Boxing


Manny Pacquiao Says He’ll Retire Before Age 35, Says He IS Willing To Fight Sergio Martinez, But Below 150-Pounds

By James Slater - Yesterday, on various boxing web sites, the dominant topic was just who world middleweight king Sergio Martinez might fight next. Fresh off that spectacular, KO Of The Year knockout of Paul “The Punisher” Williams, the amazing 35-year-old from Argentina was the fighter on everyone’s lips.

However, the very idea of Martinez facing fellow southpaw Manny Pacquiao next year drew strong reactions from fight fans. Some fans said outright that the idea of the middleweight ruler facing the much smaller eight-weight ruler in the ring is a very foolish one indeed; claiming Pac-Man, who weighed way under the light-middleweight limit in his fight against Antonio Margarito, would have next to no chance..

Other fans, a smaller number it must be said, welcomed the idea of the pound-for-pound king getting it on with Martinez, but not at 160-pounds, at 154-pounds.

And today, ABS CBN news.com have a short interview article with Pacquiao, in which the fighter-congressman speaks about who he would like to fight next, in 2011. And guess what? Manny said he IS willing to fight Martinez, the very fighter many fans wholeheartedly dismissed as a future foe for the Filipino legend.

Pacquiao, when asked who he’d fight next, after taking that well earned six month break he spoke about previously, said he’d fight “anyone,” including Martinez. There is, however, a catch: Pac-Man said that if a fight between he and Martinez did happen, it would have to be fought at under 150-pounds. Pacquiao fought and defeated Margarito at a catch-weight of 150-pounds (Margarito, by the way is even taller than Martinez, by a full inch), and he says he would be willing to do pretty much the same with the reigning middleweight champ.

Of course, if this did happen, Pac-Man would not be going for an amazing ninth world title - but a win over Martinez, even at 150-pounds, would be an accomplishment to really put Pacquiao in the history books as one of the best of all-time (even if some fans would moan that Martinez had to seriously weaken himself to make 150).

But will Martinez, who has said he will see what offers are presented to him, take a catch-weight fight with Pacquiao? At 150 it’s highly unlikely, and unless Pacquiao can be persuaded to agree to a higher catch-weight, say 154-pounds, the fight is probably destined not to happen.

So if a Pacquiao-Martinez clash doesn’t happen, who will Pac-Man fight in his next fight?

Pacquiao, who said recently that he will retire “before he turns 35,” mentioned how he is also willing to fight Shane Mosley next, “since he’s a good fighter and a champion,” or Floyd Mayweather Junior, if “Money” agrees to the mega-clash. “No problem. That would be a good fight,” Manny said.

The superstar ruled out a third fight with Mexican great Juan Manuel Marquez, though, claiming “no-one would watch” a third clash between the two of them. Adding that a third bout with Marquez “wouldn’t be a very good fight,” Pac-Man seemed to put the final nail in that coffin.

Pacquiao is almost certainly wrong when he says no-one would watch he and “Dinamita” fight a third fight, as if it happened the fan interest would be substantial. But, how much fan interest would there be if Pacquiao got it on with Martinez? The Argentine warrior has said he will not fight Pacquiao, as he is “too small,” and it’s a gimme he will not like that 150-pound offer from Manny. But, money talks in this sport, and if Martinez were offered an unimaginable amount of cash for a Pacquiao fight, and if Team-Pac-Man were willing to be a touch more flexible on the exact catch-weight the fight would go ahead at, anything is possible. Remember, when the idea of an Oscar De La Hoya-Manny Pacquiao fight was first put forth, fans almost universally derided the idea.

Article posted on 22.11.2010



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