Pacquiao-Berto in play if no Mayweather fight

November, 20, 2010
11/20/10
11:07
AM ET
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Your weekly random thoughts ...

In the aftermath of Manny Pacquiao's massive destruction of Antonio Margarito last Saturday night (HBO's replay is tonight at 10 ET if you missed it), pretty much all anyone can talk about is what might be next for the punching congressman.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has mentioned three candidates if a deal cannot be struck for Pacquiao to fight the fight we all want against Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Shane Mosley (who claims he's a free agent from Golden Boy and who, along with new manager James Prince, has met with Arum), lightweight champ Juan Manuel Marquez (who would have to win his fight next week against Michael Katsidis and then have Top Rank and archrival Golden Boy come together to make a deal for their third fight) and junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto, whom Arum promotes and who has already lost to Pacquiao by definitive knockout.

However, as Yoda would say, "There is another."

It's welterweight titlist Andre Berto. He has yet another soft-touch defense on HBO against Freddy Hernandez on the Marquez-Katsidis undercard that he has to win, but Arum called Lou DiBella, Berto's promoter, this week to talk to him about the fight. DiBella has a clear understanding that any talks he has (or any other promoter has) about a potential Pacquiao fight are strictly in the event that Mayweather, who has been reluctant to fight Pacquiao and now has serious legal issues hanging over his head, either won't or can't take the fight.

I like the choice. At this point I have no interest in seeing Pacquiao-Mosley. That ship has sailed. Mosley has been a great fighter, but he's 39 now and obviously fading fast. He looked terrible in his past two fights (a wipeout loss to Mayweather in May and a controversial draw with Sergio Mora in September). If the Fight Freaks in my weekly chatathon are any indication, they have no interest, either. Tough fight to sell and Arum knows it.

I don't have much interest in a Cotto rematch, either, and I doubt it happens anyway. Arum knows there is big money in making a rematch between Cotto and Margarito.

I'd be fine with a third fight with Marquez, but there is the thorny issue of the promotional battle as well as the fact Marquez was not effective at welterweight, which he would have to move up to for the fight.

So that leaves Berto (again, only if there's no Mayweather). That fight makes sense. HBO is desperate to get the coddled Berto into a serious fight and Berto could make a career payday against Pacquiao. And with DiBella and Arum having a good relationship it means Arum could do the fight without seeing or speaking to Al Haymon, Berto's manager, whom Arum despises.



• Let's see if I have this right: Mayweather Jr. (allegedly) hit/poked a security guard for free and risked more charges (on top of the eight he faces for an alleged domestic incident), but won't legally hit Pacquiao for $40 million?



• So trainer Freddie Roach claimed Pacquiao had a bad training camp getting ready for Margarito. Well, I'd hate to see what he would have done to Margarito with a good one.



• Heavyweight Dereck Chisora was found guilty of assaulting his then-girlfriend but was given a suspended sentence and spared jail time ahead of his Dec. 11 fight with champion Wladimir Klitschko. By the time Klitschko gets through destroying him, Chisora may be wishing he had been put away.



• Ran into middleweight Andy Lee of Ireland and trainer/manager (and HBO broadcaster) Emanuel Steward at Friday's Sergio Martinez-Paul Williams weigh-in at Caesars Atlantic City and after Lee fights Dec. 11 on the Klitschko-Chisora undercard, they have a very interesting fight lined up. Steward said they have a deal for Lee to face Brian Vera in a rematch on Feb. 4 on the ESPN2 "Friday Night Fights" card on Super Bowl weekend, which is why, with the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium, the boxing show is being planned for nearby Fort Worth. Lee told me he's wanted this rematch for a long time. Vera, of course, authored a major upset when he rallied to stop Lee, at the time considered one of the elite prospects in the sport, in the seventh round on ESPN2. Lee has won nine fights in a row since and sounded pumped to get a second chance at Vera, who is from Texas.



• Remember in March how there was all this hoopla stemming from an Internet report on a small boxing fan site that claimed a deal was close to being done for a third Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson fight without a shred of any real information? Lots of media outlets unfortunately ran with it (not ESPN) without doing any homework on their own. Here we are eight months later and I was just wondering: How are those fight plans working out? Speaking of Holyfield, when his oft-postponed fight against Sherman Williams was finally canceled this week I had one thought: What took them so long?



• I think Bruce Seldon threw more punches and showed more talent against Tyson than the pathetic Audley Harrison did against David "The Ducker" Haye. Although Haye scored the third-round knockout against a human heavy bag, it was not an impressive performance as he barely threw any punches either. That said, I want to congratulate "The Ducker" on his win and status as heavyweight champion of England.

• Let's be blunt: If there's a Tomasz Adamek-Roy Jones heavyweight fight I will throw up. If that fight happens, it's everything that is wrong with boxing. It's not a fight. It's a funeral.



• I really like the Fernando Montiel-Nonito Donaire fight that Top Rank is promoting on Feb. 19 on HBO's "Boxing After Dark" -- as long as Donaire wins a Dec. 4 match and Montiel a likely Dec. 18 fight. I think Montiel-Donaire has the potential to be a superb fight. And maybe this is a good omen for us to get a great fight: Feb. 19 just happens to be the 11th anniversary of an all-time classic fight that also just happened to be a "Boxing After Dark" fight promoted by Top Rank -- the first extraordinary battle between Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.



• If Guillermo Rigondeaux is going to keep fighting the way he did against Ricardo Cordoba on Saturday -- meaning an agonizing mix of Derrick Gainer and John Ruiz in an amateur style -- Top Rank might as well stick him on a slow boat back to Cuba. Talent or not, boxing is also entertainment and that fight was not entertaining in the least. If you're HBO or Showtime do you buy a fight with him in it after seeing that horror show?



• Thumbs up to Golden Boy and HBO Latino for coming through with a spot for American fans to see Saul Alvarez's Dec. 4 fight against Lovemore N'Dou. HBO Latino is a vastly underutilized platform for boxing.



• Mike Jones should count himself very lucky to escape with a win against Jesus Soto-Karass.



• Happy birthday, Nonito Donaire, who turned 28 on Nov. 16.



• DVD pick of the week: Pretty easy choice this week. I'm in Atlantic City, N.J., for Saturday night's rematch between middleweight champ Martinez and Williams. What better way to get ready than by watching their terrific first fight. So back to Dec. 5, 2009, for their epic collision at Boardwalk Hall's upstairs ballroom. Martinez, who had taken the fight on about a month's notice when then-champion Kelly Pavlik withdrew, and Williams scored first-round knockdowns and the action pretty much never let up. In the end, Williams won a majority decision. I was there and had Martinez winning a close fight, but I did not have a huge issue with the decision, only the putrid scorecard turned in by judge Pierre Benoist, who ridiculously had it 119-111 for Williams. That was one of the worst scorecards in boxing history. Regardless, it was a great fight. I had it as the runner-up for fight of the year behind only the first fight between lightweight champ Marquez and Juan Diaz.
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