Manny Pacquiao says this won't be his last fight
Manny Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach was asked what becomes of the Filipino superstar if he again fails to make a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. next year, and the candid, well-connected Roach said, "I think this could be it.
"Where else do we have to go? Without Mayweather, there's no challenge."
Stop the presses.
There are obvious problems with Mayweather, and let's skip any amateur psychological assessment for now.
First, he had his initial court appearance pushed to Jan. 24 on Tuesday in a Las Vegas criminal case that threatens to force him to prison. Pacquiao's promoters say they can't arrange anything until they know what's going to happen at that hearing.
"I can't put millions of dollars in the hands of a judge who may set a trial date in September," Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said.
Yet, a legal source in Clark County (Nev.) has told The Times it's possible a Mayweather trial for domestic violence won't even be conducted in 2011. That would allow a super-fight to proceed in the May-June window promoter Arum would like.
Pacquiao's business manager, Michael Koncz, said he and Pacquiao will not open negotiations this time.
"It's up to Mayweather," Koncz said. "He either wants the fight or not."
Koncz speculates an oft-suggested theory that the Mayweather interest will not come, because "his bragging rights about being unbeaten are more important than boxing. He wants to say he's the best because he's unbeaten. Twenty percent of people will believe him, and he's content with that.
"He's not going to take that fight until he sees a downside with Manny."
Arum said if Mayweather's disappearing act continues into 2011, he'll explore bouts against world welterweight champions Shane Mosley and Andre Berto or junior-welterweight champion Timothy Bradley if he wins a tough fight in January against Devon Alexander.
Roach scoffed at Mosley, saying the 39-year-old "needs to retire."
When asked about his future, Pacquiao, 31, maintained with little hesitation that "this is not my last fight." He said even if Mayweather stays in hiding or appears headed behind bars, Pacquiao has "two to three fights" left.
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Manny Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach at Wednesday's news conference in Arlington, Texas. Credit: David J. Phillip / Associated Press