Pac­quiao-may­weather edges closer

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

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’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

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