MANNY “Pacman” Pacquiao wanted to fight. But not Floyd “The Mouth” Mayweather Jr.

We’ve all been had?

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Not me.

The telltale signs had been right there all along. As obvious as rose needs rain.

At first, Pacman was doggedly dodging demands from The Mouth for their encounter to happen this way and that way.

The Mouth had rules that Pacman had objected to—initially.

Turns out Pacman was merely playing poker. He’d soon fold. Let The Mouth haul in the pot.

In numerous deals that followed, Pacman would keep calling, The Mouth collecting all the time.

But then, in one such anticipated head-on clash, The Mouth, with the suddenness of

lightning, backed out even before the flop.

In the din of a Pacman “all in,” The Mouth yelled, “Out!”

What happened? Why the hell did he fold?

“I’m taking a vacation,” said The Mouth. “Two years.”

He is 33. In two years, he’d be 35.

What does that tell us?

The Mouth’s chickening out? Or, if she were a flirt, a cheap tease?

But there’s one redeeming factor. If he’s serious in ducking The Fight, The Mouth’s dumping $40 million.

It can be argued: The Mouth’s not about to see his unbeaten record (41-0) shattered by the man widely regarded as the only one capable of doing that.

Legacy is more important than money.

Ummm. A Hollywood script all over again, as in Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby?”

A film bio for The Mouth’s in the offing? Sure money?

Before The Mouth, no one’s retired unbeaten except Rocky “The Brockton Blockbuster” Marciano, the heavyweight champ.

The Brockton Blockbuster, born Rocco Francis Marchegiano in Brockton, Massachussettes, on Sept. 1, 1923, walked away unscathed in 49 fights, 43 by KO, in 1956.

Is The Mouth off to do another Marciano?

Quite unbelievable, if I know the guy.

But quite admirable, if the guy’d prove true to his word.

You see, $40 million is $40 million. Nobody dumps that just like that.

Not even Pacman it’d seem.

Already a billionaire twice over—and a congressman at that—Pacman said he was still game, now relenting to fight Antonio Margarito this November.

Ah, what defines one’s character again?

(alsol47@yahoo.com)