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W.Klitschko vs Rahman today in Germany, but boxing fans still thinking Pacquiao!

The buzz and excitment over Manny Pacquiao's triumph last weekend still remain more than luminous one week later. In case you missed the live telecast last Saturday night, HBO subscribers will be able to view the replay today immediately following the live heavyweight title fight between champion Wladimir Klitschko and former two time heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman.

Wladimir Klitschko was originally set to defend his title against undefeated 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Alexander Povetkin, but Povetkin had to pull out of the fight due to a foot injury. Enter Rahman, a former champion who is still best known for knocking out Lennox Lewis in South Africa on April 21, 2001. Lewis, however, would regain his title by knocking Rahman out in four one sided rounds several months later.

In his last fight on July 12 of this year, Klitschko was seen stopping Tony Thompson in the 11th round of a fight that was tougher than expected in the early going for Dr. Steelhammer. After the first five rounds, I actually had Thompson winning three of them, as a result of his awkward style and southpaw stance giving Klitschko all he could handle. Thompson landed some scoring blows, mostly to Klitschko's body, but it was Klitschko who began to pump his jab and target Thompson with the right hand as the fight went into the middle and late rounds.

A few years ago, Rahman was set to challenge WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, brother of Wladimir, on three different occasions, but Vitali withdrew each and every time due to injury.

Rahman was last seen in the ring against James Toney on July 16, days after Klitschko's successful conquest of Thompson, in what was a rematch of their heavyweight title fight from March of 2006. One could not really gain any solid insight on how that fight was going to turn out, due to a clash of heads that opened up a cut over Rahman's left eye and brought an end to the fight after inconclusive three rounds.

The initial result was a TKO win for Toney, after the doctor had stopped the fight due to the cut hindering Rahman's vision. The commission overturned the result of the fight and changed it to a no contest.

In a rather extensive career mixed with a few decent wins, one historic win, and a few bad knockout losses, this may in fact be Rahman's last chance to reach the top of the pinnacle where he happily resided for several months in 2001. Klitschko, who doesn't necessarily have the sturdiest beard in the heavyweight division or even boxing for that matter, is one of the better tacticians of the sport.

When Klitschko gets into a rhythm and utilizes his height and reach, there's very little his opponents can do to get out of the way of his jab. Most of them just have no answer for the Klitschko jab, and once Klitschko finds his range with the jab, opponents can expect to feel the wrath of the straight right hand shortly there after.

Rahman has the proverbial puncher's chance against Klitschko, but I expect Klitschko to establish dominance with his left jab and catch Rahman with enough right hands to stop him within seven or eight rounds.

To be precise, give me Klitschko by way of an eighth round TKO.

Klitschko vs Rahman can be seen live on HBO World Championship Boxing today at 4:45 PM ET/ 1:45 PM PT. The fight will be replayed at 10PM ET / 7PM PT.

Pacquiao's unexpected destruction of De la hoya - what it means to the sport and where the sport goes from here!

Boxing analysts and experts were right - this was a MISMATCH!

Manny Pacquiao TKO8 Oscar De la hoya ... When I went to Miami Mike's Sport Zone on a snowy Saturday night last week to watch the Pacquiao vs De la hoya PPV fight, which is where I go to watch all of the PPV boxing matches, what I witnessed was a virtuoso performance.

Manny Pacquiao was devastating as he beat Oscar De la hoya from pillar to post, with lightening fast counter punches and beautifully executed ring generalship. Getting inside to fire quick combinations and getting out of harms way, Pacquiao did not give De la hoya a chance to land his bigger but slower punches from long range. By the third round, De la hoya's left eye was already beginning to swell up - product of the Phillipino's punching accuracy. After eight one sided rounds, De la hoya's left eye was practically swollen shut. His trainer for this fight, Nacho Bernstain, had seen his fighter take more than enough punishment and decided to mercifully call a halt to the bout in between rounds. De la hoya, a beaten man, did not disagree or object to the decision of his trainer.

Skills pay the bills and speed kills. This match up was not going to be determined by who was the bigger man. Going into the fight, fans and experts may have had much more to be concerned about with De la hoya dropping nine pounds at the advanced age of 35 rather than Pacquiao going up a few pounds or so. Yes indeed, Pacquiao went up a few pounds. Big deal it turned out to be. Pacquiao, when he made his lightweight debut against David Diaz this past June, he weighed 142lbs on the night of the fight.

Now that the fight is all said and done, I think we can all come to the conclusion that coming down in weight was not necessarily going to benefit De la hoya. Weight decrease certainly was not a benefit to five division world champion Sugar Ray Leonard when he came all the way down to 154lbs, after fighting in super middleweight and light heavyweight title matches, to square off with Terry Norris in 1990. Roy Jones, Jr looked anything but spectacular, after thoroughly outclassing John Ruiz in a fight at the heavyweight limit, when he came back down to 175lbs to fight Antonio Tarver in 2003. When former two-time heavyweight titlist Chris Byrd came down from heavyweight to 175lbs to fight Shaun George earlier this year, he looked unsteady, wasn't throwing punches, and was inevitably embarrassed by George who stopped the former heavyweight titlist in nine one-sided rounds. History once again repeated itself for De la hoya against Pacquiao.

Pacquiao has also been improving skill wise ever since the loss to Morales in 2005. How the odds makers could have had De la hoya as such a substantial favorite is beyond me. Judging from this viewer's perspective, Pacquiao is the best Pound for Pound fighter in the world today. It's no mystery to me whatsoever that Juan Manuel Marquez fought two hotly contested and debatable twelve round fights with Pacquiao. Marquez is obviously is closer to his natural size, is a full time fighter, and he in his own right, is also currently one of the best Pound for pound fighters in the world.

So what's next for the Philippino sensation?

If Pacquiao wasn't such a mild mannered gentlemen and instead decided to challenge Floyd Mayweather by verbally abusing the former pound for pound king, much like Ricky Hatton did after the Castillo fight, we might see Mayweather come out of retirement to fight Pacquiao in a real Dream Match. Logic says Pacquiao will meet Hatton at 140lbs next year - I fully expect him to do something very similar to Hatton as he did to De la hoya.

Keep in mind that Pacquiao is a fighter who used to compete at 112lbs! He's now looking to challenge the best of the 140lb and 147lb weight division. Two scenarios could unfold in Mayweather's mind now. He's either way too prideful to see this so-called little man from the Philippines show him up with his achievements, that he wants to come back and meet Pacquiao in a big mega showdown to settle the score and satisfy his own pride and dignity. Either that, or he's satisfied with the millions of dollars he's earned and hanging out with his family and rap friends, is afraid to lose that 0 on his record, and does not want to risk getting hit more in one fight than he has the 39 others. Mayweather might just find it easier to say to himself "I don't have to mess with a guy who just devastated the man that I sweat out a split decision against last year."

Coming out of retirement could be risky business for Mayweather, but it's also lucrative business. We'll see what happens. I may or may not be subjecting myself to criticism from many of you about this, but as of right now, I would pick Pacquiao to defeat Mayweather. I call them like I see them, but I doubt we'll ever see that fight. Arum is most definitely going to try to make the Hatton fight, as I firmly believe that fight is doable. I think both Hatton and Pacquiao want that fight. It represents a big event in it's own right and it's also a big payday for both champions. Pacquiao will probably meet Hatton. Should Pacquiao emerge victorious against Hatton, it's inevitable that Arum matches Pacquiao with whoever comes out the winner of Margarito vs Mosley vs Cotto.

As for De la hoya, he's been an ambassador to the sport of boxing, carrying the sport on his shoulders for over fifteen years. Credit to De la hoya for doing so, but now is the time for him to retire and focus on the power house that Golden Boy promotions has already become.

The Bobfather wants to no part of Paul Williams!

Williams vs Margarito II improbable as long as Margarito is fighting under the Top Rank banner!

Who can blame Bob "the Bobfather" Arum and WBA welterweight champion Antonio Margarito for going after Sugar Shane Mosley, who is 10 years older than Paul Williams and hasn't already beaten Margarito? Speculating the reasons why a Williams vs Margarito rematch is irrelevant and unnecessary, I've heard all the excuses in the world. Williams isn't exciting. Williams isn't a big name. Williams won't make a Margarito fight the 'event' that guys like Mosley or Miguel Cotto would make it.

Margarito is also making two million dollar for a title defense against Mosley on January 24, where he would've made four million for a rematch with Williams. In this case, less money and an older fighter who might make the fight a bigger event was the preferred alternative for Margarito rather than trying to avenge his July 2007 loss to Williams (for twice as much money!). Sugar Ray Leonard did it against Roberto Duran. Lennox Lewis did it against Hasim Rahman. More recently, Williams did it against Quintana, in spectacular first knockout type of fashion. Mosley, another warrior, tried to make it happen with Forrest and Wright after losing to both of them - but was unsuccessful in his attempts.

This is no disrespect to Margarito, he's still a very good fighter and his war with Cotto this past summer is definitely in the running for Fight of Year honors. However, it is crystal clear that Margarito and Arum have absolutely no intentions of establishing that type of loss-avenging legacy for Margarito. Other than taking half the purse he would've taken for a Williams fight (which doesn't make sense), the rest of it all pretty much makes sense to me. There's always somebody out there who has your ticket. Always somebody out there who has your number.

When I look at Williams, I see a freak of a physical specimen. The man is a 6'0" 154lber who throws a high volume of punches from all angles. He doesn't slap as much now a days. As of late, he's sitting down on his shots more than he used to, hence adding more power to his punches. Even with the additional power, the man still throws a lot of punches. He beat Margarito fair and square the first time. In the later rounds of that fight, particularly round 11, Margarito managed to connect quite a bit on Williams and Williams did not budge.

Margarito either has to hurt you or wear you down. He's been effective when taking that approach against smaller opponents. He's never done that with a bigger opponent. Williams is a natural 154lber who could easily fight at 160lbs. He's bigger than Margarito. He'll beat Margarito again if the Bobfather ever has a change of heart and allows his fighter to tip toe into the ring with The Punisher. But we all know Margarito isn't going to fight Williams ever again.

At the Williams vs Phillips post-fight press conference, it was clearly noted that Arum doesn't ever want to be contacted about doing business with 'Mr Williams' again! It's not like Arum is merely trying to keep a Margarito vs Cotto rematch alive. It's Margarito, or at least Arum, steering clear of having face Williams again. If Arum was just being an experienced businessman trying to set a path for Margarito/Cotto II, he'd tell Paul William's promoter Dan Goossen...

"Here's the deal. The rematch with Cotto is going to happen. Margarito is going to fight Shane Mosley in January. Then a rematch with Cotto afterwards if Margarito is victorious against Mosley, as he should be. No disrespect to you or Paul, but Margarito vs Cotto is a Fight of the Year candidate. A rematch is in order - that's what the fans really want to see first. We'll be in touch as everything unfolds, with a possibility of your guy getting the winner next, provided both fighters stay unbeaten, at the end of the year in 2009 either at 147lbs or 154lbs."

But no, he has cut off all possibilities and avenues to negotiation because he knows his fighter can't beat Williams. Margarito might not know it, but Arum certainly has to know as much. He does not want to give Williams the opportunity to show Margarito that Margarito can not beat him. They clearly want to duck Williams. Arum appears to have a special radar - he knows when other fighters can beat his fighters. That's why he's kept Winky Wright away from all his stars over the years - and it's been an ongoing trend! Wright was never able to land a fight with Oscar De la hoya when he was with Arum. Arum has also keeping Winky away from world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.

Knowing what I know, I have to admit that Margarito is not on the level of Sugar Ray Leonard, Lennox Lewis, or any of those champions for that matter who even attempted to avenge their losses. But by the same token, Margarito is not stupid, either. He doesn't want to lose that momentum or that image that he's re-established for himself and neither does Arum. Margarito will never get into a ring with Williams, as long as he's with Arum.

It's a shame, but that's just the way it is. That's the truth.

Williams, Arreola win in Ontario over the weekend!

Paul Williams TKO 8 Verno Phillips ... This past Saturday night at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California, Paul "The Punisher" Williams claimed the Interim WBO Super Welterweight Championship with a dominating 8th TKO of former three division titlist Verno Phillips. Williams was in command from the opening bell, despite a laceration over his right eye caused by an accidental headbutt. After eight rounds, Williams had savagely attacked Phillips with body shots and all but the beat the fight out of him. That's Phillips' corner had seen enough and signaled the referee to call a halt to the bout in between rounds.

Chris Arreola TKO3 Travis Walker... On the televised undercard, Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola remained unbeaten, after a slow start and rising from a 2nd round knockdown, to drop Travis Walker three times en route to a third round TKO. Arreola stated to Max Kellerman in the post interview that he's ready for the Klitschko brothers. I'm not sure whether or not I agree with that, but it'll be interesting to watch Arreola's young career unfold nonetheless.

television: HBO Boxing After Dark