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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

JEFF POWELL'S BOXING COLUMN: Manny Pacquiao is the only thing to leave Floyd Mayweather lost for words

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Last updated at 12:29 AM on 09th March 2010

The fastest mouth in the West since the Louisville Lip - otherwise known as Cassius Clay and Muhammad Ali - was operating at full volume has fallen strangely silent on the subject closest to his ego.

Maybe it has something to do with the libel action brought by Manny Pacquiao, to which he must file a response by the end of this month, but Floyd Mayweather Jnr is refusing to talk about his arch-rival for boxing's mythical title of best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.

Since it is not normally possible to keep this man quiet about any subject, this reticence has come as a shock, not to mention disappointment, to our American colleagues as they follow the coast-to-coast promotional tour for Mayweather's upcoming challenge to Sugar Shane Mosley for the WBA welterweight championship of the world.

Since that event does not take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas until May 1, Mayweather's refusal to answer questions about Pacquiao is allowing the media spotlight to focus on Dallas.

It is here this coming Saturday, in the first fight to be staged at the Cowboys Stadium, that Pacquiao takes on Ghana's New York based Joshua Clottey in defence of the WBO version of the world welterweight championship.

Both these fights have been arranged as alternatives to Pacquiao and Mayweather meeting each other to decide which of them really is the best boxer on earth.

Yet while we wait for them to get their act together - perhaps in the autumn - Pacquiao is outscoring Mayweather in the propaganda stakes.

Says the Philippines phenomenon known as the Pac-Man: 'This makes a change from the trash talking with which Mayweather sets such a poor example to kids everywhere.'

It was that tendency to rubbish every opponent which brought the libel action down on Mayweather's head in the first place. He, his father Floyd Snr and his Golden Boy promoters variously claimed or insinuated that Pacquiao had used proscribed substances while building himself up from flyweight to become the only boxer to win world titles in seven weight divisions.

Mayweather's refusal to fight unless Pacquiao was subjected to almost daily blood sampling caused the postponement, at least, of the richest fight in ring history.

Pacquiao offered to comply with any additional drugs testing ordered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. When the Mayweather camp still bridled at that proposal Pacquiao turned his attention towards Dallas.

By way of compensation - not least financial - for the Mayweather cancellation, the Pac-Man will now fight Clottey in front of an expected crowd of almost 50,000, as well as on Pay-per-View television.

Mayweather, meanwhile, has asked for no extra testing of Mosley over the next six weeks, even though his opponent failed one such examination previously.

By the time that fight takes place, Pacquiao will be back home campaigning for election to the Filipino Congress.

As he concentrates on the plight of the poor in his homeland will he be thinking of the man who calls himself Money Mayweather?

The rhetorical reply: 'Who needs him?'

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