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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Even in United Kingdom, Mayweather can only run, not hide, from Pacquiao

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Boxing Examiner | Michael Marley

LONDON—Try it, see if you can do it now that everyone is wondering if Floyd Mayweather Jr. can accomplish it.

Do what?

I'm talking about escaping the global brand, the worldwide reach and superstatus that Manny Pacquaio currently enjoys.

You can run but you can't hide from Pacquiao, something that Mayweather seems to already know and understand.

I've got more evidence of same, having landed at Heath. row on Monday to begin a brief Euro jaunt that began Monday night t the tony Royal Automobile Club over at 89 Paul Mall in the Piccadilly Circus area of this awesome city.

Upon landing, I saw a sad and costly sight, row upon row of parked British Airways jets, the BA system beset by labor strike. As if traveling these days wasn't traumatic and stress-filled enough...

Settling in at my hotel in chic Knightbridge, I dove into the various tabloid newspapers. It seemed they all carried news of the day from the Philippines about Megamanny.

(The hotel is the Rembrandt, named after some Dutch guy whp painted houses.)

''I MAY RETIRE FOR WORRIED MUM, REVEALS PACQUIAO'' was the troubling banner in the free to all commuter newspaper City A.M.

Wait a second, I thought, isn't this the United Kingdom where we're continually told how important American Mayweather is, how British boxing fans take to him like bangers and mash?

There was one other big boxing related story in this country on the day and that was the passing, at the ripe, old age of 84, of the nation's greatest boxing broadcaster, Harry Carpenter.

If Britain ever had a sportscaster with the national stature and profile of America's Howard Cosell, I dare say it might have been Carrpenter although he was a beloved, not a controversial figure like my former boss Howard was.

Carpenter teamed over the fight microphone many times with former world heavyweight champion, the immensely popular Frank Bruno. Bruno's Cockney accented throwback line to Carpenter was “know wot I mean 'Arry?'

I think there's only two ways the Pacman retirement scenario plays out.

One, he is just paying lip service, as a dutiful son, to his Aling Dionesia's oft expressed maternal wishes.

Two, maybe he lays out of boxing, regardless of whether he wins or loses the Sarangai electoral fight against Roy Chiongbian, well connected scion of a business and political dynasty.

Maybe, as I have stated previously, Manny opts not to take a November bout, eschewing whatever easy opponent Bob Arum serves up out of his well stocked but hardly enthralling bullpen of B Listers.

Among those honoring Pundit Powell, who think he knows more about how to win football games than any coach, was legendary figure as a player then as a manager, Terry "El Tel" Venables. Count the raconteur-entrreprenur Venables, a sort of Red Auerbach in soccer, as a Manny Pacquiao fight. "El Tel" likes the excitement the Pinoy Idol brings to boxing (Daily Mail Photo)

It could be next March, a full year, before Pacman, his mental and physical batteries fully recharged from this sabbatical, climbs into another ring for a fight

And maybe, just maybe, we will all be shocked to see Floyd Mayweather nee Sinclair in the opposite corner.

I don't have any problem with that, do you?

At that point, Kill Joy will still be a bit older than Pacquiao.

Time out might be Manny's friend and not Mayweather's.

I'll continue my travelogue in future dispatches but let me get back to the Royal Automobile Club and the stag only social soiree I was lucky to be invited to.

I even had to suit up, to run over to Moss Bros on Regent Suit to get myself what Cockney slang refers to as “a whistle and flute.”

For you uneducated folks, that means a tuxedo, an outfit your White Gorilla is rarely found in.

Pal Jeff Powell, who I jocularly refer to as Lord Powell, was honored by his powerhouse newspaper Daily Mail for who he has cut his veins on a daily basis for a term of 45 years.

One of the gentle giants of UK journalism in person, Powell's print personality runs to the biting, caustic and acerbic side laced with doses of well place humor.

Among the prominent boxing figures came out to honor the Jim Murray (he really is that gifted) of England were the promoters Fearless Frank Warren and equally Fearless Frank Maloney (he of the famous Union Jack flag suit he wore in support of his man, Lennox Lewis), undefeated and aspiring WBO lighweight champion (he fights Michael Katsidis) Kevin Mitchell and former Mickey Duff financial supporter and promotional partner, Jarvis Astaire.

Oh, and fellow boxing writer and former world champion, the Clones Cyclone and pride of Ireland Wee Barry McGuigan was also on hand with one of his sons.

The insider newspaper tales, the facts and fiction of historic Fleet Street, were bandied back and forth as football luminaries also including the legendary coach and Powell pal Terry Venables also chimed in.

Being a football ignorarus and UK sports ignoramus, I had to be told who so many other luminescent luminares at the tribute were, including none other than:

--Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of dreadnaught Manchester United for lo those 24 years and winner of 32 major trophies including two, count 'em, two European titles. Those who know deem Sir Alex as the greatest all time soccer head coach.

--Sir Bobby Charlton, iconic Man U footballer now on the Board of Directors and likely the most well known British player around the world.

--Sir Clive Howard, head coach of Englsh rugby when the won their only world diadem.

--George Graham, famous player, then manager of Arsenal FC.

Ossie Ardiles--Don't cry for him, Argentina, as this native son won fame and acclaim for that football mad nation.

Lord Colin Moynihan--Bossman of the British Olympic Association, key figure in bringing 201 Games here.

Lord Rothemere--Esteemed publisher of the Daily Mail.

Nasser Hussain--First and only Muslim to gloriously captain England in cricket.

Danny Jordaan--CEO of the South Africa 2010 World Cup.

Like I say, if had been thrown out and claimed I've been 69'd from better places and sent away from better people, that would have been a big lie.

Naturally, the late playboy and football legend George Best was talked about in reverential and humorous tones.

Huge cardboard photographs of the intrepid Powell posing with a young Mike Tyson and the 7-foot, 5-inch Nikolai Valuev adorned the private room at the RAC.

But, on this grey, drizzling but not foggy night in London Town, only two boxing names were really on everyone's lips.

Toasts were made to Carpenter for his awesome career.

Toasts were made to Pacquiao for restoring the electricity to boxing which certainly seemed to unainmously be the second favorite sport of all the football lads.

If he based his career decision on this festive group, out for a night to honor one of boxing's real wordsmiths, Pacman would have to disappoint the hand that rocked his cradle in General Santos City.

“Do you think that Pacquiao can beat Mayweather?” more than one ink-stained wretch or former Premier League football superstar asked me.

As the 2008 Pouilly Fuisse and the 2007 Chateau Haut-Pezat coursed through my veins, I was still sober enough to correct all those who inquired.

“You've got it backwards, chap,” I said. “What we're asking in America now is whether Mayweather can beat Pacquiao.”

Here we are, only five weeks before Mosley-Mayweather which is an all American bout but no big deal anywhere outside the USA, and the names boxing guys and boxing fans were discussing in the heat of London were neither Floyd Jr. or Sugar Shane.

Carpenter and Pacquiao, Pacquiao and Carpenter.

One now gone but the other with miles to go before he sleeps.

Maybe Manny can find some new hobby for Mumsie to distract her because I would bet an entire stories of whistles and flutes (at 300 British Pound Sterling per) that Manny fights on.

I sure hope as the Marley Social Security fund is not too big to fail.

Stick to your knitting, Aling.

A Pacquiao rest I understand. A retirement for the man at the top of his game, that I don't.

I suppose I can always go back and renew my hackney license in Cambridge.

I refer to the one on the other of the muddy water of the River Charles in Boston and nowhere near the River Thames.

The boxing world needs more Pacquiao just as the British literary scene needs more epic columns and dispatches from ringside and from the pitch by Powell.

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