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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pacquiao will prove he isn't avoiding black opponents, as trainer Jackson accuses

While it’s true Manny Pacquiao has never beaten an elite black fighter, it isn’t fair to say he’s ducking any.

But that’s what noted trainer John David Jackson told “Pacquiao never fights black fighters,” said Jackson, a 1990s middleweight champion who trains junior welterweight Nate Campbell and super-middleweight contender Allan Green. “Name one good black fighter he’s fought in the last five years,” Jackson asked writer Brent Matteo Alderson. “He’s avoided them like the plague.”

I’ve been saving my own Pacquiao vs. blacks commentary for after he beats Ricky Hatton (or doesn’t) next weekend. If Floyd Mayweather comes back to fight Juan Manuel Marquez in July, as is rumored, he and Pacquiao might be fighting by November or so, and then no one will be able to accuse Pacquiao of ducking black fighters. Then the question truly will be whether they indeed pose problems Manny can’t surmount. Jackson and I agree that they might.

It isn’t clear what the context was for Jackson’s remarks, but they’re out there and therefore must be addressed. “I’m not trying to be racist,” Jackson said. “It’s just a fact: he doesn’t fight them.”

Jackson suggested Campbell as a suitable opponent for Pacquiao, and he could have mentioned Tim Bradley and Andre Berto. I don’t think Manny could beat all three of those guys, but perhaps he can get around to them if he can get past the much-bigger-money fights against Hatton and Mayweather and maybe Shane Mosley.

In the meantime, the only racial discrimination is the usual boxing conundrum that many worthy black fighters don’t get the big fights their skills have earned them. Jackson would know. He was a precursor to Winky Wright, except he also was a professional model, and even that combination never made Jackson a household name.

Campbell, who earned a lightweight title last year, is roughly as worthy a fighter as Jackson was, and no more worthy as a pay-per-view attraction. Surely Jackson can appreciate Pacquiao’s priorities in these matters.


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