Mayorga vs Pacquiao

Conrad M. Cariño

Conrad M. Cariño

When I heard Manny Pacquiao would possibly be fighting Jeff Horn, I did not mind writing a column about it. I mean, who has Horn fought so far except no-name opponents who like him have not seen action in the international arena?

Also, Pacquiao squaring off with mixed martial arts fighter Connor McGregor looks a bit far off.

But when I heard Ricardo Mayorga staging a comeback by taking on journeyman Jaudiel Zepeda (12-17 with 1 knockout) on April 1, I felt he would be a good choice to fight Pacquiao because has the charisma (and antics) to hype a fight beyond proportion. And Mayorga, who held the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association world welterweight titles, does not fear exchanging punches with the best!

Pacquiao vs Mayorga would literally be a good guy vs bad guy bout!

Even if Mayorga (31-9-1 with 25 KOs) has lost bouts against among the best in boxing’s middle divisions decades back, he is remembered more for his out-of-ring antics for bullying, taunting and making fun of his opponents. He taunted and bullied the likes of Felix Trinidad, Oscar Dela Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley, but lost to all of them.

Whether Mayorga was simply a showman who resorted to taunting and bullying during fight promotions is hard to decipher. “ I never meant any of those things. It’s all promotion. It’s all entertainment,” he said after his loss to Cotto in March 2011, referring to his pre-fight antics.

But the way he taunted and bullied Dela Hoya before their fight in May 2006 looked like he wanted to cut off his opponent’s head, and he created a ruckus during one of the press conferences for his fight against Fernando Vargas, whom he beat on November 2007 by majority decision.

Now, just imagine if Mayorga and Pacquiao (59-6-2 with 38 KOs) agree to fight and the Nicaraguan showed no respect for the Filipino by taunting, bullying and insulting Pacquiao? I mean, the Nicaraguan, even if he is already 43 years old, is big for a welterweight at 5’9”, and for sure, he will think he can bully our very own Pacquiao who is 5’6”.

The fact that Mayorga can hype a fight with his off-the-ring and pre-fight antics will surely help sell a bout with Pacquiao. And never mind if the fight gets hyped beyond proportion. I even think Pacquiao needs an opponent who can really sell a fight the way Mayorga can potentially do.

There is also danger that Mayorga’s antics can cause a riot among fans, or Filipinos wanting to get his head if his insults, antics and bullying toward Pacquiao gets out of hand. Remember that Mayorga touched the butt of the fiancé of Mosley during a press event, blowed cigarette smoke on the face also of Mosley, and came close to blows with Vargas and other top fighters during a press conferences. He even slapped Dela Hoya on the head during a fight presser before insulting his opponent’s wife.

Well, what could you expect from a former street thug?

As his fight against Dela Hoya drew close, Mayorga said, “I believe honestly that despite everything I told him and despite all the insults that we traded, I still don’t think he’s man enough to stand in front of me.” Dela Hoya stopped Mayorga in May 2006.

Despite his ungentlemanly behavior outside the ring (and sometimes inside the ring) that was once protested by the WBC, you have to admire Mayorga for one thing: he bullies those who he knows can punch back or retaliate! If there is one thing I find very unmanly today, it is a man bullying or insulting a person who he knows can never retaliate, including women (I’m telling you – men bullying women is a reality nowadays!).

So Mayorga is no doubt a real man despite his being a bully who can make a fight with Pacquiao, who many boxing fans still regard as a nice guy, a marketable one. Forget about the fact that Mayorga and Pacquiao are both past their prime; what’s more important is the Nicaraguan and Filipino will enter the ring with contrasting personas that will surely generate a lot of interest among fans, or Mayorga being a former street thug who is a bully, and Pacquiao the born-again Christian who is a Senator.

This fight needs to be made!


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