Interim bouts hamper prospects of blockbuster Mayweather v Pacquiao showdown
21:51 GMT, 17 September 2012
The biggest-money fight in boxing history is at even greater risk of never happening after Manny Pacquiao agreed to fight Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time.
The match the world wants to see – the PacMan versus Floyd Money Mayweather – will lose a huge percentage of its potentially $200million (123m) value if Pacquiao is beaten by Marquez in Las Vegas on December 8.
That explains Pacquiao's apparent reluctance to accept the re-re-re-match with Marquez which promoter Bob Arum announced at a media conference in Los Angeles. But only in part.
Family man: Pacquiao v Mayweather seems as far away as ever
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Pacquiao is also concerned that the controversies surrounding the judging of their three previous fights might work against him this time. His appetite for boxing also seems to be diminishing in inverse proportion to his increasing commitment to his political career in the Philippines.
Then there are the doubts about whether Mayweather and he will ever come to terms.
Marquez claims that he was robbed by the two close wins and a draw awarded to Pacquiao in their previous meetings and insisted for some time that he would only accept a fourth fight if it took place in his native Mexico.
He has dropped that demand, perhaps in realisation that the pressure will be on the judges – again all from Nevada – in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in December.
The PacMan is still generally considered Mayweather's main rival as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world despite being robbed himself in his most recent fight, a laughable decision in favour of the clearly beaten Tim Bradley,
But Pacquiao has problems with the counter-punching style of Marquez and is believed to have been prevaricating about risking his status in yet another meeting.
Freddie Roach, his master trainer, has warned Pacquiao that he will need to commit himself to almost three months training without any political, singing or film-acting distractions.
Robbed: Somehow the judges failed to award Pacquiao victory over Bradley
That means no preliminary camp in the Philippines and Roach would prefer him to stay in Los Angeles now and get straight down to work at his fabled Wild Card gym.
Roach says: 'We need as much time as possible to perfect a strategy for Marquez.'
Mayweather, meanwhile, is reported to have parted already from his latest friend and business partner, rapper 50 Cent, and is giving no indication of when he might return to the ring.
There are even bizarre suggestions that the half-dollar singer might be trying to attach himself to Pacquiao.
With Pacquiao seemingly losing at least some of his enthusiasm for fighting and no-one sure how Mayweather is adjusting after his spell in jail, what price now the mega-mega-mega bout ever taking place
If the pair of them would still like to share the massive spoils of the richest extravaganza in ring history it might have been advisable for neither of them to take an interim bout.
Money matters: Mayweather won his last bout against Cotto in May
Freddie Roach's on-going commitment to Manny Pacquiao – even if the PacMan's career might be nearing its end – crystalised Amir Khan's decision to part from the man generally considered to be the finest trainer in the world.
After two successive defeats – one a robbery on two counts by Lamont Peterson, the other a shock KO by Danny Garcia – Bolton's two-time former world light-welterweight champion has good grounds for realising that he is at a crucial point of his career.
But his choice of replacement for Roach is just as vital. A mistake now could plunge into disarray his bid to return to world title eminence.
Khan is looking to improve his defensive strategy and Emmanuel Steward, for one, is a hugely respected trainer who, while he looks for knock-outs as keenly as Roach, has turned Wladimir Klitschko into a less vulnerable champion.
A less proven trainer would be a risk for our Amir at this stage.
Next step: Khan has split with his trainer Freddie Roach
Hatton v Hatton
News that Ricky Hatton's father has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting his famous son comes as less of a surprise to those close to the Hitman who were aware that this family relationship had broken down.
It is the implication that Dad was the aggressor in the incident which will shock even more.
In common with Khan, defence has never been Hatton's strength. But maybe, on the eve of announcing his come-back, the Manchester Hitman boxed more cleverly – and with more restraint – in that car park.
Otherwise you have to suspect, also, that Dad would have been on his way to the hospital, not the local police station.
There has been no indication as to who was ahead on points when the police stepped in. Since an opponent for Hatton's first comeback fight has yet to be announced, perhaps a re-match with his father should top the bill in Manchester on November 24.
Family affair: Ricky and his father were involved in a car park brawl
Mitchell facing Burns night in Glasgow
Two tough pals will set their friendship aside on Saturday night as they go into a fight which has the potential to be a British classic.
Scotland's Ricky Burns will be defending his world lightweight title against his Cockney mate Kevin Mitchell in Glasgow.
This is a watershed moment in the career of both men so no quarter will be asked or given, even though they get on so well outside the ring.
Burns, never anything less than a dedicated and focused boxer, needs to validate his championship in what will be his toughest defence.
Mitchell, assuring us that he has put his troubles and distractions completely behind him, has to prove that if his career is not to be remembered as one of squandered opportunity.
Burns says: 'Our friendship goes out of the window when we go into the ring.'
Battle of Britain: Burns and Mitchell go toe-to-toe on Saturday night
Mitchell says: 'Nothing can come be allowed to come between me and my life-long ambition to become a world champion.'
Although both men are natural born warriors they bring to their confrontation a clash of styles which should produce memorable excitement.
Burns is the boxer-fighter who can meet fire with skill as well as courage. Mitchell is the all-action man who piles on the pressure, then the finisher who can take out opponents either by sudden KO or an accumulation of heavy punches.
Glasgow is excited by the prospect of Burns joining the legend of great Scottish fighters like Ken Buchanan and Jim Watt.
East London is rooting for Mitchell to fulfil his potential.
This one is well worth the 10 a month subscription to the dedicated BoxNation television channel inspired by promoter Frank Warren.
Burns-Mitchell will be live Saturday night on BoxNation via Sky Ch. 437 and Virgin Ch.546.