The press is still covering the story of Floyd Mayweather, JR., and Manny Pacquiao, with the hopes that this bout will finally happen. At this point, the question must be asked: “What will this fight do positively for boxing?” The quick answer, sadly, is very little.
Floyd Mayweather, JR., 42-0, 26 KO’s, is the self proclaimed “best in the world,” and it is a safe bet that he would defeat Manny Pacquiao, 54-3-2, 38 KO’s, especially after his “victory” over Juan Manuel Marquez in his last fight. The problem is that Floyd is not what the sport needs.
In 2009, he returned to boxing, and started a trend. He carefully selects an opponent and fights once a year. In 2009, he defeated Juan Manuel Marquez, 2010, beat Shane Mosley, and in 2011, he cheap-shotted his way to a victory over the equally dirty, Victor Ortiz. In 2012, he plans to fight once, possibly against Pacquiao, but does it matter anymore?
Pacquiao, to his credit, is fighting more regularly. We are seeing him in the ring at least twice a year and sometimes three times. He has made a statement with his fists that he is the best in the world, but an overview of his career would show that he is as much an opportunist as Floyd Mayweather is suggested to be.
At one time, this was THE fight in boxing. Both men were seen as the two best in the sport and it made all the sense in the world to get them into the ring with each other to settle the matter, but that’s when the strange things began to occur. Steroid allegations were met with a “fear of needles” by one of the most feared men in the ring, Pacquiao. Lawsuits and ridiculous financial demands by Mayweather, JR., made this fight a no-go from the inception.
The two questions that have surrounded the fight were: (1) Why won’t Pacquiao just take the drug test. Anyone else for the money would’ve and (2) Why did Floyd demand so much money. Why did he price himself out of the fight?
Floyd is a businessman first, boxer second, and it makes dollars but it doesn’t make sense to the fans. The idea of taking on the toughest guy in the room and doing whatever you can to prove and maintain the title of “the baddest man on the planet” is something of the past. Pacquiao and Mayweather, JR., have elected not to fight each other and just exchange opponents, trying to prove by performance against the same guy which is better.
At this point, I’m in the same boat with many of the boxing fans. The intrigue of this fight just isn’t what it once was. The result, barring anything strange, would be a decision win for Floyd. If Manny couldn’t get beyond the boxing ability of Marquez, what is he going to do with a bigger and much better technician? So, Floyd wins…what would happen next?
The next step would be for Floyd to either retire or stay the course. He would go back to carefully selecting his opponents and fighting once a year until he got tired of it. It’s a shame for a man that claims to be the best of all time to elect not to prove it by fighting regularly.
A fighter that Floyd is often compared to is Pernell Whitaker, and the comparison alone will dismiss the contention that Mayweather is one of the greatest, if not the greatest of all time. Whitaker fought four times in 1992, twice in 1993 and 1994, and three times in 1995. In those three years, he faced the following: Julio Cesar Chavez, Buddy McGirt (twice), Julio Cesar Vasquez, and Rafael Pineda. Whitaker has also beaten Azumah Nelson and when he has very little left, he was robbed against Oscar De La Hoya. Whitaker was a true “pound for pound best.”
If Floyd fought that list of fighters, he wouldn’t be undefeated. He would not defeat a prime De La Hoya, and all of this talk about Pacquiao being one of the best ever, needs to be examined. Shannon Briggs once said: “I’m not the greatest, but I’m the latest,” and that applies here. In this sad state of boxing, we have two guys that the majority believes rules the sport, and they will not face each other. Many have contended that De La Hoya was a business man first, but he had the fighting spirit and he fought the best of his division, in their prime! Felix Trinidad and De La Hoya locked horns when both were undefeated and the odds even. Oscar fought regularly and took on a lot of good fighters that were not dragged out of the nursing home to fight.
Times have changed and when Floyd gets out of jail, he may or may not take on Pacquiao. Who cares? Pacquiao has, maybe, 2 or 3 more fights, and then he’s done and although he’s beaten a lot of “names” in there, he hasn’t fought many prime fighters. If he doesn’t face Floyd, it will hurt his legacy, but it will not hurt the sport too much. It is time to look beyond these two fighters and onto some of the ones that are on the way up in hopes that they will see the bigger pictures. MMA is kicking the hell out of boxing at every turn and rightfully so. For boxing to return, the love of the sport must come from within, more so or at least equal to the love of money. The odds are certainly against the successful comeback.