Pacquiao sparring with Erislandy Lara

Manny Pacquiao finally broke the news that he’s been using World Boxing Association junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara as one of his sparring partners to get ready for his May 2nd fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

It’s unclear if the Cuban Lara is the so-called secret weapon sparring partners that Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach has been bragging about or not. If so, then that would explain Roach being so hush-hush about it. That also might explain why Pacquiao might not be doing so well in his sparring sessions.

Lara has the identical movement of Mayweather, so it’s not hard to predict that Pacquiao would find himself having a lot of problems against Lara. We’re talking about a 5’10” fighter with blazing fast hand speed, a southpaw stance, pinpoint accuracy and excellent power.

Pacquiao is used to fighting stationary fighters that stand in one place and don’t have much hand speed. Lara might be giving Pacquiao all he can handle in the ring.

Lance Pugmire of the LA Times said “Trainer Freddie Roach is not entirely satisfied with how Pacquiao has looked in sparring, specifically in how Pacquiao is not cutting off the ring as sharply as he did in November when he scored a career best six knockdowns of then unbeaten Chris Algieri.”

Mayweather would likely be a lot more aggressive than Lara is, and that’s something that Pacquiao might have to adjust to when he gets inside the ring with Mayweather on May 2nd.

If he’s assuming that he’s going to run around the ring like Lara, then Pacquiao might not be ready for what he’s going to be facing on May 2nd. But I can definitely see how Pacquiao could struggle against someone like Lara during a sparring session because there wouldn’t be a catch-weight handicap to weaken Lara like we saw when Pacquiao fought Margarito at a catch-weight at 150 for the vacant WBC light middleweight title in 2010.

Pacquiao’s sparring with Lara would be with Lara weighing whatever he is right now. We could be talking about a 170+ pound Lara. The Cuban fighter is in between fights right now, so it’s not as if his weight would be low.

Pacquiao has reportedly been focusing on throwing a lot of flurries, according to Pugmire. Obviously fighting like that against a guy like Mayweather is going to cause Pacquiao to get lit up like a Christmas tree. He can’t be throwing combinations against Mayweather because he’ll get hit way too much.

Throwing combinations works for Pacquiao against the guys that his promoter Bob Arum has been scratching up for him. Pacquiao used to try the combination punching against Juan Manuel Marquez, and it generally led to Pacquiao getting countered like mad. If he tries that with Mayweather it’s likely going to be far, far worse.
“I’m coming to the ring to win the fight and bring honor to my country,” Pacquiao said via the

Pacquiao was suffering leg problems recently in the form of cramps, but supposedly the cramps have disappeared. Whether they’ll stay away in the head of the battle on May 2nd is anyone’s guess. With the movement that Mayweather will be using in this fight, I would not be surprised at all if Pacquiao starts cramping again.

Rich get richer: Mayweather and Pacquiao purses soar

The first ticket has yet to be sold, but the richest fight in boxing history is getting richer by the day.

New estimates show Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s payoff for fighting Manny Pacquiao could easily be $180 million, up substantially from earlier predictions of $120 million. Pacquiao gets the short end of the purse, but even that is expected to be well over $100 million by the time everything is tallied up.

The money is staggering, though not exactly unexpected. Five years of waiting seem to have only piqued the public's demand for the one fight even casual fans of the sport want to see.

"For whatever it's worth, the buildup over these years has certainly enhanced the fight," promoter Bob Arum. "Everybody knows about it now, even people who don't follow boxing. Plus we have a good economy, unlike in 2009 when people were out of work and didn't have the money to spend."

Fans will certainly have to pay a price to see the May 2 welterweight title bout, especially those lucky enough to score a ticket inside the MGM Grand arena itself. Ticket prices there range from $1,500 in the upper deck to $7,500 at ringside — and only a small percentage of the tickets will actually be put on public sale.

Arum said Tuesday the gate at the MGM alone will be more than $72 million, obliterating the previous live gate record of $20 million in Nevada set by Mayweather's 2013 fight with Canelo Alvarez. Though the MGM will provide some tickets for its biggest gamblers, Arum said even the celebrities who can normally get free tickets to sit ringside will have to pay full fare for the fight — if they can get their hands on tickets at all.

Promoters announced a deal Tuesday with Sky Sports to televise the fight on pay-per-view in England and parts of Europe, part of another $35 million expected to come in from foreign rights. Add in another $10 million in sponsorships — Tecate beer will be the main sponsor — and the fight will gross more than $100 million before a single home in North America buys the pay-per-view.

Less certain is how many people will spend what is expected to be $100 or so for the pay-per-view in the U.S., but that could easily break records, too. Mayweather's 2007 fight with Oscar De La Hoya currently tops the charts with 2.44 million buys, but many think Mayweather-Pacquiao could do more than 3 million homes despite softness in the pay-per-view market in the last few years.

"That's the one element that's a mystery," Arum told The Associated Press. "It seems like it will break the record, but who really knows? Anyone who predicts the total pay-per-view is whistling in the dark."

Cable networks HBO and Showtime have yet to announce the pay-per-view price, saying they are still in negotiations with cable systems and satellite providers. Those negotiations are mostly about how the money will be divided between the broadcasters and the fight promoters, who historically have split revenues fairly equally.

With promoters holding the upper hand for this fight, though, that split could end up 65-35 in favor of the promotion. And if 3 million homes buy the fight at $100, that would mean about $200 million in revenue to Mayweather Promotions and Arum's Top Rank from pay-per-view alone.

Add in the other money and the two camps will have more than $300 million to divvy up. With Mayweather getting a 60-40 split, that would mean a purse of $180 million or more to Mayweather and $120 million or more to Pacquiao.

Both purses would dwarf the biggest ever in boxing, including the 2007 fight with Mayweather in which De La Hoya made a reported $52 million. Mayweather's biggest payday was against Alvarez, when he was guaranteed $41.5 million and may have made another $20 million off the pay-per-view sales.

"You get to this level where you're making nine figures in 36 minutes," Mayweather said at the fight press conference this month in Los Angeles, "and you have to be a winner."

Judging from the money on the table in this bout, it's hard to find a loser.

Mayweather-Pacquiao fight won’t halt sport’s decline

The super fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao is expected to be the highest grossing bout in history but will do nothing to resuscitate a sport that has been in perpetual decline for years, according to experts.

Boxing will enjoy more exposure than it has seen in decades during the buildup to the May 2 fight but will quickly reclaim a back seat to other sports after the last crushing blow is landed at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

“It’s going to be massive, but it’s also going to be a massive one-off,” Bob Dorfman, executive creative director of Baker Street Advertising in San Francisco, told Reuters.

“It would’ve had more impact overall on the boxing world if it happened five years ago when it could’ve been the beginning of an ongoing series of fights between these guys that would’ve maybe built in momentum.”

Mayweather and Pacquiao will be 38 and 36, respectively, on fight night and their failure to agree to meet earlier in their illustrious careers robbed the boxing world of what could have been one of the sport’s all-time great rivalries.

But for one day, at least, boxing will likely be at the center of the sporting universe given the intrigue of watching Filipino left-hander Pacquiao, who has held world titles in eight different weight divisions, take on an undefeated Mayweather.

“This may be the last hurrah of boxing,” said Robert Boland, sports business professor at New York University. “It’s an interesting moment and maybe a moment that boxing will come together and figure out where it goes for the future.”

Tickets for the fight between two of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters have not gone on sale to the public yet but are expected to start at $1,000 with ringside seats fetching a face value of $5,000, according to Forbes.

Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum said on ESPN Radio last week that ringside seats for the fight will be made available only to customers who have a $250,000 line of credit with the casino.

A news conference in Los Angeles on March 11 featuring both fighters is expected to draw such a massive contingent of media that those wishing to attend must apply for credentials to gain admission, which is unusual.

For Kathy Duva, chief executive of New Jersey-based boxing promotion company Main Events, the long focus on getting boxing’s two biggest names in the ring has only served to hold back other up-and-comers who could help the sport.

“This fight has taken so long that talking about it, waiting for it, has so consumed the fans and the media that I am just happy that they are getting it over with,” Duva told Reuters.

“There are a lot of good younger fighters out there who are ready to step up and become the stars and it’s hard to do that when you got two people who are still there, lingering and not willing to pass the torch.”

A lack of star power, the rise of other genres like mixed martial arts and splintering sanctioning bodies that left casual fans wondering who the true champion is have all contributed to boxing’s decline.

It is now a far cry from a nearly 80-year period during the 20th century when boxers were among the biggest names in sports, including Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Mike Tyson.

“Certainly new talents will always come to any sport and a transcendent talent can change the dynamic of any event,” said Boland.

“But this is definitely a situation where there really are not fighters in the pipeline and this is a time when boxing is probably at its lowest point since the beginning of the 20th century and the rise of pro fighting.”