Monthly Archives: May 2012
By Alex P. Vidal
HOLLYWOOD, California – When Timothy Ray Bradley Jr. declared recently he is “going to be all over” Manny Pacquiao when they clash for the WBO welterweight 12-round championship at the MGM Grand, he must have been reviewing the chart of their previous fights where they both bundled out their respective foes in contrasting fashions.
Both champion Pacquiao, 33, and challenger Bradley, 28, last fought on November 12, 2011 in a pair of world title fights and logged punch statistics that could serve as guide for oddsmakers and experts to assess the outcome of their showdown on June 9.
Pacquiao (54-3, 38 KOs) escaped with a disputed 12-round majority decision win in a trilogy against Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6, 39 KOs) to grab the WBO 147-lb diadem, while Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) stopped Joel Casamayor (38-6, 22 KOs) in the 8th round to keep his WBO 140-lb belt.
Although Pacquiao outpunched Marquez (14-11 in average per round), Bradley released the most number of power punches (346) against Casamayor (136) and connected 177 against Casamayor’s 136. Pacquiao was able to connect 117 of his total 274 power punches.
Floyd Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) was busier than Pacquiao and Bradley. The popular black American ring superstar connected 128 of the 382 power punches thrown en route to trouncing by unanimous decision defending WBA junior middleweight ruler Miguel Angel Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) on May 5, 2012 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bradley cautioned Pacquiao not to underestimate him. “I have been an underdog my whole career. You think Marquez gave him a tough time? I’m going to be all over him,” vowed the unbeaten challenger nicknamed “The Desert Storm.”
Bradley said he is unfazed by Pacquiao’s winning streak in world title fights saying the most feared fighter outside the heavyweight division from Saranggani Province in the Philippines has failed to score a knockout against fancied but “old, straight-forward fighters” in his last four performances.
He belittled Pacquiao’s wins against Joshua Clottey (34), Antonio Margarito (34), Shane Mosley (40), and Marquez (38) saying they were “lackadaisical.”
“He’ll have to dig down deep to beat me,” Bradley warned the Filipino congressman.
“I slip, slide, bob and weave,” Bradley added. “I have good footwork. For Manny, he’ll be looking at himself when he sees me. The only advantage he has on me is his power. But I can go to the body if he gets reckless. I’m young, in my prime, and I have a lot of confidence and swagger. I don’t fear this guy. He’s just a guy to me. He hasn’t proved he’s better.”
By Alex P. Vidal
HOLLYWOOD, California – Even if the Grove, Jinky Pacquiao’s most favorite shopping center in Los Angeles, will lift the ban on Manny Pacquiao, the damage on the Filipino world champion’s name has been done.
The mall management issued a terse statement May 15 evening that the 33-year-old lawmaker from Saranggani Province in the Philippines was persona non grata at the popular outdoor shopping center a day before Pacquiao’s scheduled interview with “Extra,” which regularly films at the mall next to the Original Farmer’s Market at Third Street and Fairfax Avenue.
The mall, the report said, was reacting to Pacquiao’s statement where he disagreed with President Obama’s stand in favor of gay marriage.
“Based on news reports of statements made by Mr. Pacquiao, we have made it be known that he is not welcome at the Grove and will not be interviewed here now or in the future,” said the mall management quoted by the Los Angeles Times. “The Grove is a gathering place for all Angelenos and not a place for intolerance.”
Quoting the same source, the LA Times reported that “Grove officials feared that allowing Pacquiao’s interview to go forward at the mall could have proved disruptive.”
The article, where the Grove management based its ban on Pacquiao, stated that “Pacquiao’s directive for Obama calls societies to fear God and not promote sin, inclusive of same-sex marriage and cohabitation.”
Stoking further controversy, the LA Times said, the story quoted Leviticus 20:13, saying: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
Pacquiao has denied quoting that biblical reference saying he had nothing against gay people and that hateful comments attributed to him were untrue. Writer Granville Ampong also confirmed he did not attribute the statement to the boxing champion saying the Leviticus verse was his own version. Some American newsmen who picked the story may have wrongly attributed the Leviticus statement on Pacquiao, it was reported.
“To the gay community, I apologize,” Pacquiao declared during the “Extra” taping held in his L.A. house as reported by L.A. Times. “I’m against same-sex marriage, but I’m not condemning you. My favorite verse is ‘Love one another as you love yourself. Love your neighbors. So I love everybody!”
Many boxing fans and shoppers have expressed displeasure that the reigning WBO welterweight titlist was barred from the mall saying the order was “divisive and discriminatory.”
“It (the mall) shot before asking a question,” lamented shopper Felipe Fontaine of Orange County. “Since Pacquiao has denied saying the harmful words against gays and most of his fans believe him, the fans should retaliate by boycotting the mall.”
During the Christmas shopping season, fake snow is produced periodically during the night in the mall. In mid-November, the Grove Christmas Tree goes up. At 110 feet, it is the tallest Christmas tree in the city of Los Angeles.
As this developed, Yahoo news reported that “hundreds of netizens have supported a petition asking sportswear company Nike to drop Pacquiao as an endorser, following his opposition against gay marriage.”
The petition, initiated by Gay Marriage USA via Change.org, asks Nike to “say ‘no’ to hate speech” by withdrawing its sponsorship of Pacquiao, a champion boxer whom the brand has supported since 2008, it was reported.
“Following (U.S. President Barack) Obama’s recent announcement of support for marriage equality, Pacquiao quoted Bible excerpts to state that homosexuals should be put to death: If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads,” the petition read.
By Alex P. Vidal
HOLLYWOOD, California – Now that they have buried their hatchet, WBA junior middleweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. and HBO senior commentator Larry Merchant are expected to step into the ring together again in the future for a post-fight interview in Mayweather’s next fight as they used to do prior to their verbal joust that grabbed headlines last year.
If Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) would fight again after completing his jail sentence which commences on June1, it could be against Manny Pacquiao (54-3, 38 KOs), who is favored to put away Timothy Ray Bradley Jr. (28-0, 11 KOs) on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mayweather, 35, had called for Merchant to be fired due to Merchant declaring that Mayweather cheated in his WBC welterweight fourth round KO win against Victor Ortiz (29-3, 22 KOs) on September 17, 2011. Mayweather then offered “free advice” to HBO that it should fire Merchant. The unbeaten boxer told the analyst, “You don’t know shit about boxing.”
Mayweather grew irritated by Merchant’s questioning and interrupted Merchant by saying “You never give me a fair shake…They can put somebody else up here to give me an interview. HBO need to fire you. You don’t know shit about boxing. You ain’t shit…All of these boxing experts – how can you be a boxing expert if you never had a fight before?” Floyd Mayweather, Jr.’s outburst led to Merchant responding: “I wish I was 50 years younger and I would kick your ass.” Later Mayweather defended his outburst by saying that “Everybody is tired of Larry Merchant.”
After Mayweather whipped Cotto for the WBA diadem on May 5, 2012, Merchant, 81, admitted that Mayweather had apologized the night before the bout and accepted the apology.
Merchant has told USA TODAY Sports he didn’t think the brouhaha was hype. “His September thing was spontaneous. And I just responded spontaneously because I wasn’t smart to think that up,” he said. “If I was smart enough to figure out something that would go around the world three times before I left the ring, I’d be doing something else. … He’s the star. He made a big gesture. We’ll move on.”
But Mayweather was all smiles on-air with Merchant and told HBO’s JimLampley that he was wrong about Merchant.
“His September thing was spontaneous. And I just responded spontaneously because I wasn’t smart to think that up,” Merchant said. “If I was smart enough to figure out something that would go around the world three times before I left the ring, I’d be doing something else. … He’s the star. He made a big gesture. We’ll move on.”
An Army radio operator, Merchant said the Mayweather flap was sort of an old story. “Athletes, like all of us, want love,” he said. “They think you’re great and know everything when you give them love. Once you don’t, they’re not so enamored.”
Famous boxers who have clashed with Merchant include Mike Tyson, Oscar de la Hoya. The De La Hoya incident came during his fight with Pernell Whitaker. When De la Hoya entered the ring to Mariachi music, Merchant stated that while he loved Mariachi music, he felt that it “stunk” in this particular situation. Merchant would later apologize on the air after De La Hoya tried to have him removed from HBO.
Merchant is well known for his postfight interviews which feature his hard hitting, blunt questions and confrontational interview style. These have drawn both praise and ire in the past. Fans have claimed them to be candid and honest while detractors consider them to be purposely agitational and insensitive at times. An example of this occurred when Vernon Forrest won a controversial decision in 2006 over Ike Quartey. When Forrest thanked those close to him, Merchant quipped, “Would you also like to thank the judges?”
In 1985, Merchant received the Sam Taub Award for Boxing Broadcast Journalism presented by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He is also the author of three books. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. In October 2002, he was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in Los Angeles.