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Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Pacquiao fight at MSG gaining steam?

By Michael Woods

Manny Pacquiao
New York fight fans would stand and cheer for a Pacquiao fight at MSG.
Manny at MSG.

Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

Can you picture it?

Can you conjure the earlobe-wobbling decibel level that would be achieved if Pacquiao did his thing in NYC -- if the Manny-iacs jammed the Garden to the rafters, and made the Knicks pennants flap with the force of the sound waves?

That notion has heretofore merely been a pipe dream for folks like myself with decidedly selfish interests, New York residents who believe there is nothing quite like an NYC arena packed to the gills with hyperactive boxing fans, screaming their lungs into their cups for their preferred pugilist.

Manny indicated he was enamored of the atmosphere at a big Garden fight, like when Cotto fought Antonio Margarito there. He would love to fight at the Garden if it could be worked out.

-- Top Rank's Carl Moretti
I've asked Pacman's promoter, Brooklyn-born Bob Arum of Las Vegas-based Top Rank, and his responses over the years have ranged from wistful to dismissive.

Mostly, the primary impediment of late has been the tax situation. Onerous rates imposed by the state, as compared to states which do not collect income tax, have made a Pacquiao fight in N.Y. a no-go concept.

But the boxer himself has warmed up to the idea, I am told.

Carl Moretti, a New Jersey resident who is a VP at Top Rank, told me he was talking a couple days ago to Pacman at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, where Pacquiao is holding court with trainer Freddie Roach in anticipation of an April 12 scrap. That bout is a rematch, running on HBO pay-per-view, between Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley, the California-based boxer who is coming off a career-best win over Pacman rival Juan Manuel Marquez on Oct. 12, 2013.

"It came up at the gym about Miguel Cotto fighting at the Garden June 7 against Sergio Martinez, because Freddie Roach is training Cotto for the fight," Moretti told me. "And Manny indicated he was enamored of the atmosphere at a big Garden fight, like when Cotto fought Antonio Margarito there [on Dec. 3, 2011]. He would love to fight at the Garden if it could be worked out."

But what about that T-word, Carl?

"The tax thing, I think, could maybe be worked out if you went over it with a fine-tooth comb," he replied. "What you lose on taxes, you might pick up in value you cannot measure exactly, in exposure and marketing."

So chew on that, area fight fans. That would be a great get, Pacman at MSG. Sounds to me like it is more of a possibility than it ever has been.