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By Alphonso Costello

Manny Pacquiao reigns supreme has the best little man in boxing. He is a well-oiled machine that keeps growing in stature. His display of speed and power against Erik Morales hasn’t been seen in athletics since Jose Canseco’s 1988 MVP season. He looked faster, stronger and more imposing. Pacquiao’s annihilation of Morales was not surprising, but his speed and power was overwhelming.

Yet, Pacquiao overshadowed his thrilling victory over a living legend by thrusting himself into the middle of boxing’s biggest feud. Despite having signed a promotional contract with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions over two months ago, Pacquiao inked a 4-year deal with Bob Arum’s promotional company. Arum made the announcement at Pacquiao’s post-fight press conference.

The litigious triangle between Pacquiao, Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank is something out of a soap opera.

Pacquiao always finds himself in the middle of a controversial storm. His boxing career is peaking, but his business dealings have turned the naïve Filipino star into a sensationalistic pushover…

Rage Against the Machine should reunite at a ‘Free Zahir Raheem’ benefit concert…

The clean and accurate punching was phenomenal. The speed, agility and timing was splendid. But the arrogance, self-pity and backpedaling was appalling.

Floyd Mayweather’s dominance over Carlos Baldomir was predictable as his Cinco de Mayo date with Oscar De La Hoya, but the world’s most talented fighter transformed himself into a modern-day hit-and-run version of Pernell Whitaker.

Mayweather’s Tour de France style will undoubtedly protect his undefeated record against dangerous opposition, but his new found fight plan will drive the customers away.

In all probability, Mayweather will struggle to make purses in excess of $8 million a fight once his mega-bout with Oscar De La Hoya is complete.

Mayweather will have to alter his ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ personality, along with his unpopular fight style in order to win over the mainstream masses.

The epic spectacle is set for Cinco de Mayo. De La Hoya gets to basket in the spotlight once more and Mayweather much like a leprechaun at the end of a rainbow gets his pot of gold.

So let the hype and pageantry begin. Boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter versus boxing’s pound-for-pound cash king…

Wild Card Gym regular and former Bayside High hunk Mario Lopez came up short in ABC’s primetime dance competition “Dancing with the Stars.” The duo of Cheryl Burke and former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith defeated Lopez and his dance partner Karina Smirnoff by split decision. Lopez is 0-2 in dance competitions having lost a dance contest in 1989 to Screech and Lisa…

Evander Holyfield suffered another victory with a split decision over Fres Oquendo. The victory keeps Holyfield’s career afloat and exposes the former heavyweight champion to unnecessary brain trauma…

Velocity personal fitness is a place where trophy wives and Hollywood pretty boys get whipped into shape, but it does not help beaten fighters reclaim their glorious past…

Under the tutelage of trainer Emanuel Steward, Wladimir Klitschko is emerging as the predominate prizefighter in a drab heavyweight division. Klitschko is evolving into a well-rounded boxer with each passing fight. His poor stamina and shaky confidence is a thing of the past and his continual growth could be attributed to Steward’s vast knowledge and training techniques.

The killer instinct Klitschko wielded in his successful IBF title defense against Calvin Brock was quite striking.

Along with his killer instinct, a sense of urgency kicked in when Klitschko suffered a cut over his left eye in the fifth round.

The ugly gash over Klitschko’s eye was reminiscent of the one his older brother Vitali suffered in his 2003 title loss to Lennox Lewis.

Klitschko’s consistent jabbing kept Brock at bay, but the thunderous right hand that sent Brock to the canvas face first was a thing of beauty…

Former WBO super featherweight champion “El Cachondo” Mike Anchondo is making his return to the ring on December 14 in Irvine, California. Anchondo is tentatively scheduled to face Armando Cordoba in an eight-round lightweight contest. The 24-year-old has only fought once since suffering his lone career defeat against Jorge Barrios.

Manny Pacquiao is the Paris Hilton of boxing. A pound-for-pound drama king…

It was a comical affair when Shannon Briggs pushed himself to the brink of exhaustion by throwing a small number of punches in his WBO title fight against Sergei Liakhovich.

For 35 minutes and 30 seconds Briggs showed the heartless, lazy and underachieving traits that have defined his disappointing career. Yet, the diesel framed Brooklyn native landed the one lucky punch he needed to knockout Liakhovich.

Ahead on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage, Liakhovich’s failure to stay on his feet allowed Briggs to join WBE World Champion Rob Calloway as the only American-born heavyweight titleholders…

Joe Calzaghe relinquished his IBF super middleweight title instead of facing an unknown German challenger.

The IBF was pushing Calzaghe into a mandatory defense against Robert Stieglitz. Calzaghe is scheduled to defend his WBO title against Peter Manfredo Jr. in the spring of 2007.

A win over Manfredo may set-up a lucrative showdown with Jermain Taylor or any other big name fighter that has the audacity to go toe-to-toe with the undefeated Welshman…

So, did Juan Manuel Marquez alter his counter-punching fight style to please the audience and campaign for a rematch with Manny Pacquiao?

He sure did. But on the surface it looked like he had a difficult time in vanquishing Jimrex Jaca.

If you scratch at the surface, you will find a fighter that is willing and able to derail the “Manny Pacquiao Express.”

Marquez virtually defeated Pacquiao once before, but can he defeat the former flyweight champion that has improved his technique, speed and power in a higher weight class?

Miguel Cotto is making his Showtime Championship Boxing debut this Saturday night in Atlantic City. Cotto squares off against Carlos Quintana in a WBA welterweight title fight. Both fighters hail from Puerto Rico and sport undefeated records.

Cotto (27-0, 22 KO’s) the former WBO junior welterweight champion moved up in weight to fight for the vacant WBA title. Meanwhile, Quintana (23-0, 18 KO’s) earned a title shot by defeating the heavily hyped Columbian slugger Joel Julio in a title eliminator.

This should be an interesting fight since both fighters have contrasting styles. While Cotto offers up plenty of power, he has a suspect chin. On the other hand, Quintana is a slick and intelligent boxer that will give Cotto all he can handle.

On the same Showtime telecast Antonio Margarito (33-4, 24 KO’s) defends his WBO welterweight title against Joshua Clottey (29-1, 18 KO’s).

The 12-round championship bout should be a competitive collision between two hard-punching fighters.

Clottey’s only blemish was a disqualification loss to former welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir. Clottey is an aggressive power puncher. He should be able to penetrate Margarito’s questionable defensive shield.

Margarito enters the bout with a sprained right ankle, but the injury didn’t alter the defending titleholder’s training regime or eating habits. The 28-year-old is a strong physical fighter with excellent punching power.

Margarito has finished off fighters with killer combinations and brute force, and a victory over Clottey will bolster his self-proclamation as the ‘best welterweight in the world.’

I bet the kind waiters from Applebee’s in Montebello, California are rooting for the friendly and stylish WBO welterweight champion…

Not to be outdone by Showtime, HBO World Championship Boxing is offering its viewers a Saturday night doubleheader.

In the main event Winky Wright is taking on Ike Quartey in a 10-round middleweight bout.

Wright (50-3-1, 25 KO’s) inexplicably turned down a lucrative rematch with middleweight kingpin Jermain Taylor. Instead Wright finds himself taking on Quartey (37-3-1, 31 KO’s) in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida.

For the first time in his career Wright headlines a main event in front of his hometown fans.

However, the significance of this match doesn’t compare to a middleweight title rematch with Taylor.

Four months ago Quartey lost a controversial decision to Vernon Forrest in Madison Square Garden. A decision victory in Wright’s backyard will be an arduous task for Quartey to accomplish.

Quartey’s only chance to win the fight is to do the impossible and score a knockout.

Jeff Lacy is also fighting in front of his hometown fans in the co-feature. The 29-year-old Florida native is returning from a long layoff to take on Vitali Tsypko (17-1, 10 KO’s) in a 10-round super middleweight bout.

Lacy (21-1, 17 KO’s) is looking to ease his way back into title contention after his traumatic defeat to Joe Calzaghe.

These two fighters met once before in 2004. The fight was abruptly halted in the second round when Tsypko suffered a cut caused by an accidental head butt.

In reality this is a comeback fight for Lacy. He must rebound from his first professional loss if he wants to continue his career as an elite prizefighter.

If not he will be headlining Wednesday Night Fights with Emanuel Augustus...

CHUMP OF THE MONTH: World Boxing Association

The WBA Championship Committee ordered an interim cruiserweight title fight between Luis Pineda and Valery Brudov. The WBA already recognizes two world champions. O’Neil Bell is the WBA “super champion” and 42-year-old Virgil Hill is the “regular” world champion.

Anything goes in the corrupt world of rigged rankings and meaningless “championship” belts…

Alphonso Costello can be reached at [email protected]
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