You can follow Kevin Iole on Twitter at @KevinI
Manny Pacquiao's ability to block out distractions and focus on his job as a fighter is legendary. Despite the storm that often surrounds him – a former manager once said, "Manny loves the chaos" – he's going to have a challenge like never before when he fights Floyd Mayweather Jr. on March 13 in the year's most significant fight.
Pacquiao is running for Congress in the Philippines, with the election set for May. According to the Manila Bulletin, two supporters of Pacquiao's election campaign were recently shot and killed by gunmen riding on a motorcycle.
The paper quotes a leader of Pacquiao's political party speculating that the killings were politically motivated and intended to dissuade Pacquiao supporters from going to the polls. Hopefully, a free, fair and non-violent election will be held, but there's going to be a lot more pressure on Pacquiao in this fight other than just dealing with Mayweather's many boxing skills.
With that, let's delve into a very busy boxing mailbag.
Why not Roger?
Why is Roger Mayweather annually overlooked as the top trainer? Roger has proven to have truly the best pure boxer on the planet. From the time he has trained his nephew, Floyd Mayweather Jr., he has been great. He works very hard to keep his nephew on top of his game. Not to take anything from Manny Pacquiao at all, but Freddie Roach could not have put a game plan together to beat half the people that Roger did. I'd just really like to know your thoughts.
I think Roger is a very good trainer, but one of the problems he has is that he doesn't work with many elite fighters other than his nephew. Who can you name that he's taken from amateur to a professional world championship? Who has he taken at the start of his professional career and led to a title? What struggling fighter did he take in mid-career and turn around? Roger is good, but he hasn't had the success with multiple boxers like Roach.
You forgot Big Floyd
When you say there isn't anyone even close to Roach's ability, apparently you've concluded that Mayweather taught himself how to box. He must have looked at television and learned how to fight on his own. You imply that Pacquiao is not as good as Mayweather by predicting a Mayweather victory in their upcoming March 13 bout. Nevertheless, you insist that Roach is better than any active trainer and "it's not even close." What I expect from a journalist is analysis, not a biased conclusion unsupported by the facts. Your opinion should be referred to as such, not as a fact, especially without consideration and analysis of the careers of any other trainers.
I'm assuming you're talking about Floyd Mayweather Sr., since he's the man who taught his son to fight, and not Floyd Junior's uncle, Roger. I have much respect for Big Floyd and have been one of his biggest supporters in the media. And while I concede he did a brilliant job in tutoring Floyd Junior, Floyd Senior hasn't been able to repeat that. Roach has done it over and over. But I'm a believer in Floyd Mayweather Senior's work and believe he's one of best in the game today.
Why does Floyd Mayweather Jr. always claim to be his own boss when he is represented by Golden Boy Promotions? What is Mayweather Promotions? Who is Leonard Ellerbe? It is obvious Mayweather cares about money and that is why Golden Boy, a well-respected organization, runs the show.
Richard de Ocio
Mayweather Promotions is not licensed to promote in Nevada, so it has hired Golden Boy in recent fights to represent him. But it is Mayweather, Ellerbe and adviser Al Haymon calling the shots on who to fight, when to fight and where to fight, not anyone at Golden Boy.
Big fight belongs in Vegas
I think the MGM Grand is the only logical forum for the big fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mainly because other than the fight, there is nothing to do in Dallas or Atlanta. I have been to many big fights at the MGM, most recently Oscar De La Hoya/Mayweather and there is no better place to have a fight of this magnitude.
I agree it belongs in Las Vegas and that no other city can match Las Vegas for producing a single event. I think sometime this week it will be announced that the fight is at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Floyd will dominate
Mayweather is going to dominate Pacquiao from start to finish. Mayweather fights at his own pace and he usually dictates the tone of the fight, which is the mark of a true boxer. He's smart and he trains like no one else. Mayweather is so misunderstood when it comes to the media. He's a true champion and we as boxing supporters should respect his true skill level. He's the best in the sport and he's one of the best to ever work inside the boxing ring. The numbers don't lie.
In 2000, I rated Mayweather best pound-for-pound and have considered him at the top ever since. You don't have to convince me how good he is. But to call him one of the best ever, if you're talking top 25 of all-time, is a little much. He has time to make it, but he needs several more defining victories. A win over Pacquiao would be a good start.
Update on Margarito
What is the latest on Antonio Margarito and when might he fight again?
Margarito's suspension imposed by the California State Athletic Commission will end in February. At that point, he's eligible to apply for a license in any state. Promoter Bob Arum said if he receives a license, Margarito will fight once in Mexico and then come back to fight a major bout in the U.S. in the late spring or early summer.
Impressed by Espino
I watched the Kelly Pavlik-Miguel Espino middleweight championship fight Saturday and it was one of those cases where the person who was stopped actually "won." Espino showed a lot of guts going toe-to-toe with Pavlik, especially given Pavlik's power and range. Pavlik, however, did a terrible job of utilizing his reach advantage and basically stood square to Espino the entire time, trading body shots. This from the fighter who dethroned Jermain Taylor? If this fight was Pavlik-Paul Williams, there is no doubt in my mind who would have won.
Espino put his heart and soul into that fight, but he was hopelessly outclassed. And though Pavlik would never admit it, I don't feel he took Espino as seriously as he would have taken Williams.
Could Williams beat Pavlik?
Do you would think Paul Williams would be able to defeat Pavlik after his showing against Sergio Martinez? I'm a fan of Martinez and don't mean to knock him, but Williams showed some flaws. Pavlik likes to throw nonstop, has a very good chin and stamina and is relentless to the body. Two weeks ago, I would have given the edge to Williams, but now I feel Pavlik has the edge with power. What do you think would happen in a fight between the two now?
I'd lean toward Williams. Williams is not a hard puncher, but he has incredible reach and his output is difficult. It would be a very close fight, but I'd lean slightly in Williams' favor.
No heavyweight savior
Does anybody really think David Haye could be the savior of the heavyweight division? It can be that he might defeat one or both of the Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir, but even if he does, I don't think it will be exciting. He showed that against Nikolai Valuev. Haye talks a lot of smack, but I don't see him pushing the action or knocking out either Klitschko. I am hopeful David Tua can make a successful comeback, as he seems to be on the right path now. He could bring the excitement from the Mike Tyson era back if he knocks out his next few opponents in convincing fashion.
I don't know about the savior of the division, but he's the guy with the best chance to give the Klitschko brothers a quality fight. As for Tua, while he's one of the nicest guys I've ever met in the sport, it's a major stretch to suggest he could be a factor again. It's been more than seven years since he's had a win over a quality opponent who was in his prime.
Valero will make a mark
Edwin Valero finally fought again and disposed of another weak challenger by TKO. We all know he's fought a low level of competition, but he'll take a big step up if he gets in the ring with Antonio DeMarco. Having seen Valero fight live last April, I think he'll tear through DeMarco. Valero's style is great for mass appeal, which I'm sure promoter Bob Arum knows. But not many champs, major contenders or big-name boxers will want to risk fighting Valero now. The monetary reward is too small for the huge risk to life and limb. As his popularity grows, so will the purses, and that's when we'll see Valero fight bigger name guys. After Demarco, I'd like to see Valero fight Michael Katsidis, who is a blood and guts guy with a tough chin who is willing to trade punches. A guy like Katsidis could test Valero's heart.
I wish you were the matchmaker for pay-per-view cards, Dylan. I think DeMarco is the real deal and will cause Valero lots of problems. But I would love to see a Valero-Katsidis bout. That would be a great one to put on the Mayweather-Pacquiao undercard.