Boxing Roundtable: What's next for Pacquiao, Margarito and Haye?
Why should we believe the megafight is going to happen after slipping from a silver platter into a snake pit? Two reasons. The first is money. The richest fight in history could mean a $40 million payday for both men. The other, as Max Kellerman put forth in an op-ed at the end of Saturday's HBO telecast, can be referenced as the Leonard-Hagler theory. Kellerman suggested that Mayweather was waiting until Pacquiao was past his peak, not unlike Sugar Ray Leonard's putting off the Marvin Hagler fight for years. (Hagler suffered his first defeat in more than a decade on a controversial decision when they finally met in 1987 ... and never fought again.)
Pacquiao is expected to fight in May and November of next year. My gut instinct says one of those fights will be against Shane Mosley and the other against someone not named Floyd. I'm not giving up hope completely on Pacquiao-Mayweather; I'm just not going to spend the next year hand-wringing over it.
Whitaker, of course, was the anti-Manny, eschewing every chance to mix it up and sacrificing power to insure his astounding defensive control (hence his mere 17 KOs in 40 victories). By contrast, Hagler and Pacquiao are kindred spirits, both tremendous offensive forces and natural warriors. I rank Hagler at the top of the lefties, but Manny's looking pretty marvelous too.
But should he keep fighting? Freddie Roach told me that he would be surprised if Margarito ever fought again. Beatings like that are hard to get over and we don't know the extent of the damage, beyond the broken cheekbone. Margarito should think long and hard about whether he wants to continue after that.
Then the bell rang and Margarito showed unforgettable heart and courage, boosting his chances for another major payday in 2011. But I thought it could have been stopped in the ninth and
For those living under the presumption that heavyweight is still boxing's bellwether division, either of the Haye-Klitschko fights is vitally important to the sport. It's been more than a decade since the recognized titles were unified, and the lack of a singular identifiable heavyweight champion has done immeasurable damage. Haye is just the sort of headline-grabbing figure the division needs. He's worn the severed heads of the Klitschko brothers on a T-shirt, told writers he'd beat up Jean-Marc Mormeck "like Rodney King" before a cruiserweight unification bout, and infamously billed Saturday's fight with Harrison as a "public execution" to be "as one-sided as a gang rape by a pack of silverback gorillas." (And he was right.) Americans will love Haye or they'll hate him, but they won't ignore him. Unless it becomes clear he's received a correspondence degree from the Mayweather Institute of Artful Dodgery.
Memo to Haye: Take the mandatory against Chagaev if you'd like one last guaranteed windfall -- Rock Newman made sure Riddick Bowe fought Michael Dokes and Jesse Fergusion before putting him back in against Evander Holyfield -- but don't turn the page from 2011 without fighting Wladimir or Vitali. You'll regret it.