Manny Pacquiao still undisputed

At least until the voters and Floyd Mayweather weigh in

The final list of nominations won’t go out to members of the Boxing Writers Association of America until this week, but when the ballots are counted it’s hard to imagine that the 2009 Fighter of the Year won’t be the same guy who was honored as the 2008 Fighter of the Year.

The only defensible logic for not voting for Manny Pacquiao might come from those who want to hedge their bets on his next fight, as his scheduled March 13 encounter with Floyd Mayweather Jr. will precede the presentation of the award at the annual BWAA dinner.

Should they cover next year’s event again, let’s hope the folks at Time get it right this time. Last month’s cover story on “Pac-Man” included the rather startling information that Pacquiao attended June’s BWAA dinner in New York “to receive his second Fighter of the Year award from The Ring magazine.”

What is even more absurd than misidentifying the voting body - if the story itself is to be believed - is that its authors supposedly attended that same dinner. Perhaps Howard Chua-Eoan and Ishaan Tharoor had one too many cocktails that night, but what ever happened to Time’s legendary team of fact-checkers? . . .

File this under the category, That’s Why They Call Them Yahoos: Mayweather, who has fought five times in the last five years, was nominated last week for “Athlete of the Decade” by Yahoo! [YHOO] Sports.

All five of those fights, incidentally, took place in Las Vegas, where the transplanted Michigander now resides. Pacquiao’s last six bouts have also been in Vegas, but no one would confuse him with a resident, which is one reason Pacquiao and promoter Bob Arum would prefer a more neutral venue for their welterweight title fight in March.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones reportedly has a $25 million offer on the table to host the bout at his new palace, Cowboys Stadium, and Texas, like Nevada, has no state income tax. Arum, HBO sports president Ross Greenburg and Golden Boy promotions CEO Richard Schaefer were supposed to fly to Dallas to confer with Jones a couple of weeks ago, but when Schaefer (presumably at Mayweather’s behest) canceled at the last minute, everyone else did, too.

Jones, who has already locked up the Cotton Bowl, an NCAA Final Four and a Super Bowl for his new venue, envisions the largest live audience in the history of American boxing - if he can land Pacquiao-Mayweather.

It’s hard to see how Jones can think on such a grand scale, even in Texas, but then again the oil bidness ain’t what it used to be. Still, even with an expanded capacity that would seat 110,000 for boxing, to recoup his investment Jones would need to price tickets, including those up in the nosebleed sections, at an average of more than $250.cw0cw0

Zbikowski punches in

This week’s other NFL/boxing connection concerns heavyweight Tommy Zbikowski, who made his pro debut three years ago when he knocked out Robert Bell on the Miguel Cotto-Paulie Malignaggi undercard at Madison Square Garden. Now a Baltimore Ravens safety, Zbikowski’s name is on the Pro Bowl ballot as a special teams performer, and following an injury to Ed Reed, has been in the Ravens’ starting lineup for the last few games. Although he hasn’t fought since his MSG pro debut, Zbikowski says he works out in a boxing gym on Tuesdays, the team’s off-day. . . .

Don’t be surprised, by the way, if Nate Campbell and Sergio Mora start moving up in The Ring’s ratings. Campbell, the former three-belt lightweight champion, has fought just three rounds since February (his head-butt fight vs. Tim Bradley, later changed to No Contest) and the “Latin Snake” not at all in 2009, but both signed promotional contracts with Golden Boy last week.

Rigondeaux reax

Hours before Guillermo Rigondeaux made his New York debut at B.B. King’s Wednesday night, an arbitration hearing issued a permanent injunction upholding the managerial contract Irishman Gary Hyde signed with the Cuban featherweight in 2007 - two years prior to Rigondeaux’ defection. Hyde’s investment was somewhat devalued hours later by the boxer’s lackluster performance against Ghanain journeyman Lantey Addy. Fighting beyond the fourth round for the first time in nearly 400 amateur and pro fights, Rigondeaux, who had knocked out each of his first three pro opponents, was extended the distance when Addy opted to fight in survival mode.

“I’d rather have seen him in there with someone who was actually trying to win a fight,” trainer Freddie Roach said.

Last night’s Kelly Pavlik-Miguel Espino card may have been HBO’s last pay-per-view of the year, but it won’t be the end of televised boxing for 2009. Beginning on Dec. 26, Boxing Day, HBO will reprise its top fights of the year nightly at 11: Mayweather-Raul Marquez on Dec. 26, Shane Mosley-Antonio Margarito on Dec. 27, Andre Berto-Luis Collazo on Dec. 28, Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz on Dec. 29, and Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto on Dec. 30. As a bonus, there will be a midnight showing of Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez following the Pacquiao-Cotto fight.

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