You can follow Kevin Iole on Twitter at @KevinI
The venue for the highly anticipated March 13 bout between unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. and pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao will likely be decided by Thursday, Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said Tuesday.
Arum said the fight, which is expected to break existing boxing revenue and pay-per-view records, will either be at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Cowboys Stadium in Dallas or the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Manny Pacquiao is expected to agree to deal soon.
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Arum said neither fighter has signed a contract, though both men have agreed to the major deal points.
Arum said he hasn't seen the proposal from officials in Georgia, though he has spoken with Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. He was planning to fly from Los Angeles to Cleveland on Tuesday and then drive to Youngstown, Ohio, where he is promoting a fight Saturday involving middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.
"We'll pick the best proposal and go from there," Arum said.
The MGM Grand has to be considered the favorite to land the fight, though Arum said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones "won't give up. He wants this fight there badly." And Arum said that he understands Atlanta officials are going to go hard after the fight and that their bid includes heavy support from Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Arum said though Pacquiao has agreed to all major points in the deal, there will be some additional points he'll need to agree to before a contract is ready to be signed. He said none of them were major. The same is true of Mayweather, who is being promoted in this fight by Golden Boy Promotions.
With that, let's hop into the mailbag and see what's on your mind. My responses are in italics.
Manny has more advantages
Since the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao is almost a done deal, I wanted to know why you would give a slight edge to Mayweather as the potential winner? In my opinion, Pacquiao has more advantages than Mayweather. Floyd is facing a fighter who is just as fast, if not faster, than him, and a fighter who is aggressive and always active throwing punches from all angles. Most of the fighters that Floyd has fought are usually much slower than him. Because of that, Mayweather is able to make it look easy with his defense. But as good as he is defensively, he will not be able to avoid fast punches coming from all angles. Pacquiao would force Floyd into a slugfest where he does not excel. An example of that would be the fight with Jose Luis Castillo. Floyd is not used to exchanging more than three punches at a time. Floyd's chin has not been tested while Pacquiao has withstood grueling fights before. I just want to know if you still give Floyd the edge and, if so, why?
Van Nuys, Calif.
It's a great match and the fighters are very even. I disagree with your contention that Pacquiao will be faster than Mayweather. Manny has fought primarily offensive fighters recently (David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto) and those fighters are easier to put hands on. Mayweather's style is far different and it won't be as easy for Manny to hit him. I expect a highly competitive, close fight, but my initial thought is that Mayweather's defense and boxing ability are going to be the difference.
Watching the Juan Diaz-Paulie Malignaggi fight Saturday was awesome. Paulie really proved with a "fair shake" he would get a win over Diaz and prove he isn't a chump. His jab was fantastic, he looked relaxed and happy to be in the ring, and the stick-and-move tactic proved to be too much! He was clowning around being the Paulie some of us really enjoy to watch (I love that cocky Brooklyn swagger). I'd like to get your take on how he'd do against some of the other boxers in the junior welterweight division. How do you think he'd fare against guys like Timothy Bradley, Amir Khan or Hatton? I really think he proved that he isn't a has-been or a nothing of the division and should now get his fair shake at these top guys. I really think if he can beat Hatton as badly as he said in his postfight comments, I'd like to see him get a chance at any of those guys and prove what he's saying.
Salt Lake City, Utah
I thought Paulie was very impressive, too, and I wasn't surprised. The 140-pound division is loaded with talent and he's at or near the top. I'm not sure he'd be able to defeat Timothy Bradley, because Bradley is a major talent, but he's competitive with everyone there. His boxing skill will keep him in most fights. He was routed by Hatton when they fought in 2008, but I think a rematch would go differently. I'm not saying he'd defeat Hatton the second time around, but it would be much more of a compelling fight than the one 13 months ago was.
Should Iole 'Man up?'
Well, Kevin, I'm going to go out on a limb and say you probably had the first Diaz-Malignaggi fight go Diaz's way. Fair enough, as many would argue the same and agree Juan won a close yet not so one-sided decision. However, there are many of us who will beg to differ with you with the robbery that took place in Texas. Your column clearly favors Diaz with the hopes of him clearing up any doubt with a win in New York; had it happened. Obviously by now, you saw the correct decision handed down in Chicago you now fall into that category Paulie was talking about in his postfight interview with Max Kellerman regarding his critics. The question now is a veteran sports writer like yourself man enough to write you were wrong in favoring Diaz.
El Paso, Texas
I would write that if I did that or believed that, Adan, but I scored the first fight for Paulie and I believed he'd win Saturday with the bigger ring and fair judging. A guy like Paulie, who doesn't have a lot of power, often feels the world is against him and uses that as motivation.
Klitschkos vs. legends
I'd like to make a comment after having seen both Klitschko brothers fight frequently, and having seen Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Larry Holmes fight many times. My honest opinion is, prime-to-prime, neither brother could beat Ali (Ali by easy TKO) or Foreman (Foreman by KO), they might edge Holmes but I doubt it (Holmes by decision or late TKO) and would have had the best chance against the much shorter Frazier if they could keep him at arms length. I'd pick either of the Klitschkos by decision against Frazier if the fight was on the outside but I'd choose Frazier if it became an inside fight. The Klitschkos are head and shoulders above any of the challengers now and with focus should round up the last of the sanctioning body titles, the World Boxing Association, in 2010. Alas, the quality of the challengers make the legends and they have none, though stoppages of WBA champion David Haye and Nikolai Valuev and a couple of others next year should begin to make them seem legendary.
Don, I agree with much of what you say, though not necessarily your picks. After Vitali routed Cristobal Arreola in September, I wrote he'd have no challenges and would dominate for a long time. And you are correct in that one achieves legendary status by defeating other highly regarded boxers, of which there are none among the heavyweights these days. I agree with your assessment of how either Klitschko would match against Frazier, but I doubt Ali would easily TKO them. I think Ali's speed would be a problem for either, particularly Vitali, but their size would pose problems for Ali. It's too bad we can't see fights like that in the heavyweight division today, though. Here's hoping a talented young guy develops who can legitimately challenge the Klitschkos before they're through.
Feeling sorry for the Klitschkos
Kevin, I feel sorry for the Klitschko brothers. The lack of competition in the heavyweight division is such that they're no longer worthy of being on live TV in the U.S. I remember the days when HBO would show them live, no matter what. Now, unless they fight in the U.S., their fights are only aired on a delayed basis. Is there any hope for them? And on a side note, whatever happened to 'Baby' Joe Mesi? Thanks, and have a Merry Christmas.
Fort Worth, Texas
Thanks, Mark, and Happy Holidays to you, as well. A fight with David Haye would be an intriguing promotion, though I don't think the Hayemaker could handle either Klitschko. And a fight with Valuev would have some sort of a freak show quality to it, but there's not much else there. As for Mesi, he came back and fought a few times after Nevada denied him his boxing license because of a subdural hematoma. He's no longer active and is involved in politics near his Buffalo, N.Y., home.
Bradley is extraordinary
I know I keep repeating myself every time I write to you about Timothy Bradley. Wow and impressive are the two words that keep coming to mind. Anyone who didn't catch his fight with Lamont Peterson missed out on a dazzling performance. Peterson is a highly skilled and was a very game opponent, but Bradley outclassed him and controlled most of the fight. I would love to see Bradley against Juan Manuel Marquez or even Manny Pacquiao. A fight with Amir Khan before would be exciting, more risk than reward for Bradley at this point. That's just the kind of fighter Bradley is, so I won't be surprised if he takes it anyway.
Van Nuys, Calif.
I think Bradley is an exceptional talent. He is on the verge of the pound-for-pound top 10, if he's not already there, and I think he'd handle Marquez or Khan at this stage. But he's the kind of guy who is willing to fight anyone and I'd anticipate him involved in major fights in 2010.