Within the bowels of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, amid the furor regarding the unpopular decision to award Saturday's main event to Manny Pacquiao, fans and press alike have had a swath of issues to debate.
Let's get one thing out of the way: Pacquiao lost on Saturday. Yes, he lost. Although the record books will forever show a "W" on the ledger and his bank account is accordingly larger, in every other sense, this weekend was a humbling experience for boxing's one true transcendent star.
Pacquiao maintained that he took a third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez to definitively settle the issue of who won their previous two bouts, which had been ruled a draw and a split decision in Pacquiao's favor. On both occasions, large enough sections of the gladiatorial gallery had crowned Marquez the winner, making it an eternal niggling asterisk on the Filipino's Hall of Fame CV.
So how vehemently vexing it must have been for Pacquiao to be interviewed amid an ocean of jeering after the judges awarded him yet another victory against his most capable foe.
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer, along with the majority of the press corps, claimed we would see a knockout. We didn't. Marquez's age and bloated size would be vanquished by the younger, lithe and mercurial Pacquiao, many asserted. Not the case.
But the real cherry on this not-so-trifling matter is that Pacquiao's camp now seems to be avoiding a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., something the boxing world has lusted after for years. The two have been verbal sparring partners of late and have fought pitched battles in the courts, but it seems perhaps the war -- in the media at least -- may have been won by Mayweather.
Marquez showed us a glimpse of the solution to the Pacquiao algorithm, one that will likely be solved if Mayweather and Pacquiao ever square off in the ring. And although Pacquiao walked away on Saturday with at least $22 million, 28 stitches and the official win, some losses perhaps are harder to quantify.
Pacquiao Khan't beat Marquez
When your own sparring partner and training stablemate thinks you lost, it's probably a bad sign. With the rigmarole of Saturday's boxing circus unwinding, light welterweight supremo Amir Khan chose to pipe up.
"He's got away with it against Marquez," Khan told The Daily Mail. "Even I had him losing by two rounds. He's my friend and I'm happy for him that he won. But for his sake, we have to be honest. He would not beat Floyd Mayweather on this performance."
Rumors abound that the longtime sparring partners are now banned from sparring in case Khan becomes an option for Pacquiao further down the line. For Khan, he sees good reason for these drastic measures.
"Well, let me just say that in our sparring lately, he's not the one getting the better of it."
Trout has no doubts
For those wondering who might face the winner of the Dec. 3 battle between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito, look no further than Austin Trout.
Who? Yes, that's right. For the less hard core among you, Trout's waist is adorned with a rather meaningless WBA junior middleweight belt. But more meaningful is the fact that Trout is fast, hard-punching and willing to travel anywhere to seek out fights -- something he has done with little fanfare and that has ensured he remains one of boxing's best-kept secrets.
After Trout made his successful network debut last week, his manager, Greg Cohen, announced he expects his fighter to face the best in the division.
"If [Cotto or Margarito] choose not to fight us and vacate the belt, then we'll be the only ones with a rightful claim to be WBA champion," Cohen said. "In that case, we'll make our mandatory against [Anthony] Mundine in a fight that would have not only all the new fans Austin made over the weekend, but the entire continent of Australia also buzzing the day it was made."
Manfredo mans up
In a sport that oozes bravado, honesty and realism can sometimes be the most refreshing of tonics. Peter Manfredo Jr., a fighter who has always tried to maximize his self-confessed limited gifts, will take on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Saturday in a middleweight bout at the Reliant Arena in Houston.
Having often faced the best, including Joe Calzaghe, and having come up short, Manfredo knows that his shot against Chavez is his last shot at glory and looks at the opportunity in the most endearing of ways.
"I've been very satisfied with my boxing career," Manfredo said. "I was an unknown kid from Providence, R.I. I was not a great amateur boxer. If I lose, I hang it up and concentrate on being a good father to my kids."
Tweet of the week
@JRoche3MR: "Bradley wins the second, if we're lucky Casamayor will headbutt himself unconscious soon and end this"