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Pacquiao is 7-1 favorite

Pacquiao is 7-1 favoriteTORONTO (January 31, 2011) – Filipinos here in Canada are again preparing another party among themselves May 7 when their boxing hero Manny Pacquiao climbs the ring to defend his WBO welterweight crown against a tested and veteran campaigner Shane Mosley at the plush  MGM Grand Casino Hotel in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao's encounter with Mosley was met with few positive reactions from large sections of the international press when it was first announced last year despite some pundits’ claim that Mosley was over the hill after a one-sided loss to Floyd Mayweather and a boring draw against Sergio Mora.

Others strongly criticized Pacquiao for not taking on young undefeated champion Andre Berto or once more squaring off with long-time blabbermouth-rival Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico whom the Filipino boxing icon decked four times in the first encounter and once more in the second.

Filipino fans all over the world, however, treated Pacquiao as a ‘god of pro boxing’ who could not loss a fight whoever is put in front of him by Bob Arum inside the squared arena. “Kahit sinong iharap nila kay Idol Pacman, matutulog ng walang banig sa lona,” die-hard Pacquiao fans Freddie and Jose of Vaughan told this writer with shared excitement.

The Pacman fans also challenge Marquez to climb the 145-147 lbs division and fight their idol and not issuing statements that Pacquiao is scared of facing him in the 140-lbs. class.

‘May saltik sa ulo itong si Marquez, ah. Siya ang humahamon kay Idol Pacman, tapos si champ ang pababain niya sa kaniyang bakuran. Sira ulo ng Mehikanong ito. Tumatahol lang, wala naman bangis na,” Alex of Bathurst St., another Pacquiao fan, told this writer.

Despite it all though, the fight is shaping up to be a great success, and with over 16,000 tickets sold in three hours the other day, Mosley and Pacquiao look set to do big pay per view numbers  come fight time.

The Filipino superman of the ring is also a 7-1 pick by the odds makers in Las Vegas right after both fighters inked the contract.

Even Top Rank  big boss Bob Arum was surprised of the success at the tills, saying: “I have never promoted a fight that has sold so many tickets so quickly. Manny Pacquiao never ceases to amaze the world with his achievements. The excitement he generated today with the initial ticket sales makes it feel like fight week already!”

As amazed as Arum sounds though, it was almost certainly his own marketing strategies that were the cause.

Against Joshua Clottey, the fact that the fight was being held in the billion dollar Cowboys stadium helped to gloss over the fact that Pacquiao was an overwhelming favorite against an opponent few outside of boxing circles had even heard of. As a result of that, along with Pacquiao's continually rising star in the United States, the fight sold a respectable 700k pay per views, and the live gate was a staggering $6.3 million dollars.

Next Pacquiao was pitted against Antonio Margarito, who at the time was returning from the loaded hand wrap scandal and who had looked terrible in his last major fight against Shane Mosley. This time around the sheer size difference between the pair served as the draw, as well as the fact that Pacquiao was vying for his 8th title in an 8th weight class, an until then unheard of feat.

Fast forward to the present day and Pacquiao's next fight against Shane Mosley, and Bob Arum has done it once again.

Despite the fact that Mosley will be 40 years of age by the time the fight rolls around, and that his last two performances fell short of expectations, Arum has once again successfully given the fight a different selling point that takes focus away from Pacquiao's opponent.

The announcement days ago that the fight was being moved from the industry standard of HBO to Showtime with the build-up series to be televised on CBS, attracted huge interest from fans and media alike, and even sparked talk of a possible return to network television for the sport.

Coinciding with this is the fact that Mosley was last seen by most casual American fans against Floyd Mayweather, where in the early rounds he nearly succeeded in shocking the boxing world, landing a big right hand that buckled the legs of the still undefeated former pound for pound king.

Unveiling Pacquiao and Mosley to a potentially much wider audience on CBS could also serve to both attract new fans to the sport and recapture many of the older fans who lost touch as the majority of major fights gradually moved over to HBO in the nineties. – (With report from Scott Heritage - Pittsburgh Fight Sports Examiner)


Toronto, Canada

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