Bets are already being taken in Vegas. The inevitable "this fight must happen to save boxing" are already beginning. (A dubious view, given that boxing has enjoyed some really impressive pay-per-view numbers this year, none of which involved Oscar De La Hoya, the supposed last fighter ever with mainstream appeal.)
And finally, Mayweather Jr. is flapping his gums. Floyd said in a statement a couple days after Pacquiao-Cotto that Manny would be "easy work".
He also demonstrated his propensity for preposterousness on a couple of fronts. First, he engaged in a long-winded criticism on how Manny has never explicitly said he wants to fight Mayweather, a useless bit of semantics. Second, he said the Pacquiao fight was a no-win proposition because the Filipino is the smaller man and has already been beaten three times.
Such is the world that Mayweather inhabits, where an unbeaten mark rules above all else, even if the path to it has only periodically involved fighting the toughest foes. By Mayweather's logic, we should have stopped paying attention to Bernard Hopkins after 1994, as he was an exposed fighter with two losses on his ledger.
Expect more salvos in the war of words. Floyd Mayweather Sr. has said in the past that he believes Pacquiao's great recent performances just two years after fighting 12-15 pounds south of the welterweight division are in large part the result of using performance enhancers.
There'll be less smack talk on the other side of the equation, although Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach has been increasingly boastful about his charge over the last couple of years.
Roach says he wants Pacquiao to fight Mayweather next, and well he should. If they fight in May or June, Mayweather will step into the ring having fought only once in the previous 30 months, a fight against the overmatched Juan Manuel Marquez.
It will be the most lucrative fight ever, but making it could take some work. Expect Mayweather to demand a majority of the share, citing his great numbers for Marquez despite two years away from the sport. There is also talk of huge football venues and even Yankee Stadium, but don't expect this bout to be anywhere but Las Vegas.
I know I'm in the minority, but I won't be too bummed if Mayweather engages in another fight first before the superfight fully marinates. I want to see the best fight the best at optimal conditions, with no excuses involving ring rust or other factors.
The positive part of all this buzz is that it shows that fans only care about great matchups, not the titles a fighter may hold. Unfortunately, that leaves Shane Mosley out in the cold.
Mosley, who fights Andre Berto on Jan. 30, is the legitimate welterweight champion at the moment. He drubbed Antonio Margarito (who beat Cotto in the wake of Mayweather's "retirement") for that right but has been looking for a fight for nearly a year.
I'm still of the mind that Mosley-Mayweather and Mosley-Pacquiao would end up being more exciting fights than Mosley-Pacquiao, though of course not bigger events. The other two camps no doubt think that Mosley, even at 38, is too much risk for the monetary reward as he's never been able to approximate the kind of wide box office appeal they have.
As for Mayweather-Pacquiao, I'm not sure there's ever been a matchup of two guys with such fast hands. It would plenty intriguing and exciting to watch unfold, but I'm still not convinced the action would be sensational, owing to Mayweather's boxing acumen. But Manny's proven me wrong a couple of times already!
Fighter of the Blog
Who else? Call it a balance knockdown if you want, but it was a pretty ominous sign for Cotto supporters when Pacquiao dropped him in the third with his right hand, the so-called weaker one. In the fourth, Pacquiao landed his moneymaker, the left, and the fight was all but over.
I proved less successful in prognosticating this fight than Hilary Clinton, although she made her pick from Manila. I didn't think Cotto's performance against Josh Clottey in June was terrible - I'm not sure Clottey in his prime will ever be authoritatively beaten - but it's clear that Cotto is not the same fighter who stepped into the ring with Antonio Margarito.
You can decide for yourself if Margarito's gloves contained a plaster-like substance that night (he was caught before his next bout) but the Cotto who nipped Mosley just two years ago was not the same guy who stepped into the ring on Saturday. There were a couple of occasions in the first three rounds where Cotto had Manny in a vulnerable spot on the ropes, but simply couldn't pull the trigger.
But in the end, the beating of Pacquiao's fists comes with no asterisk.
A bit surprised so many thought the main event was the Fight of the Year so far. Manny's definitely the Fighter of the Year, and it was the Performance of the Year, but I just can't make it a triple crown.
For four rounds and change it was the type of gut-churning rollercoaster type fun that few other sports can match, if any, but once you realized in the fifth that Cotto wasn't going to recover from that second knockdown, the outcome was inevitable. And towards the end, it was painful to watch.
What this fight needed to become Fight of the Year, in my mind, was one more shift in momentum, even slight, to show that there was still some doubt. An impressive Cotto flurry or even a nasty cut for Pacquiao might have sufficed in that regard.
Until proven otherwise in the next few weeks, I still have Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz pencilled in as Fight of the Year, an exciting fight with shifts in momentum whose outcome was in doubt until the final round.
Onward and upward (in weight)
There's a terrific fight on tap for this Saturday, arguably the best matchup that can be made among the six fighters in the Showtime super middleweight tournament. Mikkel Kessler of Denmark has only been beaten once, and there was no shame in losing a close-ish decision to the great Joe Calzaghe. Kessler was actually winning that bout after five rounds until Calzaghe adapted.
Kessler has a huge edge in experience over Andre Ward, but he's looked robotic from time to time, making the quick-fisted American a live underdog. Two other factors help give Ward a decent chance: Kessler is out of friendly environs, fighting in the U.S. for the first time in nine years (in Ward's backyard) and his opposition since the Calzaghe loss two years ago has been unremarkable.
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