Boxing: Juan Manuel Marquez

Rodriguez likes Cotto to beat Sergio

October, 7, 2013
Delvin Rodriguez was mightily impressed with the oomph on Miguel Cotto's left hook on Saturday night in Orlando, Fla. The Danbury, Conn.-based boxer, who also works as an analyst for ESPN and will be heading to Las Vegas this week to work the Timothy Bradley Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez show, told me that Cotto's power surprised him.

I asked Rodriguez, who was TKO'd in Round 3 by the Puerto Rican future Hall of Famer, what he foresees occurring if a rumored showdown between Cotto and middleweight champion Sergio Martinez were to take place.

"That's a great fight," Rodriguez said. "Cotto is really strong, very determined. He could do a lot of damage because Martinez fights with his hands down." The fighter/analyst said he could see Martinez using his movement to good effect early, but getting broken down as the rounds progress.

So who would have his hand raised at the end of the night?

"Cotto would beat Martinez, definitely, in a close fight," Rodriguez said.

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Will we see Pacquiao-Marquez 5?

May, 7, 2013
Many, if not most, fight fans expected Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez to renew their rivarly this fall, and were eager to see if Pacquiao could shrug off the KO loss at Marquez's hands last December. But Marquez threw us a curveball, deciding that he doesn't want to face Pacquiao again, that he wants to savor the memory of dropping and stopping Manny, and let that be the exclamation-point chapter in their book of battle.

Pacquiao, it was announced on Monday, will fight in Macau on Nov. 24 -- Nov. 23 in the U.S. -- against California-based Brandon Rios.

I asked New York native Larry Merchant what he thought of Marquez's decision not to glove up with Manny, and instead face off with Timothy Bradley, who holds a controversial decision June 2012 victory over Pacman.

Was Merchant surprised that Marquez would turn down a fight which would earn him a career-best payday?

"It would be the most he's made if he could negotiate it, but maybe they [Top Rank, Pacquiao's promoter] didn't want to give him what he wanted," Merchant said. "And if Pacquiao's decision that he wants to fight in Macau had to do with money, then it looks like he's trying to do what Floyd Mayweather does, give the other guy as little as he can for the fight. As I understand it, taxes are less in Macau [than he would pay in the U.S.]."

Merchant said it will remain to be seen if such a tax-avoidance strategy would pay off, as we don't know if Pacquiao can draw the same gate, command the same ticket prices and draw a healthy pay-per-view number with a fight outside the U.S. without the same media attention and concentration that a fight in America would summon.

"Maybe the fact that lot of Filipino fans will come over and bet will be a part of that," Merchant continued. "I also think Marquez feels he can make as much for fighting Bradley and getting the bigger share of a smaller pie."

We often like to think that these warriors are doing it for personal pride as anything else, but we do get reminded that this is business for these sports entertainers. And most business decisions, when you get to the level of stature these pugilists are at, are made based on accumulating the most revenue with the least risk. I do suspect we will see another Pacquiao-Marquez bout, but Manny turns 35 in December and it wouldn't be a shocker if he called it quits before he was able to avenge the Marquez loss.

Bradley wants Pacquiao next

April, 10, 2013
Tim Bradley would love another shot at Manny Pacquiao, and manager Cameron Dunkin is hopeful that will happen in September or October, when Manny gets back on the horse.

Word is that Juan Manuel Marquez might be pricing himself out of a fifth fight, asking for close to a 50-50 split, and Dunkin told me Wednesday in NYC that he's hoping that is the case. During a presser at Madison Square Garden to hype Saturday's Donaire-Rigondeaux clash at Radio City, Dunkin said he met with Bradley and his wife, Monica, in Las Vegas at the Rios-Alvarado fight on March 30.

Bradley is in the mix to meet Marquez, too, it being a smaller world of late in and around that 140-147 area with Top Rank and Golden Boy fighters not even close to gloving up against each other. "I prefer Bradley versus Pacquiao over Marquez. I think he could settle a lot of things inside him, he'll beat Pacquiao good this time," Dunkin told me.

In his last outing, the California boxer provided way too many thrills and chills for Dunkin, who while ringside pleaded with Bradley to box more and use his skills, instead of his warrior instinct, against Ruslan Provodnikov on March 16. On that night, Bradley traded when he should have evaded and escaped with a UD12, only because judges aren't prone to scoring a wider 10-8 round unless a knockdown occurs, even if one man has the other nearly senseless. "He let the media and the fans get him in a war. Me and his wife told him that," Dunkin said.

During the lunch, Bradley showed he still hasn't shrugged off the rampant critiques which dogged him before and right after the Pacquiao victory last year. "I showed the people I'm not afraid, not a runner, not a holder, not a butt-er," Dunkin said Bradley stated. "Now let's see what they critique me about."

Basically, Dunkin wants Bradley and his other guy, Rios, to ditch some of the macho, and remember the "not be hit" part of the golden equation a bit more, moving forward.

Arum happy about his Triple Crown

April, 10, 2013
The two best 122-pound professional fighters will face off on Saturday night in New York City, on a show promoted by Brooklyn-born Bob Arum, the 81-year-old sage who presided over a press conference at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday to hype the clash, which will run on HBO.

The promoter spoke enthusiastically about the bout, which pits his fighter, 30-year-old Nonito Donaire, named by the Boxing Writers Association of America their 2012 Fighter of the Year, against Cuban technician Guillermo Rigondeaux, regarded as maybe the best amateur of all-time, but still semi green as a pro, with an 11-0 mark. The matchup clearly juices Arum, but the setting for the bout, Radio City, seems to excite him equally.

Arum has done a boatload of shows at Madison Square Garden since he got his feet wet in the business in 1966, promoted a Miguel Cotto fight at Yankee Stadium in 2010, and now fulfills a Triple Crown, of sorts, by placing the second pro fight card ever at Radio City. (Roy Jones beat David Telesco in the first, back in 2000.)

“Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium and Radio City Music Hall are iconic locations,” Arum said. “I was blown away when my parents took me to these places when I was a kid. I really never dreamed I’d be promoting Ali in the Garden or at Yankee Stadium.”

The dealmaker said he had no jet lag after returning from a promotion last Saturday in Macau. He expects Radio City to be sold out, and the fracas between Donaire, who holds the WBO 122-pound crown, and the 32-year-old Rigo, the WBA champ, to be a pleasing style clash.

Donaire candidly admitted during his time at the mic that he could be at a precarious stage. "At this time of my career is when people are usually vulnerable," said the California resident with a 31-1 mark. "You get ‘Fight of the Year,’ you get a baby coming ... but I guarantee you coming into the fight you’ll see the best Nonito Donaire." His wife Rachel, who was in attendance, is expecting their first child in July.

Rigo's comfort zone is in the ring, not at the mic stand. The Cuban-born hitter, who lives in Miami, was spare in his remarks. "I’ll become a world champion once again and unify the titles," he promised. Rigo won an interim super bantam title in just his sixth pro outing but he's no neophyte. A two-time Olympic gold medalist, he had over 400 amateur fights.

Donaire said after the two did their customary staredown that he achieved a "moral victory" because Rigo was shifty, and broke eye contact, indicating, he said, a level of discomfort.

Arum should know Manny foe by Sunday

April, 10, 2013

Bob Arum is looking to determine who will get the coveted slot to fight Manny Pacquiao in his next bout by Sunday, he told NYFightblog during a Wednesday press conference at Madison Square Garden. The press conference was called to hype the Saturday super feather unification bout between Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux at Radio City Music Hall.

Arum, the Las Vegas-based Brooklyn-born promoter, was clearly on a high counting down to the Radio City event. He talked about entering the famed venue as a little boy, and how proud he is to have now staged shows at MSG, Yankee Stadium and now at this third iconic platform.

Arum said Juan Manuel Marquez will be attending the Thursday night Boxing Writers Association of America dinner, to accept an award for taking part in the 2012 Fight of the Year, with Manny Pacquiao. He will see if the Mexican wants to meet up with Manny a fifth time, or wants to go in another direction. A rematch with Tim Bradley, who won a controversial decision over Pacquiao last June, is a possibility.

Arum has also been in talks with Bradley and his manager Cameron Dunkin, who was present at the presser. Pacquiao advisor Michael Koncz will be in NYC, to help clarify the next move for Manny, as well.

I asked Arum about Freddie Roach's remarks to me yesterday, that Roach doesn't think Marquez deserves a 50-50 split, and should accept that Manny deserves more moolah, because he's a PPV draw. "I'm not negotiating in the press," Arum answered. "We will talk privately and come to a decision."

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Boxing Writers dinner open to fans

March, 29, 2013
The 88th annual awards banquet of the Boxing Writers Association of America will take place on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at Capitale in New York City, and marquee players in the game, like Fighter of the Year Nonito Donaire, and Juan Manuel Marquez, who dropped, stopped and shocked Manny Pacquiao in December, will be present.

The Filipino-American superstar Donaire is scheduled to box Guillermo Rigondeaux at Radio City Music Hall just two nights after the banquet.

Other notables set to appear include Roy Jones, Timothy Bradley, Ruslan Provodnikov, Paul Malignaggi, Steve Cunningham, Bob Arum, and Jim Lampley.

The best part is that fight fans can attend, and rub elbows with these boxing bigs. Ticket information is at

Arum looking at Singapore

March, 18, 2013
Brooklyn-born promoter Bob Arum hasn't had time to even contemplate lightening his load in the last few days.

He put together the fight which is the early lock for the 2013 Fight of the Year, Timothy Bradley-Ruslan Provodnikov, which ran on HBO from California on Saturday night.

On Tuesday, Arum will be presiding over a press conference in Austin, Texas to announce that George Foreman, ex heavyweight champ and grill icon, will be entering the business as a promoter.

During a chat about the news that HBO wouldn't be buying fights from Golden Boy, I asked Arum about negotiations to pair up Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez for a fifth time. They clashed in December, with the Mexican Marquez dropping and stopping Pacman in Vegas.

"Marquez didn't show at the Bradley-Provodnikov fight but he's coming on March 30 for the Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado fight (in Las Vegas). And then Marquez and his wife are going with us to Macau." Top Rank is putting on a card in Macau on April 6, topped by Chinese Olympian Zou Shiming, in his pro debut.

"To solidify a Pacquiao-Marquez fight in Macau would be the plan," the 81-year-old Arum said.

Does he have an idea where that fifth faceoff might unfold? "They've been doing a full court press at the Venetian in Singapore," he answered.

Arum to meet Marquez next Tuesday

February, 22, 2013
There was a fair amount of grumbling in certain cynical circles when Bob Arum made the fourth Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight, which unfolded Dec. 8 in Las Vegas.

Been there, done that, wanna see something else, grumblers on Twitter tweeted.

But by the end of the night, everyone had to think they got their money's worth, as Pacquiao, in a shocker extraordinaire, got dropped and stopped by his rival for the ages.

It makes sense to stage another bout, the fifth between The Congressman and the Mexican counterpunching master, but Marquez has been playing hard to get. He's talked about retiring, he's talked about there being nothing more to prove against Pacquiao ... but I suspect he's trying to create extra leverage for himself. Arum has told me he takes Marquez at face value, at his word, and doesn't think Marquez is posturing. That said, the promoter told me Thursday at a presser for the April 13 Nonito Donaire-Guillermo Rigondeaux Radio City Music Hall card that he wants to hear more from Marquez about a September clash between the rivals. At BB King's, Arum told NYFightblog about his plans to chat with Marquez. "There's no hurry in trying to make the fight," he said. "But me and Marquez were supposed to meet in San Diego (Wednesday) night. He had another appointment, so he'll be in Vegas Monday, and we'll have a meeting Tuesday."

Hmm, another appointment? Marquez not playing hard to get still? Hmm.

"My feeling is both men are open to fighting each other," he continued.

And is the tentative plan still to hold that bout outside the U.S., in a place where the taxman won't help himself to as large a chunk of revenue? "It's all numbers, man," he said. How much can be generated outside the States will be compared to how much would be generated here, and then it will be clearer if it is worth it to try and save on taxes.

And, if Marquez balks, and doesn't want to fight Manny next, what is Plan B for Pacman? "My job as a promoter is to make that fight happen," Arum said. "If I can't, and I don't believe I can't, then we'll figure out alternatives. But not till I exhaust every option."

Should Pacquiao fight on?

January, 19, 2013
For Manny Pacquiao fans, the best-case scenario heading into his Dec. 8 clash with Juan Manuel Marquez was that he’d conclusively beat Marquez, preferably by KO, and then hammer out a deal to meet Floyd Mayweather in the spring.

Things went off the rails, though, when Pacquiao got dropped and stopped in Round 6 by a counter right hand by Marquez. He hit the canvas like a sack of flour, and was out of it for a while. That sight scared people, and some Manny-iacs found themselves wondering if Pacquiao should, at age 34, hang up the gloves and concentrate on politics in the Philippines full-time.

But it appears Pacquiao doesn’t want to go out like that. He shrugged off public speculation by two doctors in his homeland, who theorized that his brain might already be irrevocably compromised, and according to his promoter, Bob Arum, is looking forward to getting back in the ring next year.

Arum told that Pacquiao is keen on returning in April, against a foe to be determined, but finding a good venue hasn't gone smoothly. And then there’s also the matter of April being election season in the Philippines. Pacquiao's brother and wife are running for posts, and the fighter doesn’t want to get involved in a training camp and fight instead of aiding his loved ones’ campaigns. Trainer Freddie Roach said he’d be happier having Pacquiao not take a tuneup before a fifth Marquez scrap. Thus, all have seemingly decided that a September date, likely against Marquez again, makes the most sense.

Arum talked more about Pacquiao's plans. “What those doctors did was totally irresponsible,” he said. “Obviously all of us are worried about Manny, and since his real career will be after he leaves the ring, in politics, I’ve suggested he be examined by the best doctors at the Cleveland Clinic -- probably do that by the end of May.”

Arum said he investigated booking the Venetian in Macau, but it was already booked, by a Korean pop star, so that also factored into September being the target return date. Roach said doctors told Pacquiao he didn't suffer a concussion versus Marquez, Pacquiao was alert and sharp -- playing chess right after the loss -- and has had a fine time traveling to Jerusalem and Hong Kong with his family. It seems like Roach is totally comfortable with Pacquiao fighting on -- and that says something, since Roach deals with Parkinson's disesase, and we feel strongly that if Roach saw any early signs of something similar in Pacquiao, he'd sound an alarm.

Readers, what say you? Should Pacquiao fight on, or exit the stage? Weigh in!

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Robert Garcia sparred Salido

January, 18, 2013
Trainer Robert Garcia has a pretty good read on what Orlando Salido brings to the table at the Madison Square Garden Theater on the Top Rank-HBO show Saturday.

Robert has done his due diligence ahead of younger brother Mikey's clash against the featherweight titlist, watching ample tape of Salido. But Robert has an even more intimate basis of knowledge on Salido, because he has sparred with him.

Yep, the former IBF super featherweight champion, who boxed as a pro from 1992-2001, used Salido for sparring for his last fight, a TKO4 win over John Trigg in September 2001.

I asked Robert -- who, along with dad Eduardo, tutors Mikey -- if he recalls anything from the sparring which will help him devise a strategy for Mikey.

"No, that was so long ago," he said. "Salido was a young guy." Salido had already been a pro for five years, but yes, he has advanced far beyond that stage.

While I had Robert, I put him on the spot. "Forgive my directness ... but who is the better fighter, you at your best or Mikey?"

The amiable older brother thought for a moment. "I'm done fighting," he said. "I think he's way better. In my big fights I sort of turned into a brawler. Mikey fights smart."

Cameron Dunkin, who manages Mikey, piped in: "Robert was a helluva fighter. I remember he fought Julian Wheeler, gave him a helluva fight, and Juan Manuel Marquez destroyed Wheeler. But Mikey is special."

Arum: Gambling $ key to Pacquiao-Marquez 5

January, 16, 2013
Bob Arum is a dream interview in that he works without the sort of filter a reporter is used to dealing with. The Brooklyn-born dealmaker lives in Vegas now, but he still has that NYC bite, and candor. It was on display at the Kingsway Gym in NYC on Wednesday, as he chatted about the Saturday-night show he is co-promoting, with K2, at the Madison Square Garden Theater. That card is topped by a scrap between WBO featherweight champ Orlando Salido and Mikey Garcia, as well as a meetup between WBO middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin and Gabriel Rosado, and a fight between WBO junior lightweight titlist Rocky Martinez against challenger Juan Carlos Burgos. All three bouts will run on HBO.

Arum was talking about where the next Manny Pacquiao fight might land. Macau? Singapore? Mexico City? All were discussed, as he talked about what might be next for the 34-year-old hitter, who tasted defeat at the hands of rival Juan Manuel Marquez on December 8.

Arum made clear that the fight would not take place in the Philippines, Manny’s homeland, because the economy won't support the high ticket prices that fly in Vegas and some other parts of the world.

“Mexico City has a very affluent group there,” he said, and mentioned that the government’s possible willingness to subsidize the promotion, to help lure the prized face-off, could play into the decision on where it will land. The leaders in Macau, he said, also might be willing to sweeten the pot to land the bout.

Arum said that gambling money looms large in choosing where to place a mega-bout. UFC in November ran in Macau, in a 6,000-seat venue, and the casinos there did $28 million more in business than on a typical Saturday night, according to Arum. “They want these fights,” he said. “The high rollers ... They’re the ones with the money and the gambling addiction.”

Two casinos in Singapore, Arum said, make more annually than all the casinos in Nevada combined. A fight in Macau, half a day ahead of us, would actually work, Arum said, because the gamblers there don’t care what time it is, so a Pacquiao-Marquez bout could be staged there on a Sunday morning.

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