholder Carl Froch's mandatory challengers by knocking out Brandon Gonzales in the fourth round of a final eliminator on May 31.

A fight between DeGale, a 2008 British Olympic gold medalist, and countryman Froch would be a big fight in England. But DeGale also knows the fight, if it ever happens, is still several months away, at the earliest.

So rather than sit around and wait for a fight that might not materialize, DeGale (19-1, 13 KOs) has elected to stay busy. Instead of fighting a no-hoper, he will take on tough Mexican brawler Marco Antonio Periban (20-2-1, 13 KOs), a former world title challenger, ont on Saturday (AWE, 1 p.m. ET) at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England on the Nathan Cleverly-Toney Bellew II undercard.

Periban, who lost a debatable majority decision for a vacant world title to Sakio Bika in a brutal fight in June 2013, said he is planning to derail DeGale's title shot.

"Bika was a more difficult challenge than anyone DeGale has ever faced," Periban said. "He was very difficult. To have a fighter like him in front of you who is so strong and so resilient is hard. Bika is also considered one of the best punchers in the division at this moment. I did a good job after a good training camp and it made me realize that I'm at the level of the division's strong fighters.

"This division is the hardest one at the moment. A lot of experts believe that. That's an added motivation knowing that I'm up there fighting the best. That speaks well of me, it shows that I'm doing a good job and I just need to work harder to win a world title."

Periban is 0-2-1 in his last three fights with the loss to Bika starting the winless streak. He fought a draw with favored Badou Jack 14 months ago and also lost a competitive decision to J'Leon Love in May, although he had Love hurt.

"I should have knocked Love out in the fifth round but then the referee made a big mistake," Periban said. "He pushed me when I was going for Love and I almost went out of the ring. Floyd Mayweather [Love's promoter and mentor] had mentioned in the pre-fight press conference that Love was almost like his son. Perhaps there was a lot of favoritism towards him.

"I don't feel like I'm undefeated because unfortunately the records show that I lost. It's harder to impress the judges away from home. I do feel like I have a lot of experience now, in terms of catching the judges' eyes in other countries. This is really important."

DeGale said he wanted a quality opponent even though he is close to a title shot.

"A lot of people are saying, 'Why are you taking this fight, James?' The guy is a former world title challenger, he’s boxed Sakio Bika, he has boxed some good opponents. Why are you taking this fight because you’re so close now to a world title,'" DeGale said. "The simple answer is that I want to box the best that I can. Fighting Periban and beating him, I'm going to get some credit after. I don’t have to take this fight, I could have taken a routine eight-rounder against a journeyman but I told [promoter] Eddie Hearn, 'I don’t want that, get me someone I’m going to get credit for after. This guy is going to come to fight but the better the opposition the better I’ll box."

The card, which is on Sky Box Office pay-per-view in the U.K., also includes junior featherweight titlist Quigg defending against Hidenori Othake; bantamweight titlist Jamie McDonnell defending against Javier Chacon; super middleweight contender George Groves against Denis Douglin; Callum Smith squaring off with Nikola Sjekloca in a super middleweight title eliminator; and heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua, a 2012 British Olympic gold medalist, facing journeyman Michael Sprott.
Freddie Roach and Antonio DeMarco Chris Farina/Top Rank Antonio DeMarco, right, is fighting to help with his 13-year-old sister's cancer treatment.

Former lightweight titlist Antonio DeMarco traveled to the Philippines about a month ago to join trainer Freddie Roach in Manny Pacquiao’s training camp. Shortly after DeMarco’s arrival, he was shocked by what he heard on a phone call to his home in Tijuana, Mexico.

On that call, he learned that his 13-year-old sister, Mariana, had been diagnosed with bone cancer in her shoulder. DeMarco was distraught, but he plans to fight for his sister. He wants to make a statement to her that he is not a quitter and that she should also fight through her difficult situation, which includes chemotherapy treatments. DeMarco, whose boxing income helps support his family, also needs the purse the fight will provide.

DeMarco will challenge secondary junior welterweight titleholder Jessie Vargas on the Pacquiao-Chris Algieri undercard at the Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena in Macau, China on Sunday morning. Given the time difference, HBO's live telecast will air Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET).

"When I heard the news, I nearly pulled out of this fight,” DeMarco said through a translator. “But I decided to fight in her honor. I want her to live and be the beautiful person she is."

DeMarco, 28, said his sister’s prognosis is good, but it has still been difficult for her and their family.

“We had some tough days,” Roach said. “A couple of days he started thinking about [his sister] and he was crying. He cares about his family and his sister a lot, and it was very hard for him to be away from his family and not be able to care for her. The best way to care for her is to win this fight. I think we turned it around and turned it into a positive. DeMarco is in great shape, and I expect big things out of DeMarco.”

In October 2011, DeMarco won a vacant lightweight world title against Jorge Linares, who had dominated the fight until suffering terrible cuts and was eventually stopped in the 11th round.

DeMarco went on to make two successful defenses before he was whitewashed in an eighth-round knockout loss to Adrien Broner in November 2012. After that, DeMarco (31-3-1, 23 KOs) moved up in weight and won three fights in a row to set himself up for a shot at the Roy Jones Jr.-trained Vargas (25-0, 9 KOs) of Las Vegas.

Vargas, 25, heard about the plight of DeMarco’s sister and offered him support.

"Antonio spoke to me about his sister,” Vargas said. “This is devastating news. I am praying for her as well.”

Vasyl LomachenkoChris Farina/Top RankVasyl Lomachenko is facing Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo in Macau on Saturday

After Jamaica’s Nicholas Walters knocked out featherweight titleholder Nonito Donaire in the sixth round of an outstanding performance in October, the immediate discussion turned to a possible unification fight with Vasyl Lomachenko, the gifted former two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist many consider the best amateur in boxing history.

Both fighters are promoted by Top Rank and the fight is a natural. Top Rank’s Bob Arum wants to make the match, HBO can’t wait to put it on and both fighter camps are open to it.

But first Lomachenko (2-1, 1 KO), who won a world title in his third professional fight in June with a masterpiece against then-unbeaten Gary Russell Jr., has his own business to handle. He faces mandatory challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (52-1, 33 KOs) of Thailand on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) on the Manny Pacquiao-Chris Algieri undercard at the Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena in Macau, China.

"When I signed with Top Rank they told me I would fight on the biggest events,” Lomachenko said through a translator. “Here we are, on a big Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view card in Macau. This is really a big, exciting show. As far as my opponent goes, I did not get a chance to see much of his fights. My trainers take care of that. He has a big record and I am taking him as a serious challenger. I'm 100 percent prepared.”

Despite the disparity in records, Lomachenko is the clear favorite against Piriyapinyo, who lost his only other title bout, a decision to then-titleholder Chris John in Indonesia in November 2012. Should Lomachenko prevail, Arum said he will make the fight with Walters, but not immediately.

Thankfully, Arum is not planning a slow marinade, which he tried to do for a hot fight between featherweight titleholders Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa a few years ago, only to watch it disintegrate when Lopez got knocked out twice.

Lomachenko-Walters really is not quite ready to be made yet, but the wait won’t be long if Arum is true to his word.

“By the early summer I want to make that fight,” Arum told from Macau this week. “Both sides want it. That’s what they’ve communicated to me. Egis [Klimas, Lomachenko’s manager] has told me one more fight after this one and then early summer they’re ready to go. The Walters camp is saying the same thing.”

So the idea is a doubleheader in early 2015 and then, if they both win, the showdown after that.

“Maybe they’ll fight on a doubleheader and then go at each other,” Arum said. “I would be just as excited to see that fight as I would be to see Pacquiao-[Floyd] Mayweather. I can’t wait to see Walters fight Lomachenko. It’s really an interesting fight. I know the general public won’t share that enthusiasm but the boxing people and the true boxing fans will.”

Arum said he envisions the fight perhaps taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, which is near a large Ukrainian population. There is also a sizable Jamaican community in New York.

“It’s a tough fight but they both want it and so do I and so does HBO,” Arum said.

Lomachenko did not want to talk about a fight with Walters (25-0, 21 KOs) with another opponent in front of him on Saturday. That is understandable. But given that he has faced top opposition in his brief pro career -- he is so ambitious that he wanted a world title fight in his pro debut but settled for a fight [a loss] before winning one in his third -- it’s hard to imagine Lomachenko not accepting a fight with Walters.

“I trained hard for this fight. I am focused. What is next? I do not know yet,” Lomachenko said. “I am only concerned for my fight this weekend.”

Klitschko-Jennings in works for spring

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
Mike Perez, Bryant JenningsEd Mulholland/K2 Promotions/Getty ImagesBryant Jennings, left, defeated fellow unbeaten heavyweight Mike Perez in July by split decision.
Heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings is in an ideal position.

The Philadelphia fighter with a big personality is sitting in the mandatory position to be the next opponent for the winner of the fight between titleholder Bermane Stiverne (24-1, 21 KOs) and undefeated current mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs). They are slated to fight on Jan. 17 -- although the fight has not been formally announced -- and the winner is obligated to fight Jennings next.

It's a fight Jennings (19-0, 10 KOs) wants. Jennings, who handed Mike Perez and Artur Szpilka their first losses in his past two fights, both eliminators, could have fought on HBO this month, but passed up the opportunity in order to wait things out for the title fight.

"I could have fought this month but my mind is set on fighting for the WBC world title," Jennings said. "I worked my way to the top of the WBC rankings and now it's time for me to make my mark in history. Stiverne or Wilder, I don't care who it is. I'll be ready to fight either one of them. My promoters, Gary Shaw, Antonio Leonard, and I are all on the same page. We want that WBC title.

"I'm grinding every day like machine. I'm constantly visualizing myself with my hands raised in the air with the WBC strap around my waist. I'm hungry, man. I know I can do this."

Perhaps they do want that belt, but Jennings' position is even more enviable because he is also a wanted man by Wladimir Klitschko (63-3, 54 KOs), the 38-year-old lineal champion with all the other alphabet belts.

Klitschko, who looked spectacular in his devastating four-knockdown, fifth-round knockout of unbeaten Kubrat Pulev in his 17th title defense last Saturday in Germany (where he usually fights), is making plans to have the second fight of his new three-fight HBO contract in the United States, where he has not fought since shutting out Sultan Ibragimov to unify two belts at Madison Square Garden in New York in 2008.

Klitschko has told me multiple times that he would like to fight again in the United States and, from what I am told, his fiance, American television star Hayden Panettiere, who is due any day with their first child (a girl), also wants him to fight in America.

So if Klitschko is going to come back and fight in the United States he needs a legitimate and marketable opponent. Jennings, 30, is that guy. He's undefeated, he has won his past two fights on HBO, he looks the part, he talks a good game and, most importantly, he's a legitimate top-10 contender.

"Bryant is a very gifted athlete who is hungry to show the world that he's an elite fighter," Shaw said. "He has got the athletic ability to have a long career in this sport. The heavyweight division needs a guy like Bryant to be the ambassador for American fighters. He has all the tools to become that guy."

So while Jennings' focus is on the Stiverne-Wilder winner, Klitschko is his more likely next opponent. If he waits on the Stiverne-Wilder winner, he likely wouldn't get a shot until at least next summer.

Jennings can get Klitschko in March or April and, let's be honest, he'd get a lot more credit for beating Klitschko -- the real champion -- or even performing well against him in a loss, than he would for beating the Stiverne-Wilder winner.

Shaw and Bernd Boente, Klitschko's manager, have already begun negotiating the deal.

"I have been contacted by the Klitschko people and they have spoken to me about a possible deal for a fight in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2015," Shaw said.

The Klitschko camp is also having conversations with executives from the two leading New York arenas: Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center, which has wanted Klitschko to fight in the building. Klitschko wants his next American fight to be in New York.

HBO is on board for Klitschko-Jennings and I am told it's willing to pay about $3 million to put it on.

Boente told me, "I also hope that we can make a fight in New York work. It comes down to either MSG or Barclays if we do a fight in the U.S. Jennings would be the preferred opponent for HBO."

Boente said while there have been talks with Shaw, they are apart on the money. This is boxing. That is no surprise, especially in the early going of talks.

Jennings is going to get a title shot. It's just a matter of against whom. Boente, Shaw and HBO will make the sausage over the next couple of months.

Reading the tea leaves, I think you can make plans for Klitschko-Jennings on a spring Saturday night in New York.

Algieri fueled by confidence

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
videoJunior welterweight titlist Chris Algieri, who is moving up to welterweight to challenge the great Manny Pacquiao for his world title on Saturday night (9 ET, HBO PPV) at the Venetian Macao's Cotai Arena, is nothing if not confident.

"I'm where Manny used to be. Look where he came from, out of nowhere to become a boxing legend," Algieri said this week. "I've always trained like a champion. Now I've been treated like one during this promotion."

He'll continue to be treated like that if he wins. But it was not long ago when few knew who he was.

Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) came out of nowhere in June when he survived a pair of first-round knockdowns and a badly swollen eye to win a controversial split decision and a 140-pound world title from Ruslan Provodnikov.

Going into that fight, Algieri was basically unknown. He was also a huge underdog, as he is against Pacquiao. He had been on television twice and never made more than $15,000 before making $100,000 to fight Provodnikov. He still lives in his parents' basement in Huntington, New York.

But he's a good athlete with good speed and has a few inches on Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) in terms of height and reach. He plans to use that.

"We are going in with a smart strategy," he said of the game plan devised by trainer Tim Lane. "Timing and rhythm beats speed. This is a battle of wits and smartness. Now they tell me Manny has his killer instinct back. Well, come and try to get me. This is like a battle of high-stakes chess but with a lot of punches.

"I'm a student of the sport. I like training. Can't wait until I get into the ring. We're not worried about what Manny will be doing in the fight. He should be concerned about what we're going to be doing. How will we control this fight? Jab, range, timing and rhythm. We're very excited. Our work is done. We are ready to fight."

And what about after the fight, for which he will earn $1.675 million?

"Yes, I plan to move out of my parents house after this fight," Algieri said.

Distractions no issue for Pacquiao

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
videoWhen welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao flew from the Philippines to Macau this week in advance of his fight with Chris Algieri on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) at the Venetian Macao's Cotai Arena, he came with a massive group.

Pacquiao brought two planes loaded with guests, along with his team -- 380 or so in all. Even by Pacquiao's typically massive entourage standards, that is a lot of people and has the potential for a lot of distraction.

One Pacquiao camp insider told this week that although Pacquiao put in a great training camp physically, there were a lot of distractions. And now, with all these people in Macau who are part of his group, it means the potential for even more.

"[They] will not only distract but disrupt Manny's fight-week prep and rest," the camp insider said. "Both Manny and [trainer] Freddie [Roach] looked exhausted when they arrived."

Roach downplayed it, but admitted he was not at all happy about all the people.

"I'm not happy about that, not at all," Roach said. "Half the people on the planes, Manny doesn't even know their names. But the worst thing is they came so early in the week. They will be all over Manny. If they came on the night of the fight, fine. I asked Manny about it. He knows I was not happy. I told him it's a little f---ing crazy."

So what was the Pacman's response?

"He just smiled at me. He doesn't care. But that's a lot of people. Two planes," Roach said.

Roach denied there were any notable distractions during the camp in the Philippines, other than Pacquiao's decision to play in the season opener of the professional basketball league he plays and coaches in. He said Pacquiao was good about not getting too involved with his political job as a congressman in the Philippines during camp.

"He had a good training camp. He had no distractions, no politics," Roach said. "The only real distraction was the seven minutes of basketball [he played in the season opener]."

Notes: Kell Brook plans March return

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
Kell Brook and Shawn PorterStephen Dunn/Getty ImagesKell Brook, right, captured Shawn Porter's welterweight title in August by majority decision.
A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Welterweight titlist Kell Brook (33-0, 22 KOs), forced to call off his first defense scheduled for Dec. 6 after being stabbed in the leg while on vacation in early September, said his injury has healed and he is making plans for a ring return. "I'm back training, having no problem with the leg," he said. "I'll be back in the boxing ring defending my world title in March."

England's Brook, 28, won a majority decision against Shawn Porter to win a world title on Aug. 16 at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California.

• The Saturday afternoon live HBO broadcast of heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko's dominant fifth-round knockout of mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev averaged 620,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The fight peaked at 694,000 viewers. Combined with HBO's midnight replay, the fight averaged 1.20 million viewers, which is not bad considering that HBO did not announce that it would carry the fight until a week earlier, when it finalized a three-fight contract with Klitschko.

• Blue chip featherweight prospect Oscar Valdez (13-0, 12 KOs), who knocked out former title challenger Alberto Garza in the seventh round of a strong performance on Saturday night, will make a quick return. He has been added to Top Rank's Dec. 20 UniMas-televised card in the co-feature, manager Frank Espinoza told Valdez, a two-time Mexican Olympian, will face an opponent to be announced at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix on the undercard of heavyweight Andy Ruiz's next bout.

Cleverly confident for Bellew rematch

November, 19, 2014
Nov 19
While most of the boxing world’s attention is on Macau this weekend for Manny Pacquiao’s welterweight title defense against Chris Algieri, there’s also a big show at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.

That stacked card is topped by the cruiserweight rematch between former light heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew, whom Cleverly barely outpointed in a 2011 title defense.

Now they meet again Saturday (AWE, 1 p.m. ET in the U.S., Sky Box Office pay-per-view in the U.K.), once again at the Echo Arena in Bellew’s hometown.

Cleverly, of Wales, eventually lost his world title in a one-sided fourth-round shellacking by Sergey Kovalev in August 2013, moved up in weight and has won two fights in a row heading into the rematch with Bellew, who got another title shot against Adonis Stevenson last November, got crushed in six one-sided rounds and also moved up in weight. He, too, has won two bouts in a row going into the grudge rematch with Cleverly, who is very, very confident he will win again.

“A lot of people have him as the favorite because he’s the naturally bigger guy,” Cleverly said on Sky Sports’ build-up show "Behind The Ropes." “He is heavy handed, apparently, so they think that is too much of a jump for me, and it is a big jump. I’m up against it, but I am confident. I know my own body. I know what I can do. Mentally and physically, I know my limits, and I know that I can beat this guy at cruiserweight. I feel comfortable, strong, sharp and fit. I’ll beat this guy.

“I’ve got too many strengths, and I’ll bring everything I’ve learned from the lighter divisions up to cruiserweight. I’ll bring the speed, I’ll bring the stamina. He can bring his power. I’ve already tested it, and I’ve taken it with ease. It will be no different at cruiserweight.”

Cleverly (28-1, 14 KOs) and Bellew (22-2-1, 14 KOs) have shown a great distaste for each other going back to before they met for the first time.

“We just clash,” Cleverly said. “At the end of the day, I am a winner and in the first press conference I was world champion and he came in with this attitude. I was sat at the table and he kind of looked at me and said something and he got under my skin straight away. More importantly we both delivered on the night. I delivered a good, solid performance and Tony Bellew gave it everything. He threw the kitchen sink at me that night, that was his big chance and it made for an excellent fight.”
Manny Pacquiao has made it clear time and again that he wants to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the biggest fight boxing has to offer and one that would undoubtedly shatter every revenue record in existence.

Unable to get Mayweather to fight him, Pacquiao -- who has business to attend to when he defends his welterweight title against Chris Algieri on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) in Macau, China -- has at least maintained his good sense of humor about a situation frustrating to him and all boxing fans.

About two weeks ago, during his training camp in the Philippines, Pacquiao shot a hilarious commercial for athletic apparel retailer Foot Locker as part of its third annual “Week of Greatness” advertising campaign.

In the spot, Pacquiao overhears two boxers in the gym working on the heavy bag talking about how Foot Locker is bringing back the “Week of Greatness.”

“The people wanted it, Foot Locker made it happen,” one of the boxers says to the other.

Pacquiao, working mitts in the ring, walks over to the ropes and shouts at the boxers, “Wait, wait! So the thing the people wanted is finally happening?”
One boxer answers, “Yeah,” and shrugs.

Pacquiao then breaks out into an epic celebration in the ring, shouting, “Yes!!! He’s going to fight me!” He shouts it over and over.

It’s a brilliant spot that doesn’t even mention Mayweather’s name, but the message and the joke are loud and clear. And make sure to look closely at Pacquiao’s shirt, a sly reference to Mayweather’s uncle and co-trainer Roger Mayweather's nickname.
The long-overdue mandatory fight between heavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder appears to be set.

Two sources involved in the fight told that the fight is ticketed for Jan. 17 on Showtime at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Multiple purse bids were postponed, and then it was finally canceled as the camps slogged through a brutal negotiation. When they finally made a deal, they still didn’t have an exact date or site, but the fight had to take place no later than the first quarter of 2015.

Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs), 36, a native of Haiti living and training in Las Vegas, knocked out Chris Arreola in the sixth round on May 10 in Los Angeles to win the world title vacated in December when Vitali Klitschko retired to focus on his political career in Ukraine.

Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs), 29, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist and the last American man to medal in Olympic boxing. He has rolled to a perfect record and mandatory status despite never facing any opponent remotely close to being a top contender or going past the fourth round.
A few notes from around the boxing world:

• The International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, announced that the Class of 2015 will be unveiled Dec. 4 at 1 p.m. ET. There will be inductees in four categories -- modern, old-timer, nonparticipant and observer -- as voted on by the Boxing Writers Association of America and an international panel of boxing historians. Electors’ ballots had to have been returned to the HOF by Oct. 31. The 2015 Hall of Fame induction weekend will be held June 11-14 in Canastota. Among the 30 candidates on the ballot in the modern category (fighters who had their final fight no earlier than 1989) are holdovers Naseem Hamed, Dariusz Michalczewski and Wilfredo Vazquez Sr. and first-ballot fighters Nigel Benn, Riddick Bowe, Chris Eubank, Genaro Hernandez, Julian Jackson, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Michael Moorer, Orzubek “Gussie” Nazarov, Lupe Pintor, Meldrick Taylor and Fernando Vargas.

• Award-winning boxing writer Joe Santoliquito, a former associate editor and managing editor at Ring magazine (where he still contributes as a writer), was elected president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He will succeed six-term president Jack Hirsch beginning Jan. 1. Santoliquito also writes for the Philadelphia CBS website and contributes to the Philadelphia Daily News.

• Golden Boy signed Puerto Rican junior welterweight prospect John Karl Sosa (11-0, 6 KOs), 22, to a co-promotional deal, joining PR Best Boxing Promotions to guide his career. He will have his first fight of the new deal Dec. 6 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on the David Lemieux-Gabriel Rosado undercard. The Puerto Rican Boxing Commission selected Sosa as its 2012 rookie of the year and most improved boxer in 2013.

• Former unified cruiserweight titleholder and heavyweight title challenger Jean Marc Mormeck (37-5, 23 KOs), of France, will soldier on at age 42. Mormeck, who got knocked out in the fourth round of a one-sided destruction at the hands of heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in March 2012, is back at cruiserweight and looking for his second win in a row since the loss. He will face Mateusz Masternak (33-2, 24 KOs), 27, of Poland, on Dec. 5 in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France. Masternak is seeking his second win in a row since a split decision loss to Youri Kalenga in an interim cruiserweight title bout in June in Monte Carlo.

Algieri, Pacquiao hit Macau

November, 17, 2014
Nov 17
Welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao and challenger Chris Algieri arrived in Macau over the weekend for their showdown on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) at the Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena in Macau, China.

Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs), trainer Freddie Roach and the team flew in from his training camp in the Philippines with a group of 380 – yes, 380 -- friends and family. Pacquiao had so many people in his group that he needed two planes to bring them all.

Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs), trainer Tim Lane and their team had a considerably smaller group arrive from his training camp in Las Vegas.

Algieri, who arrived a day before Pacquiao, spent part of his day making an appearance before hundreds of boxing fans as he posed for pictures and answered questions at the St. Mark’s Square section of the Shoppes at Venetian.

“With 1 million square feet of retail space and over 350 stores at the Shoppes at Venetian, I think I can get in my daily roadwork and my Christmas shopping, all at the same time,” Algieri joked. “I love Macau. It was great during my last visit on the promotional tour, and it is even better this time. I am glad to be able to spend more time here.”

Algieri, a junior welterweight titleholder moving up to face Pacquiao at a catchweight of 144 pounds, said he is confident of victory because of how hard he worked during a 10-week training camp.

“I worked hard for over 10 weeks in the most strenuous and productive training camp of my career,” he said. “I had a lot of different sparring partners, including [former welterweight and junior welterweight titlist] Zab Judah, giving me different looks to prepare me for anything Pacquiao decides to throw at me. I am 110 percent prepared for our fight.”

Donaire eyes fight in the Philippines

November, 15, 2014
Nov 15
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told that former four-division titlist Nonito Donaire (33-3, 21 KOs), the 2012 fighter of the year, who lost his featherweight world title by rough sixth-round knockout to Nicholas Walters on Oct. 18, plans to fight on and likely will make his return in his native Philippines.

“He wants to fight in the Philippines,” Arum said. “We’re going to see if we can book him in a fight in March.”

Donaire, who grew up in Northern California, has not boxed in the Philippines since April 2009, when he knocked out Raul Martinez in the fourth round to retain his flyweight world title.

Arum said when he is in Macau, China, next week for Manny Pacquiao’s Nov. 22 welterweight title defense against Chris Algieri, he will meet with executives from Filipino television network ABS-CBN to discuss a deal for Donaire’s next fight.

Arum said Donaire likely will return to the junior featherweight division.