Fans wish Pacquiao happy exit
(MAN WITH GOLDEN HEART: American William “Bill” Austin will receive the distinguished Golden Cross Award from the University of Santo Tomas tomorrow for his immense contribution to humanity. Austin, founder of the Starkey Foundation, has been donating 10,000 hearing aids annually to needy Filipinos for the last five years. Austin spreads goodwill in other parts of the world.)
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It was surprising how majority of Filipino boxing fans did not show enough interest about the monumental world middleweight boxing championship in Las Vegas, Nevada, over the weekend. Many Pinoy boxing diehards were either not too interested or, if ever aware, did not go out of their way to follow the delayed telecast of the big bout on Sunday.
Of the few who managed to watch the colorful confrontation between Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto, their immediate reaction was to compare the young Mexican superstar to our own Manny Pacquiao. The popular local view: Alvarez cannot compare to Pacquiao. There was the feeling that Alvarez, big and strong, but slow and limited, would’ve been easily beaten by Pacquiao, who knocked out Cotto in 2009.
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Regarding Pacquiao’s scheduled final bout on April 9, the side-street feel among the mingling masa was that the eight-division world title winner should take extra caution in naming his next opponent.
There are three boxers, namely one-time world title winner Amir Khan, reigning WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley, and unbeaten world light welterweight king Terence Crawford, for Pacquiao to choose from.
A report earlier this week said Pacquiao, back from an extended foreign tour, should be able to name his next foe within the week, although a previous report by Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times said the farewell foe for the Filipino boxing superhero might not be announced until next January.
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Anyway, a random poll by this reporter bared widespread apprehension over the reported preference by trainer Freddie Roach for Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs) as Pacquiao’s final foe before he calls it a career.
For the record, Roach had initially stated that Crawford, fresh from the successful defense of his world 140-pound crown, could prove too “strong and hungry” for Pacquiao.
At the time of the Roach warning, it was Khan, a former Pacquiao stablemate under Roach, who appeared ahead in the race to land a rich bout against Pacquiao.
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Roach, however, had a change of mood and later decided to recommend Crawford as Pacquiao’s farewell opponent.
Roach was quoted as saying, “Crawford could fight a little bit more, while Khan could run a little bit more.”
Khan continued to claim he had the better of Pacquiao during training in Baguio City years back.
Roach maintained it was actually the other way around.
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Meanwhile, it was not clear if Crawford, viewed as a dangerous opponent, has jumped ahead of Khan in the bid to square off with Pacquiao.
Out in the busy wet market sports hub regularly visited by this reporter, there was the gut feel Crawford could indeed cause Pacquiao some trouble, if not total unhappiness.
Not to say a fight with Khan would be trouble-free. But there were knowledgeable fans who also believe it would be wiser for Pacquiao to retire ahead, instead of take a big risk against the younger, strong, tigerish, crafty Crawford.
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