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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bob Arum: Why would Manny Pacquiao quit at top of his game?

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Boxing Examiner | Michael Marley

HOLLYWOOD--As befits a fight promoter, particularly a giant of the industry for four decades, Bob Arum is rooting for his pocketbook.

The Top Rank top honcho showed up at Manny Pacquiao's dog and pony ritual known as “Media Day” at the Wild Card Gym Wednesday and more than one journalist asked him if he thought Pacman might leave boxing soon.

These were not warming words as Arum had just breathlessly claimed that 45,000 paying customers will gather at Jerry's World, the sparkling new Dallas Cowboys football stadium in Arlington on March 13 to see Pacquiao defend the WBO welterweight crown against rugged Ghanaian Joshua Clottey.

Arum doesn't want his chief meal ticket saying “adios,” he's hoping that, after chewing up and spitting out Clottey, that Manny will echo the words of Al Pacino in “Scent Of A Woman,” the 1992 movie in which the blind but feisty actor barked, “I'm just getting warmed up!"

Dialogue from the movie:

Trask: Are you finished, Mr. Slade?

Slade: No. I’m just gettin’ warmed up. Now I don’t know who went to this place–William Howard Taft, William Jennings Bryan, William Tell–whoever. Their spirit is dead; if they ever had one, it’s gone. You’re building a rat ship here. A vessel for sea going snitches. And if you think you’re preparing these minnows for manhood you better think again. Because I say you are killing the very spirit this institution proclaims it instills. What a sham! What kind of show are you guys puttin’ on here today. I mean, the only class in this act is sittin’ next to me. And I say, this boy’s soul is in tact. It is non-negotiable. You know how I know. Because someone here–I’m not gonna say who–offered to buy it. Only Charlie here wasn’t selling.

Trask: Sir, you are out of order!

Slade: Out of order, I’ll show you out of order! You don’t know what out of order is Mr.Trask! I’d show you but I’m too old, I’m too tired, and I’m too fuc--in’ blind. If I were the man I was five years ago I’d take a flame-thrower to this place..."

It does seem an odd question for a 31 year old fighter but I can understand it in view of Pacquiao's wealth and his political ambitions.

(See ESPN scribe Shelley Smith on a day at the Pacman Circus complete with autos ready to be towed in two languages.)

“So,” Arum said, “I don't think Manny is going to quit fighting now. Why, he is at the top of his game. We have sold 38,000 total tickets and we sold 2,000 Tuesday.”

“It's all up to Manny, if he wants to retire then I support him. He has already had a great career. If he wants to continue, then that is fine also.”

Media Mavens flock to Pacman Media Day: (From left), Erick Esteban, Pinoy actor-writer-comedian whose alter ego is "Minny Pacquiao"; veteran and distiinguished ESPN correspondent and author Shelley Smith and the Young Howard Cosell, AOL Fanhouse correspondent Elie Sekbach "reporting." (Michael Marley Photo)

You might think some boxing decisions might be made as soon Arum and Pacman see what unfolds in the Shane Mosley-Floyd Mayweather bout May 1 in Las Vegas.

Arum said that Pacman's world is not going to change on May 2.

“I probably won't talk to him about as future bout, I won't bother Manny until after his Congressional election campaign in Sarangani ends on May 10."

I spoke to Manny directly about his future Monday night and he mentioned wanting to depart from the ring "at the top of my game" but he seemed uncertain about the issue.

Personally, as I've said in the past, if Pacman does put away his gloves I think it will be for a period of short duration as I have not seen too many 31 year old multimillionaires in the sport who could make retirement stick. In fact, I haven't seen any.

Arum waxed enthusiastic about Pacman's return to the Lone Star State.

"This fight in the big stadium shows the real appeal of boxing. It will be a great night for boxing and you may not know it but the very same night the Lakers will play the Mavericks so you'll have about 45,000 at the fights and 20,000 at the basketball game.

“It's going to be a marvelous scene in Texas. And you ain't see nothing yet because we're going to Yankee Stadium June 5 with Yuri Foreman against Miguel Cotto and then I will do a show in the new Giants-Jets stadium in the Meadowlands next spring. We're bringing boxing to the big stadiums and it is great.”

Arum naturally took a few bodyshots at the Mayweather-Mosley promotion.

“They do simulated fights like that press conference nonsense. Muhammad Ali carried those things off, he was a better actor than Mayweather. Pacquiao and Clottey act like gentleman at press conferences because they both save all their energy, all their fury for the 12 round fight.”

Arum sticks to his party line that Mayweather-Pacman can happen only if Mayweather's team agrees that only Nevada boxing commission drug testing rules, which are limited, are followed and not the random blood testing Floyd's minions have demanded.

“Above all, and this is what Manny told me months ago, a Filipino is not going to be bullied in or out of the ring.”

Let's see if Manny sets a flamethrower to Cowboys Stadium. Then we might know if he's just getting warmed up.


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