Pacquiao-mayweather edges closer
LONDON — Last time Alex Song wore a Cameroon shirt, against Croatia at the World Cup, he was sent off five minutes before half-time for dragging his elbow down Mario Mandzukic’s back. That was the centre-piece of a general implosion from Cameroon that also included rows over bonuses, widespread rumours of dressing-room unrest, allegations of match-fixing and Benoît Assou-ekotto seemingly trying to head-butt Benjamin Moukandjo after a row in injury time.
It’s hard to imagine how Cameroon’s World Cup could have gone worse: they disgraced themselves in almost every conceivable way. Precedent suggested the coach would be sacked, there’d be whispers from players about a European not really understanding the dressing room and everything would go on much as before.
This time, though, Volker Finke has remained in charge and those who have gone have been the players he felt had let him down, most notably Samuel Eto’o, Assou-ekoto and Song.
Eto’o retired after being stripped of the captaincy (it’s hard to be sure exactly how often the 33-year-old has quit international football now, but it’s somewhere between three and six). Song was suspended and then omitted. Assou-ekotto simply hasn’t been picked. Without them, Cameroon have thrived.
The transformation since the shame of Manaus has been remarkable. While he was the coach of Freiburg, a tenure that lasted 16 years, Finke was one of the pioneers of the pressing style in Germany, leading his side to a famous 5-1 win over Bayern Munich in 1994.
He has always favoured a game based on a high defensive line, on harrying the opposition in possession and on the combination of organisation with a high tempo.it’s a style of play that has little space for prima donnas, that demands absolute commitment from the entire squad and that is probably easier to enact with younger, more biddable players.
It’s also a style that, given the make-do-and-mend approach of most international football, as managers struggle to deal with an ever-changing squad and a lack of time to impose a philosophy, is rarely seen with national sides.
Germany and Spain have LOS ANGELES — Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao has laid out the terms under which he would fight Floyd Mayweather, although a deal for the long awaited mega-fight isn’t done, US media reported on Tuesday.
Carl Moretti, vice president of Pacquiao promoters Top Rank, told ESPN.COM that it remains to be seen if Mayweather would agree terms for a 2 May 2015 bout in Las Vegas.
“Top Rank and Manny have agreed to the terms on our side. I don’t know about the other side,” Moretti told the sports website. Top Rank chairperson Bob Arum told Yahoo Sports that Pacquiao had agreed to terms for the fight, which is one boxing fans have long clamored for.
Citing an unnamed source involved in the negotiations, ESPN reported Pacquiao has agreed to a 40 percent cut of the revenue, leaving Mayweather with the remaining 60 been able to do it recently because so many of their players play together at club level – and even they have never pressed with quite the gusto of Bayern or Barça.
Chile, probably, are the most ardent pressers at international level, largely because they are a nation in thrall to the style instituted by Marcelo Bielsa and their squad has remained relatively constant over the past few years. There are very few other examples, though, which is what makes Cameroon’s progress so remarkable.
They went unbeaten through qualifying for the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations, conceding a single goal in their six games. More than that, they won 2-0 away to DR Congo and hammered Ivory Coast 4-1 in Yaounde with performances in which the potency of the strike pairing of Lyon’s Clinton N’jie and Porto’s Vincent Aboubakar, 21 and 22 years old respectively, ensured Eto’o wasn’t missed. Cameroon have been drawn in a difficult group in Equatorial Guinea, with the Ivorians again, Mali and Guinea, but can now have reasonable expectations percent of a fight widely expected to shatter all box-office and television revenue records.
According ESPN, Pacquiao has agreed not only to a purse split but also to the gloves to be used and to a drug testing protocol.drug testing was one of the issues that caused a Pacquiao-mayweather showdown to fall through when it was being negotiated in 2009 and early 2010.Moretti told ESPN that Pacquiao has agreed to be tested by the US Anti-doping Agency, a sign of his eagerness to make the fight.
The eyes of the boxing world have long been on a showdown between the unbeaten American Mayweather (47-0, 26 knockouts) and eight-division world champion Pacquiao (575-2, 38 knockouts) two of the greatest boxers of their generation.
Talk of the super-fight gained steam in December, when Mayweather proposed the May 2 date and Pacquiao vowed to chase him into submission.
“This fight is about legacy, this is about making the fans happy and, above all, this is for the good of boxing,” Pacquiao said last month. — AFP
MANNY Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Junior