It’s finally here, the bout the whole world has been waiting for: Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather, Jr. I Juan Manuel Marquez L (that’s 50 for you Roman numerically challenged folks out there). OK, so tonight Pacquiao and Marquez meet for the 4th time, but admitting it feels like the 50th doesn’t seem too grand an embellishment.
If you watched the build up to this fight on HBO’s 24/7, you know tonight’s main event has an intricately-woven spider web of subplots, but there are also some interesting developments to follow during the 3 undercard fights. Here are 5 subplots to think about during tonight’s main event and undercard bouts:
To say the boxer turned congressman has a lot on his plate nowadays is an understatement. Personal issues already distracted him in his last fight with Marquez. Are Manny’s marital problems completely behind him now?
He’s also serving in the Phillipine House of Representatives for the district of Sarangani, has an acting career, thinks he’s a singer, is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Phillipine Army and is very involved in the Roman Catholic Church. That’s a lot for any man, let alone one whose main profession requires countless hours in the gym on a daily basis. Perhaps Dos Equis should fire that really cool old guy and use Pacquiao as the “Most Interesting Man in the World.”
Freddie Roach has been disappointed by Manny’s often tardy arrivals to training camps in recent years due to his extremely busy schedule. I believe Pacquiao will show up fit and focused tonight, but is there a chance that the stress of a hectic life could prevent him from being at his best?
Angel Heredia and Marquez’s new body
Snitch! Narc! Rat! Yes, Marquez’s new strength and conditioning coach, Angel Heredia, did just that when BALCO was brought down. Victor Conte, love him or hate him, at least did the crime and paid the time. Heredia did the crime, then snitched to the Feds and never spent a day in jail.
Heredia says he’s providing legal supplements to his clients now, but some people in the boxing community have expressed their doubts, most notably Freddie Roach. Marquez does look much bigger and stronger, and also claims to have gotten faster, too. I’ve always been a firm believer in the “innocent until proven guilty” approach, so until there’s a shred of proof the allegations toward Marquez and Heredia are just baseless, hurtful accusations.
At age 39, will the added bulk be the edge Marquez needs to finally defeat Pacquiao, or will it slow him down and give Pacquiao a significant advantage in the speed department?
Gamboa’s chin and balance
Undefeated Cuban phenom Yuriokis Gamboa returns to the ring tonight against Filipino southpaw Michael Farenas after a 15-month layoff. Gamboa’s last several fights have been in the featherweight division, but tonight he’s moving back up to the super featherweight division, a weight he hasn’t fought at since February of 2009.
Gamboa has a penchant for hitting the canvas, although every time he gets knocked down it seems to be a flash knock down rather than a case of him being severely hurt. Still, getting decked is never a good thing, and many boxing pundits wonder if Gamboa’s chin can hold up if he continues moving up in weight.
I doubt he has much trouble with Farenas tonight, but if Gamboa does get dropped it begs the question: Will Gamboa ever move up to the lightweight division or the junior welterweight division if he’s being knocked down by featherweights?
Will Fortunas or Hyland lose their 0?
Two undefeated fighters square off on the undercard, Patrick Hyland (27-0) of Ireland and Javier Fortuna (20-0) of the Domincan Republic. While on paper the fighters appear evenly matched, Fortuna is actually heavily favored.
Hyland is a relatively unknown commodity with a weak resume of cab drivers. Fortunas is a highly coveted prospect with an array of boxing skills that should be on full display tonight.
Unless the bout ends in a draw, one of these guys will be losing their unblemished record tonight. Can Hyland shock the world or will Fortuna’s blue chip talent make quick work of Irishman?
Celebrity boxing promoters
Viewers will certainly see a lot of the usual suspects in the background tonight: Hopkins, De La Hoya, Arum, the Peterson brothers, etc. Two faces you might not expect to see? Snooki from the “reality show” Jersey Shore and rapper 50 Cent.
Most people know 50 Cent is a boxing fan as evidenced by his on again-off again friendship with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. However, 50 recently made the jump from fan to promoter and so far he is looking like a legitimate player in the boxing world. He has already signed Yuriokis Gamboa, so 50 Cent will surely be sitting ringside tonight while intently watching with a vested interest. And believe it or not, if a fight is ever to happen between Mayweather and Pacquiao in the future, 50 Cent could be just the man to pull it off.
Snooki is new to the game of boxing promotions but has already signed Patrick Hyland, so she will probably be sitting ringside as well in support of her fighter. Are celebrity boxing promoters a novelty or can this trend actually help improve the sport behind the scenes while drawing in more casual fans?
Honorable mention: Filipino southpaws
One funny coincidence I noticed about tonight is that there are 3 Filipino fighters stepping in the ring tonight, and all 3 of them fight from the southpaw stance. Plus, Nonito Donaire, another Filipino southpaw, isn’t even one of them.
Do most boxing trainers in the Phillipines teach the southpaw stance or is this purely a coincidence? If not, there must be something in the water!
Don’t miss our full live blog coverage of the main event and all the undercard fights right here at rumorsandrants.com starting at 8:00 PM tonight.
Follow Kevin on Twitter: @konundrum8