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On Boxing: News and views from world of fighting

BY MIKE HOUSER

Appeal Sports Writer

News from and views on the wide world of boxing:

– It’s been a little over a week since welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. e-mailed his retirement announcement to select members of the media and there’s really only one relevant question: Has “Money” really cashed it in?

The boxer formerly known as “Pretty Boy” is an enigma. For someone so obsessed with making mad loot, there’s something a bit odd about him ditching a proposed $20 million rematch with Oscar De La Hoya in September.

What’s even more baffling is why Mayweather would throw away $40 million. That’s what he would’ve earned if he would’ve beaten “The Golden Boy” and gone on to meet Miguel Cotto for another $20 million should Cotto defeat Antonio Margarito on July 26.

This is the strangest retirement since a prime Barry Sanders walked away from the National Football League. Sorry, Money, I’m not buying it. Nobody throws a match on a pile of cash that large.

– I know the 31-year-old “Money” boogies to the tune of his own scratchy record, but doesn’t he know it goes against boxing’s unwritten rule of changing nicknames? It’s like renaming De La Hoya “The Silver Boy” or calling Marvin Hagler “Mediocre” instead of “Marvelous.” How about “Sour” Ray Leonard, Thomas “The Hurt Man” Hearns or Muhammad “Pretty Good” Ali. Don’t want to burst Mayweather’s ego or anything, but if anyone should go by “Money,” it’s Bill Gates.

– Speaking of De La Hoya, he should be ashamed of himself. Look at the shrimps he’s trying to face on his so-called retirement tour. First he fights Steve Forbes, who ate his way out of a junior lightweight belt. Then, after his bout with Mayweather fell out, there was Oscar’s attempts at fighting 5-foot-6 Ricky Hatton. The battling Brit said no because he’s already set to face Paulie Malinaggi and, let’s face it, had previously been stretched by Mayweather.

If De La Hoya, who bought out The Ring magazine, really wanted to go out on top, he’d step up and challenge middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik. However, Oscar, who said he’d fight his last bout in November, could still possibly face the winner of Cotto-Margarito. A win against either would once again make De La Hoya truly “Golden” instead of someone seeking an easy out.

– Another top fighter who will likely call it a career after a final bout in November is current super middleweight and light heavyweight champion Joe Calzaghe. “The Prince of Wales,” who is 45-0, will not try and top Rocky Marciano’s perfect record of 49-0 and said he will bow out after facing Roy Jones Jr., probably in America.

Top Rank’s Bob Arum had been trying to pump up a possible Pavlik-Calzaghe meeting for Oct. 18, but the Welshman nixed it, saying he’d rather take on the one-time pound-for-pound champ, Jones.

– It’s a good move by Calzaghe. He’s 36 and has nothing left to prove. After defending his super middleweight crown a division record-tying 21 times, he has moved up to 175 pounds, where he beat then-champ Bernard Hopkins. And Pavlik, who is 26, can make a killing against somewhat marginal competition at 160 pounds (he made $2.5 million to smash Gary Lockett) before moving up to 168 and maybe someday 175.

Why move up two divisions to face Calzaghe when Pavlik can make millions by taking on overrated John Duddy, the winner of Giovanni Lorenzo-Raul Marquez, and other middleweight strapholders such as Arthur Abraham and Felix Sturm ” or for that matter, accept an exciting rematch with Edison Miranda if he beats Abraham on Saturday.

– Calzaghe-Jones is an intriguing matchup. While there is no doubt that the ultra-athletic, dynamic Jones would’ve beaten Calzaghe in his prime, one wonders exactly how much he has left.

After his stunning knockout losses to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, Jones has somewhat redeemed himself with a couple of wins, including an easy decision over Felix Trinidad. Jones still has an edge in speed over Calzaghe and, more important, is a sharper puncher.

Calzaghe, however, is stronger and still has the advantage of never tasting defeat. He probably has the tougher beard, but the biggest question mark is whether he can track down his adversary. Calzaghe has admitted he prefers having his opponents come to him, rather than vice-versa.

Does Jones have the legs left to move away and keep off the more physical Welshman for 12 rounds? Will American judges, who scored it too close when Calzaghe beat Hopkins, once again have their blindfolds on? There are enough question marks in this matchup to design a new outfit for The Riddler.

– WBO welterweight titlist Paul Williams finally showed what he is capable of when he recently destroyed Carlos Quintana in their rematch. “The Punisher” ” all 6-foot-1 of him ” lived up to his nickname by exacting revenge on Quintana by dispatching him in one round. Nobody ” whether it’s Mayweather, Cotto or De La Hoya ” can call himself the best welterweight in the world unless he first beats Williams.

Williams can only get better. He can already fight incredibly well on the inside for a big man and if he adds a spoonful of attitude and an ounce more of craft ” like turning on his punches more and learning how to correctly use distance and momentum to add to his already prodigious punching power ” he could become the best in an already excellent division.

– Having just witnessed Pavlik crushing Lockett and with Manny Pacquiao ready to face WBC lightweight beltholder David Diaz on June 28, we’ll get a look at a post-Mayweather, post-Calzaghe landscape. Pavlik has a lot more mileage left on his tires than the 29-year-old “Pac-Man,” but Pacquiao has more potential superfights immediately in front of him, including a rubber match with Juan Manuel Marquez or a move up to 140 to face Hatton.

While it will be Pacquiao at the head of the pack as boxing ushers out some of its all-time greats, Pavlik will be the face of the future, the man at the forefront of the next generation of fantastic fistic attractions.