'We Want Floyd!'
Fans clamour for Pacquiao-Mayweather match; Negotiations begin next week
Postfight report by Andreas Hale
Photos by Chris Cozzone
After Manny Pacquiao’s domination of Miguel Cotto en route to claiming his 7th world title in as many weight classes, a chant of “We want Floyd” showered the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
The fans weren't the only ones hoping that, somehow, Floyd "Money" Mayweather will step up to the plate to take on boxing's No. 1 pound-for-pound champion.
“Master” Freddie Roach mentioned the name “Mayweather” during the post fight interview with Larry Merchant. Hell, even the popular social networking site Twitter saw “Mayweather” become a trending topic without the man who calls himself “Money” even setting foot in a boxing ring on this evening.
Everyone one was saying it, even if Pacquiao wouldn’t say it himself.
The Filipino sensation’s domination of Miguel Cotto – which ended mercifully with a 12th round TKO and earned him the WBO welterweight championship – proves that the only fight the world wants now is a mega fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather. During the post fight press conference, Bob Arum and HBO sports television network chief Ross Greenburg stated that preliminary negotiations with Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaeffer could begin as early as next week.
Meanwhile, the media had another post fight press conference where only Manny Pacquiao showed up. Again, Pacquiao sent another fighter to the hospital. Oscar De La Hoya had has face (and ego) too battered to show up. Ricky Hatton needed immediate medical attention after being obliterated by the Pacman. Cotto would also fall victim to the brutal beating that Pacquiao bestowed upon him as he too would need to go to the hospital.
“I’m cut (and) I’m swollen. I just had a fight, that’s the way I’m supposed to look,” Cotto –who falls to 34-2, 27 KOs said via statement. “I did my best and fought the best fighter I ever fought. I’m going to take some time off and figure out what I’m going to do next. I hope the fans enjoyed the fight.”
Shortly after that statement was read, the ever growing legend of Manny Pacquiao entered the room with Roach and the rest of Team Pacquiao behind him. The Pac Man was all smiles even though his right ear was a bandaged up after having to have fluid drained in the locker room. Aside from that, Pacquiao looked almost just as good as he did when he entered the ring on Saturday night.
“Another great night,” Roach said regarding yet another dominant performance that saw Pacquiao vanquish another foe with a stirring performance. “Manny Pacquiao is just unbelievable. The first couple of rounds, he had me worried. He wasn’t following the game plan. Towards the end of the second he started getting into the program. He made it look easy after that. I’m very proud of him.”
In the beginning, the battle looked to be dangerous for both fighters. They exchanged punches at a frantic pace as the 16,200 rabid fans at the MGM Grand Garden roared with approval. It looked like fight fans were going to be in for a classic before Pacquiao turned it into a one sided affair.
“In the first three rounds I tried to measure his power,” Pacquiao explained. “I’m talking to him during the fight because I’m trying to fight toe to toe with him. Before the fight his camp was saying he’s bigger and stronger. I just wanted to let them know that in the fight we were going to see who’s stronger and tougher.”
The third and fourth rounds would be telling as Pacquiao floored Cotto with a right hand in the third and a menacing straight right, uppercut combination that dropped Cotto and changed the dynamics of the fight in the fourth. From that point on, Pacquiao had broken Cotto’s will and proved that he was stronger and faster than the Puerto Rican.
“I think we proved that we’re stronger,” Roach said. “Manny leaned on the ropes a couple of times and we trained not to do that. But he wanted to test Cotto’s power. He said ‘He can’t hurt me.’ Manny can punch with any 147 pounder in the world. He has great power and speed. I think He proved everything tonight.”
As the fight progressed, it became eerily reminiscent of the beating that Cotto took at the hands of Antonio Margarito – without accusations of loaded gloves of course. This one would not be in question as Pacquiao began stalking and rocking a badly battered Cotto from round six until Kenny Bayless waved the fight off at :55 into the twelfth round.
With the victory, Pacquiao improves to an extraordinary 50-3-2 with his 38th knockout victory. The manner in which he has beaten his opponents has become the stuff of legend. The record seventh world title in a seventh weight class ups the ante on his pound for pound greatest of all time argument. But for Manny, he’s just trying to give fans thrilling fights.
“I don’t want to compare my achievements to any fighter who made (an impact) in boxing,” Pacquiao said as the names Ali, Leonard and Robinson were tossed around. “I’m just doing my job to give a good fight. My goal is to give happiness to all those who watch us.”
“I’ll compare him to those guys,” Roach interjected. “He’s as good as any of them. He’s the greatest fighter of his era. That’s for sure.”
“I always think to myself that I’m an ordinary fighter,” Pacquiao responded.
“You’re not ordinary,” Roach rifled back.
A wide smile crossed Pacquiao’s face as he reluctantly accepted the label while also apologizing to the man who has guided him to such an incredible run in boxing.
“I’m sorry, master,” Pacquiao said to a rousing room full of laughter.
The elephant in the room is the question no media outlet truly wants to ask because of the redundancy of it all. But finally a reporter steps up and asks “Pacquiao vs Mayweather?”
“I think that’s the fight the world wants to see,” Roach said regarding what seems to be an eminent clash between the two “But we’ll fight whoever is out there. Whoever we negotiate the best deal with. If Floyd wants a 65/35 split, he’s not going to get it.”
“We’ll offer him that Freddie,” Arum chimed in – obviously reversing the tables.
“Yeah we’ll take 65% and give him 35%,” Roach joked back.
As many fight fans know, the biggest obstacle going into a possible fight with Mayweather is indeed the name that Mayweather calls himself these days: “Money.” If they can manage to agree on a split, the boxing world will be in for one of the biggest boxing matches of all time. It is a fight that can easily eclipse the PPV buys of De La Hoya and Mayweather. It’s also a fight that many consider the biggest fight of our generation between two fighters who have nothing left to prove to anyone but each other.
But on this evening, Manny Pacquiao isn’t concerned about fighting Mayweather. His focus lies in spending some time with his family back in the Philippines and letting Bob Arum and Top Rank sort his future. His immediate focus is pleasing his fans – not with a fight – with a concert featuring eight songs by the Pac Man.
“I think this was one of the toughest fights in my boxing career. I took a lot of boxing from Cotto,” Pacquiao explains before turning his focus and promoting his concert. “But after this I have a concert at Mandalay Bay. (I’m performing) eight songs with my band from the Philippines!”
That’s the Manny Pacquiao we have all grown to love. All he ever wants to do is please his countrymen and give his fans what they want. As the media room explodes in laughter, Pacquaio walks back to the podium and asks the reporters a question before they head back to their hotel rooms to finish writing their story about the epic clash between Cotto and Pacquiao.
“You want a sample?”
The room erupts and urges Pacquiao to sing one of his songs.
“I’d rather hurt you honestly than with a lie…”
It’s just like the song says. Pacquiao’s truth is in his fists and if you ask any of his opponents – the truth hurts.