Pacquiao Belts Songs, Not Faces, At LA Nightclub

We now know how Ricky Hatton spent the day after getting his face turned into hamburger meat by Manny Pacquiao: drinking beers at the pool with his statuesque fiance. But what about the guy who was the meat tenderizer last Saturday night? What did he do to celebrate the victory that cemented his place as the current top pound-for-pound fighter in the world? Well, he sang, of course.

Manny Pacquiao

The LOS ANGELES TIMES says that Pacquiao took to the stage at the Conga Room in downtown Los Angeles on Monday night and gave an enthusiastic crowd a performance, this time belting out songs instead of blows. You see, Pacquiao is already an established singer in his native Philippines, and perhaps has eyes on reaching the English-speaking world as well. After what he’s already accomplished this year, are you going to doubt him?

Video evidence after the jump:

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To No One’s Surprise, Floyd Mayweather Is Back

My grandmother gave me one piece of advice before she died. She said, “don’t trust a boxer or a rapper when they say they’re retiring.” Well, grammy, you were right again. Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced his comeback, just a year after his “retirement.”

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Money Mayweather, always the shrewd businessman, honed in on the one weekend people are paying attention to boxing to hold his press conference. He claims he’s returning to reclaim his throne, but the real reason is a little less romantic.

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Speed Read: Yawn, Another Bulls/Celtics Classic

A few days ago, I thought that nothing could in the Celtics vs. Bulls series could top Boston’s wild OT victory over Chicago in Game 5, featuring Paul Pierce playing out of his mind to carry Boston to the win, Kirk Hinrich getting tripped by Rajon Rondo and smashing his face on the floor, or Brad Miller almost getting his faced ripped off (again by Rondo) before missing potential game-tying free throws with two seconds left to seal the victory for the Celtics.

Joakim Noah

But after last night’s Game 6 in Chicago,  I was clearly very, very wrong, as the Bulls’ 128-127 win in triple OT has not only pushed the series back to Boston on Friday for a deciding seventh game, but pushed the series from “epic” to “best ever” territory. And we can forget the qualifiers like “best ever first round series” or “best ever non-Finals series” - based on the series so far and what we can expect on Friday, this might be as good as an NBA series can possibly get.

Kirk Hinrich and Rajon Rondo square off

Just to recap some of the highlights, the fun started when Rondo and Hinrich got into it again early in the first quarter, with Rondo basically slinging Heinrich into the scorer’s table, with Heinrich immediately popping up looking for blood. Cooler heads prevailed and no one was ejected, but it sure served warning about what was to come.

Keep in mind that this game - and the series - should have all rights been over midway through the fourth quarter as the Celtics used a 25-2 run - 25-2! - to turn a 12-point deficit into a 99-91 lead with just under four minutes to go. In most series - hell, in any other series - a 25-2 fourth quarter run by the defending champs is enough to put an end to things.

But there were the Bulls, seemingly unable to grasp just how screwed they were, using their own 10-2 run to take the game to overtime. And from there, it was on. Taking the role of one-man team for the Celtics last night was Ray Allen, who scored 51 points including a game-tying three at the end of the second OT.

Even Allen wouldn’t be enough to fend off a wave of Bulls, all looking to be part of the heroics. One minute, it was John Salmons suddenly becoming unstoppable while scoring 35 points. The next it was Joakim Noah screaming down court after a steal for a ferocious dunk that led to a three-point play and Pierce fouling out with 35 seconds left in the third OT. And finally, Derrick Rose turning in the defensive ply of the season by blocking Rondo’s potential game-winner with three seconds left.

The series has been exhilarating, frustrating, ridiculous and incredible. But as Jalen Rose wisely pointed out on ESPN after the game, the Bulls will have people over the next two days congratulating them on their win, while the Celtics will be stewing on the anger of dropping it, which could be all the motivation they need. Remember what happened last season when the Celtics were pushed to a first-round Game 7 by an upstart team? For the good of sports, I hope history doesn’t repeat itself - sports fans deserve a classic game to end a classic series.

Meanwhile, Bill Simmons’Ewing Theory” - where a team inexplicably plays better without their star player - seemed to be alive and well elsewhere in the NBA playoffs last night. Despite having Superman grounded with a suspension after his hard foul on Samuel Dalembert, the Dwight Howard-less Magic were able to drill the 76ers 114-89 to close out their series.

Howard spent his time Twittering during the game, and I can tell you that I understand absolutely nothing he wrote. (Except for something about the Polish Hammer, which makes me wonder why he’s writing about former WWF wrestler Ivan Putski.) Not Twittering was Howard’s teammate Courtney Lee, who was too busy recovering from surgery on his sinus cavity which could cause him to miss the first few games of the Magic’s second round series to “tweet”.

The other example of the Ewing Theory came from out West, where the Rockets’ 92-76 victory over the Trailblazers clinched their first playoff series win since 1997. This was all done, of course, with Houston star Tracy McGrady on the shelf for the season since late February recovering from microfracture surgery on his knee. Coupling the Rockets’ success with Denver’s closing out of New Orleans - giving Carmelo Anthony his first playoff series victory - and there’s now no question who is going to be known as the Best Player Never To Have Won A Playoff Series.

Meanwhile, I’m sure you’ve taken the time this week to butter up your friend with the illegal cable box, since there is a big-time boxing match coming up this weekend as giant killer Manny Pacquiao takes on Ricky Hatton. Since there’s only two days to go until the fight, the fighters have shut up as the hype machine ramps up to sell PPV buys and tickets, meaning that everyone has to get their two cents in about the fight.

That includes the trainers, who seem to be threatening to become the bigger story than their charges. Hatton’s new trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. has been defending claims that his combative presence has created problems in the Hatton camp - tough to do when you remember what a jerk Hatton’s father/trainer could be. Meanwhile, Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach is telling people that Mayweather was a “poor choice” to train Hatton and that he would have been better served making a different choice of trainer - like himself.

And with any big fight, the media has to track down some brain-damaged, washed-up former champion to give their bleary opinion on who is going to win the fight. God knows where they find these poor sods, but I hope they at least bought them breakfast. People like this sad case named Oscar De La Hoya, who drooled out an opinion for the DAILY TELEGRAPH:

“Hatton can confuse you, offset you, and especially with the Mayweather factor in the corner in this fight,” he told Telegraph Sport. “I know Mayweather, what he is capable of, what he plants – those little details he plants in your head.

“I’m crossing my fingers that Mayweather and Hatton can go undefeated for many years to come. There will be a chess match going on mentally and physically between both camps but, with all due respect to Freddie Roach’s training ability and his team, Mayweather is the better trainer.”

“I’m speaking from experience. He is more technically sound. He teaches you the craft, the art of boxing. He’s old school – an amazing trainer – yes, he’s one crazy son of a gun, but mentally he plants those little details in your head for you to become King Kong inside the ring.”

It sounds to me like De La Hoya’s fight against Pacquiao should have been stopped about eight rounds earlier than it was; clearly the 200 straight blows to the head he took during the fight have rattled his brain to the point of no return. And think about this: if De La Hoya thinks Mayweather Sr. is a better trainer than Roach, what would have happened to him if Mayweather Sr. had trained Pacquiao instead of Roach? Yikes!

Hinrich vs. Rondo was pattycakes compared to some NBA playoff incidents. Which one is your favorite?

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Good Night, Funny Man: De La Hoya To Retire?

In the pantheon of purely iconic boxers, few have the media presence that Oscar de la Hoya has. His boyish grin commands a camera’s attention, even as he’s spent the last 20 years beating up other comically small welterweight and middleweight fighters. But he got rocked by Manny Pacquiao in his most recent fight, and he’s lost four of his last seven fights. For boxers, after all, 36 is pretty old.

Manny Pacquiao rearranges the beautiful face of Oscar De La Hoya
(This, for example, is something he should not want to ever do again.)

So when he announced recently that he’s got a press conference set up for Tuesday to discuss his future, as FANHOUSE reports, it seems pretty obvious that he’s hanging up the gloves for good. If so, his career record will be 39-6 with 30 KOs. More importantly, he’ll have held 12 different belts. Least importantly but most hilariously, he dressed like a female prostitute. But we digress. In his prime, he was the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. More recently, though, he’s just been average. Read more…

Mayweather Returning To Ring To Face Pacquiao?

When Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced his retirement and pulled out of his scheduled rematch against Oscar De La Hoya, it opened up a chance for Manny Pacquiao to step into his place for the fight. And after beating De La Hoya to a pulp for eight rounds, Pacquiao stepped into Mayweather’s place as the universally recognized best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Floyd Mayweather loves money

And if we know anything about boxing, it’s that retirements are about as meaningful as “loser leaves town” matches in pro wrestling. Which is why it’s hard to be shocked with word from THE MANILA TIMES that Mayweather has begun training and wants to take on the winner of the Pacquiao/Ricky Hatton fight. So, Manny Pacquiao.

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Novak Can’t Take No More Of Aussie Open’s Heat

Andy Roddick roasts Novak Djokovic in the Aussie Oven Open quarters.

Novak Djokovic Australian Open

(Novak can’t wait to get back to those shivering Serbian winters)

Oscar De La Hoya paid $5 million for MMA event - and he didn’t even have to fight!

• A friendly reminder to Super Bowl attendees looking for adventure - the Tampa area does have a thriving gentlemen’s club industry.

• And if that’s too tame, there’s always prostitution - until you see the kind of Tampa trick-spinners the cops are dragging in.

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Did De La Hoya Get $5 Million To Attend Affliction?

Last weekend Oscar De La Hoya showed his face in public at a sporting event for the first time since he had it pounded in by Manny Pacquiao in December.  Of course, it wasn’t where most people would have figured Oscar would show up.  Considering that his good friend and business partner Shane Mosley was fighting Antonio Margarito for the welterweight title in Los Angeles, you would have thought Oscar would be in attendance to show his support.

Instead, De La Hoya was down the street in Anaheim attending Affliction: Day of Reckoning, where Fedor Emelianenko was knocking out Andrei Arlovski in the first round as he continued his “Knock Out All The Former UFC Heavyweight Champions Tour.”  But why was De La Hoya at the Affliction show instead of supporting his good friend Mosley?  Well, if you were to ask Larry Merchant it’s because Affliction was paying Oscar $5 million to be there.

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Did Pacquiao Pound De La Hoya Into Retirement?

It turns out that maybe the Manila police and Philippine Army knew something about Manny Pacquiao that the rest of us didn’t ahead of his “Super Fight” against Oscar De La Hoya. Like that there would be good reason for the people of the Philippines to be celebrating on Saturday night, because despite having a huge size and weight disadvantage, Pacquiao would be too fast, too smart and - yes - too strong for the aging Golden Boy.

Manny Pacquiao rearranges the beautiful face of Oscar De La Hoya

Whether they were prophets or just looking for a night off, their hero lived up to his end of the bargain, beating De La Hoya’s to a pulp before forcing his corner to throw in the towel before the start of the ninth round. (It was so bad that Jim Lampley was practically in tears at one point while describing how Pacquiao was “rearranging De La Hoya’s beautiful face.” Get a hold of yourself, man.)

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Philippine Army Shuts Down for Pacquiao Fight

We’re not suggesting the Philippines loves their macho celebrities, but we’ve just discovered that it’s not enough that all crime will cease in Manila when Philippines native Manny Pacquiao fights Oscar de la Hoya in Vegas tonight.  The Philippine Army itself will shut down all offensives against rebels, Islamic militants, and gangs for the duration of the fight.

Manny Pacquiao

(Lover, fighter, punching bag for post-prime boxers)

They’ll also set up viewing areas for all their soldiers at each encampment and base. And not just for the Philippines Army! A contingent of soldiers from across Asia participating in a marksmanship competition will put down their rifles long enough to cheer together for their Asian icon against the Mexican-American fight promoter and occasional boxer.

Boxing: bringing people together in peace through brute violence since 1887.
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Pacquiao Keeps Streets Of Manila Free From Crime

Heading into his big fight against Oscar de la Hoya this Saturday night, you might have heard that Manny Pacquiao is a hero in his homeland of the Philippines. In case you had any doubts, THE PHILIPPINE STAR has this proof: police officials anticipate a zero percent crime rate in the greater Manila area while everyone - criminals included - takes time out to watch the fight.

Oscar de la Hoya vs Manny Pacquiao

You hear apocryphal stories about this happening during massive events such as the first Moon Landing, but for a boxing match? Yeesh. Officials also anticipate a 30 percent reduction in traffic in Manila during the fight.

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