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Salud expects slow start


PhilBoxing.com




LAS VEGAS. PBA commissioner and soon-to-be-named President/CEO Chito Salud isn?t expecting a fiery start when the bell rings for the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather, Jr. duel at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here this morning (Manila time).

?I think both Manny and Mayweather will size each other out in the first three rounds,? he said. ?They?ll be cautious. They?ll study each other. Then after three rounds, I expect Manny to begin landing clean shots. I don?t think Mayweather will be able to match Manny?s volume punching. He?ll lose by either knockout or decision.?

Salud left Manila the night after Talk ?N? Text clinched the PBA Commissioner?s Cup trophy via a 121-119 double overtime win over Rain Or Shine in Game 7 of the best-of-7 Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. He flew to Los Angeles with media bureau chief Willie Marcial then motored here yesterday afternoon with close friend Gelo Serrano.

Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy and PBA alternate governor for Blackwater Wilbert Loa also flew in from Manila to watch the fight. They were accompanied by Dr. Henry Costa, Sy?s high school classmate who now lives in Texas.

?It could go one of two ways,? said Sy. ?Manny could win by knockout between the eighth and 10th rounds or he could win by decision. If Mayweather engages, he?ll lose by knockout. I think Mayweather is scared of Manny It took him five to six years to finally agree to fight and that?s because he was pushed into it by Showtime.?

Bobby Rosales, chief financial officer of the Alvarez Group that owns the Kia franchise in the PBA, also made the trip to witness the Battle For Greatness. ?I think Manny will hurt Mayweather and when he does, that?s it,? he said. ?I?m praying for Manny to win and I?m hoping it will be by a knockout.?
****
NBA legend Allen Iverson showed up at the Media Center for radio and TV adjacent to the MGM Grand Garden Arena here wearing a TMT (The Money Team) cap yesterday. Although the cap gave him away, Iverson surprisingly said he?s a Pacquiao fan.

?I haven?t talked to Floyd,? he said. ?I don?t do that. He knows what to do in this situation. I don?t think there?s pressure on either fighter. Boxing is what they do. It?s like basketball, it?s what we do. I?m in Vegas to support Floyd. Who?s going to win? I don?t really know. I?m so nervous and excited about this fight. It?s the Fight of the Century.?
****
It is rumored that Pacquiao may be involved in co-producing the film ?Say The Sinner?s Prayer? which will be directed by Gil Medina and shot in Salt Lake City. Pacquiao is supposedly considering to spend a month in Utah while the film is being made. In the lead are reportedly Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Sarah and Tim McGraw as Luke. If plans push through, the film will be released in November.

Pacquiao is being invited to attend a June 12 Independence Day celebration in New York. Pacquiao?s travel plans, however, are contingent on what will be the outcome of this morning?s fight.

****

Retired boxing referee and now ESPN TV analyst Joe Cortez, a New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent, predicted Mayweather to beat Pacquiao on points in an exciting tussle this morning.

Cortez, 72, worked two Pacquiao and two Mayweather fights. He retired in 2002 after working the Saul Alvarez-Jesusito Lopez fight. Cortez was the third man in the ring when Pacquiao wrested the IBF superbantamweight crown from Lehlo Ledwaba in 2001 and in the first Pacquiao fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in 2004. He worked Mayweather?s rematch with Jose Luis Castillo in 2002 and the 10th round stoppage of Ricky Hatton in 2007.

?Pacquiao has a tendency to leave himself open when he comes in with his left hook and Mayweather can counter with his own left hook or right,? said Cortez. ?If Pacquiao can force Mayweather to fight defensively and take away his offense, then he could win it. I see a close fight and I think Mayweather will win it in the end. Manny has a chance to win, of course, but he?s got to put pressure on Mayweather and set a consistent pace from start to finish.?

Cortez said he recalls judge Burt Clements made a mistake in the first Pacquiao-Marquez fight that he worked. ?Two weeks before the fight, the rule came down that if you score three knockdowns in a round, you get a 10-6, two knockdowns, 10-7 and one knockdown, 10-8,? he said. ?So I guess Burt wasn?t aware of that.? Because of Clements? error, he scored the fight 113-113 instead of 114-113 for Pacquiao. The outcome was a split draw instead of a win by split decision for Pacquiao.

Cortez said the referee used to score in a fight but not anymore. ?There?s an argument that the referee should score because he?s got an open door to the fight, being the closest person to the fighters,? he said. ?But the referee has a lot of things to consider in the ring, primarily the welfare and protection of the fighters so the scoring became the responsibility of the three judges. I?ve got a gym in Las Vegas and once, I brought in six judges, three sitting where they usually sit and three others sitting in an elevated position like a tennis umpire, eight feet from eyeball to where the fighters are in the ring. This was an experiment and I found out that the three judges from an elevated situation had less misses on punches than the three others. They all had clickers, not to count the punches landed but the misses. I think the elevated judges missed only one or two and the three others, about 15 or 16. Maybe, it?s something to consider to improve the scoring because there are angles the judges just can?t see from where they sit at ringside.?

Photo: PBA Commissioner Chito Salud (R) with Pacquiao.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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