PACQUIAO WATCH: A page from Mario Puzo. By Edwin G. Espejc

If only it can be done.

Manny's still to be finalized bout with British brawler Ricky Hatton promises to be another sleeper of a fight. Dispute over who gets what of the money that they bring on the table, however, has divided many of his fans and boxing experts all over and across all continents.

Last year, Manny had his best career achievements eking out a hard-earned split decision victory over arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez and stomping out two spectacular easy knockout wins against durable but out-of-his-league David Diaz and over-the-hill-once-king-of-the-ring Oscar de la Hoya.

All of the sudden, Manny is the man in boxing.

Everybody wants to get a piece of him and everyone wants him to fight the best — the very best — out there.

From the standpoint of negotiations, both Team Pacquiao and the Mancunian Express have valid arguments to back their position on who gets the better or equal deal.

But to borrow a famous phrase from Mario Puzo of the "Godfather" fame, somebody has to make an "offer one cannot refuse."

Otherwise, the bout is in serious peril.

But this corner believes the fight will push through and someone will definitely get a little or more of what he wants.

But this piece is not about it.

It is about Puzo's other novel, Fools Die.

In that little-known bestseller (as opposed to the Godfather series), the author implied that anything taken in excess is fatal.

That is why those who lust for blood by having Manny fight the hardest punchers in the business is virtually writing Manny's ticket to early retirement.

While Manny was relatively untouched in his last two fights (against Diaz and ODLH), the hard training and punishing sparring sessions, without doubt, took some of the juices from the Filipino boxing superstar.

From our own reckoning, Manny sparred at least 150 rounds to prepare for the Diaz fight and another 160 for the ODLH encounter. Add the sparring rounds he did for the Marquez rematch, and the 29 total rounds for all the three fights he did last year, Manny could easily fought a total of at least forty (40!) 12-round fight.

Figure that out.

So those who are calling out the names of Cotto, Margarito and Mayweather for Manny's next fight after Hatton better rethink their wishes.

Manny has a good three more years ahead of him in the boxing business if he plays his card right.

He already did us proud and gave us the most exciting times in Philippine boxing.

Allow him to get his payback.

Start it with an all out support to have him get a fairer deal in his Hatton fight.

Only fools jump from the hot frying pan into the boiling cauldron. And they die, of course. (Edwin G. Espejo was former editor of SunStar General Santos)