Manny Pacquiao will put his WBO welterweight title on the line this Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against former champion (and 5-1 underdog) Shane Mosley. This week in interviews however, Pacquiao expressed admiration for a couple of fighters in a different combat sport - mixed martial arts.
When asked by MMA website 5thRound.com this week which cage fighters he admired, the consensus top pound-for-pound boxer in the world mentioned former lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn as well as current light heavyweight champ Jon Jones. Pacquiao must've seen something familiar in Penn, the uber-talented 32-year-old who has made a career for himself jumping weight classes to take on fighters far bigger than himself.
On the other hand, even Pacquiao couldn't help but sound a bit marveled on the topic of Jones, the 23-year-old superstar who has yet to meet an opponent in the Octagon who can push him.
"I love his athleticism and the way he conducts himself," Pacquiao told 5thRound.
The popular boxer's connections with MMA are well documented. Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach has in the past worked with numerous MMA fighters like UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski.
Pacquiao himself even mentioned an interest in trying MMA one day, after watching former boxing champion James Toney's failed foray into the Octagon against Randy Couture back at UFC 118. He said he'd like to give the sport a shot, but joked he didn't think promoter Bob Arum would let him.
Probably a good bet.