Boxing: Morilla’s Spit Bucket – Nov 29

Manny Pacquaio
Manny Pacquaio
Feb 21 2012 Beverly Hills CA USA Manny Pacquiao at a press conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel Kirby LeeImage of Sport USA TODAY Sports

The Spit Bucket is your weekly source of random thoughts and comments about the manly art of defense, from the perspective of our resident boxing writer Diego Morilla. You can follow him on Twitter at @MorillaBoxing.

Manny vs. the Alphabet Soup Organizations

In boxing, it is never wise to look past an opponent. And while Manny Pacquiao may not yet have a future opponent in sight, he should take care of a pretty formidable foe before moving on with his career. And that’s none other than the IRS.

Actually, we’re talking about the IRS’s Filipino counterpart, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), which claims Pacquiao owes $50 million US dollars from the 2008-09 fiscal years. After considering they have waited enough, the suddenly over-zealous tax collection agency has taken the dramatic measure of freezing Pacquiao’s bank accounts until this situation is resolved.

One would think that Pacquiao, a sitting congressman in his native Philippines, would be on top of his income tax situation now that the press in his country is paying extra attention to his affairs (probably with a little help or “inspiration” from his political opponents), but he either skipped a few forms here and there, or being the victim of a situation that is, at the very least, very poorly timed.

And that’s because the penalty comes in the wake of one of the most devastating natural disasters in the history of that island-nation, which has claimed as many as 12,000 lives and left a trail of devastation. Pacquiao, a known philanthropist, has pledged to provide donations for people in need.

In what could end up being an unintended boost to his personal image, Pacquiao circumnavigated this situation by borrowing a tens of thousands in order to fulfill his promise. But the fact that this amount is much less than what he could have donated (given that he’s reportedly worth over $120 million and he has earned anything between $18 and $30 million for his last effort against Brandon Rios in Macau on Nov. 23) gives the impression that the BIR has chosen the worst possible moment to pick a fight against boxing’s only eight-division champ.

It is true, however, that Pacquiao faces a complex tax situation, as he works mostly in the United States and pays as much as 40 percent of his income in taxes to the IRS. The BIR apparently has no right to collect money from Manny’s US purses if he already paid taxes there, but they are claiming that they are missing the 2008-09 tax reports from the US indicating that Pacquiao has fulfilled his obligations there. Pacquiao fought his most recent fight in Macau, China, partly because in doing this he will not have to pay taxes on his purse.

But lost in this war between these “alphabet soup” tax organizations is the fact that a country in such a dire situation can ill-afford such a low blow to one of its most illustrious citizens, who regardless of his questionable finances should be at least entitled to withdraw money for relief purposes and to pay his congressional staff, as he has already requested.

Let’s hope that everyone involved in this situation has learned a lesson and that this money reaches the proper hands very soon. And in this situation, the most “proper hands” are the ones of those in severe personal need after being subjected to the wrath of Mother Nature.

After all, these are the people with whom the tax agencies of the world should be most committed, and not the other way around.

Mayweather is back in “The Conversation”  

As much as people would love to hear that the bout they so anxiously await is finally made, it looks like the only thing being made is The Conversation. Again.

That’s right: as it is customary after both fighters are done with their latest engagements, the “conversation” to finally stage the long-awaited Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather bout is finally back on.

Which could only mean one thing: that’s ALL we’re going to get.

Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, started the new round of calls for this mega-fight by indicating that “we can’t keep posturing” and that both camps should get together to finally make the fight. Great idea, especially because it comes from one of the very people who postured his way out of this fight for years.

Now that Arum is done with posturing himself, all it takes is for Mayweather and his advisors to depose their share of posturing (which have included endless negotiations on subjects such as revenue splits and drug testing protocols, that Pacquiao has allegedly already agreed to in the past) and finally come to the table with a real offer.

The excuses for not making this fight have decreased as well. With both fighters approaching the end of their careers, and with the option of staging the fight in China or Dubai in order to avoid taxes and boost the fighter’s income, the fight is considerably more appealing to all parties involved. And even though Mayweather would be extremely opposed to fighting overseas, the fact that the option is already on the table would only contribute to put more pressure on US-based casinos and stadiums to make their best possible offer for what already looms as the biggest fight in boxing history.

For now, expect to hear a lot about the “ongoing conversations” about this fight.

As long as you don’t expect those conversations to reach any satisfactory conclusion, you’ll be thoroughly entertained.

Mosley: no más. Tarver: más, por favor

Successful comebacks in boxing are few and far in between. And this past week, we saw two great fighters of the past attempting that difficult goal, with mixed results.

First up was former Olympian and 175-lb champ Antonio Tarver (30-6, 21 KOs), who finished a one-year suspension for use of PEDs with a KO over trialhorse Mike Sheppard (21-16-1, 9 KOs) in a fight staged in his native state of Florida.

A native of Pensacola, Tarver returned as a heavyweight, probably hoping to take advantage of the multiple opportunities that will arise at this weight after the exit of the Klistchko brothers from the championship scene.

At 45 years of age, Tarver will need more than a few tune-up fights before he gets used to the heavier punches usually felt around the division, but he has indicated that he has a gradual program that will take him to the heavyweight title one day. But after a 0-2 record since 2009 and an uneven campaign before that, the southpaw Tarver will need much more than that to achieve his dream. Which right now is little more than that.

Several thousand miles away, former three-division titlist Shane Mosley made a failed bid to continue his latest comeback with a defeat against former title challenger and rugby player Anthony Mundine, quitting on his stool after six rounds of action in what is now considered his only stoppage loss in an otherwise illustrious career.

The 42-year-old Mosley (47-9-1, 39 KO) is now left with the question of whether to continue his career after being 1-1 on the comeback trail since his lackluster loss to Canelo Alvarez in May of 2012. One year later, he beat Pablo Cesar Cano by decision in Mexico, and was now making his second fight overseas in a row, in a career that so far had developed exclusively in the US.

Unlike Tarver, Mosley is now left with very few dreams to fulfill, having defeated some of the biggest names in his division (including his now-partner at Golden Boy Promotions, Oscar De La Hoya) and earning the respect of boxing fans worldwide with his classy-but-gutsy style. He is set to make a decision upon arriving in the US and after discussing it with his inner circle, but all signs point to a well deserved retirement for Sugar Shane.

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Diego Morilla
Diego Morilla is a boxing writer since 1992. His work has been extensively featured in some of the most prestigious boxing media outlets in Latin America and the U.S., including, The Ring, Latino Boxing,, Lo Mejor del Boxeo,, HBO Sports and newspapers such as El Mundo, Primera Hora and El Vocero, among others.