Promoter wants Manny Pacquiao to consider fighting Paul Williams
It’s a longshot, and Dan Goossen knows it, but before Manny Pacquiao finalizes whom he wants to fight next, Goossen wants to send out a strong reminder about once-beaten Paul Williams.
"What made our sport great -- the era of [Marvin] Hagler, [Thomas] Hearns, [Roberto] Duran -- is that all those guys wanted to fight each other," Goossen said. "That's a champion's mentality, to fight the best."
Williams (39-1, 27 knockouts), a former world welterweight champion, is clearly too tall for Pacquiao's liking. The 5-foot-6½ Pacquiao already has rejected a fight against Yuri Foreman because of height issues. Foreman is 5-11. Williams is 6-2. Williams, a left-hander, also is at his peak – he turns 29 on July 27 -- and is more skilled than Foreman.
Should Pacquiao move on without a megafight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Nov. 13 -- and the "Countdown Clock" for Mayweather to express interest in participating stops ticking at midnight -- there's also the obvious interest from Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, to match the fighter against an Arum-promoted Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto.
Financially, that's a no-brainer for Arum. Goossen's pitch for Williams is based on an angle that boxing has turned its back on repeatedly: the ethical high ground.
Goossen is happy to cite the facts. Pacquiao was impressive in his defeat of current super-welterweight champion Cotto in November. Former welterweight champ Margarito doesn’t have a license to fight in the U.S. after California revoked his last year for nearly taking plaster-loaded gloves into the ring of a January 2009 fight against Shane Mosley.
And Williams has defeated Margarito.
"It'd be a travesty to have Manny Pacquiao fight a guy whose license has been taken away," Goossen said. "That would be hurtful to Manny's reputation. Manny's a great man, but there's a lot of negative sentiment about Margarito and what he did. These are the things that are not good for our sport.
"And Cotto is one fight removed from having the tar knocked out of him by Manny. Who wants to see that again?"
Goossen has been in talks to have Williams take a rematch against middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in October. The promoter wants to hold off until Pacquiao-Mayweather is declared dead after this second round of talks to make the sport's dream fight, and he publicly clings to the argument that Williams is a true welterweight, even though he has fought five times beyond 147 pounds since being at that weight in June 2008.
"Paul has given up his weight advantage to fight the best, but there have been sacrifices," Goossen said. "Manny's mind-set should be, 'If Mayweather won't fight me, how can I say no to the next guy who's among the top three welterweights in the world?'
"How can he take this fight against Margarito out of the country, like thieves in the night? Our sport needs to make the biggest and best fights possible, and without Mayweather, Paul Williams is the richest fight for Pacquiao that’s out there."
-- Lance Pugmire